I think it's quite obvious that reduction of emissions will have economic costs. However, I think that the real flaw is that it does not adequately reward nations for doing more than their part.
Any child psychologist can tell you that, in order of effectiveness, positive reinforcement (reward), negative reinforcement (punishment), and both positive and negative reinforcement are, respectively, the worst to best means to modify behavior. The Kyoto Agreements really only punish.
The aim of Kyoto is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This can be accomplished in two ways:
I believe that in order to be truly effective, nations should be able to claim credits based on their removal efforts. A major contributor to this removal is vegetation (especially concentrated, like forests). In short, I believe that for every n square miles of heavily forested land, a country should be able to emit an extra quantity of greenhouse gases (as they are effectively cleaning them up as soon as they are released). This provides a major economic incentive to remove massive quantities of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
- By reducing emissions
- By increasing removal
Why, then, is this seemingly common-sense idea not in Kyoto? This is speculation, but Europe has far fewer forests per unit of economic activity, as compared to nations like the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Russia. Because those nations would be a huge competition to Europe in the very heavy-industries (steel, ship-building, etc.) that left-wing politicians in Europe so love, they refused to stand for any agreement which would give an economic advantage to non-European countries, even if that meant a less-efective agreement.
All this is speculation, and maybe a rant, but I welcome the opportunity to discuss this view. I'm going to sleep now, so I'll check back in a few hours (probably 2:00 pm EST-ish).