Hugh Pickens writes "Economics trumps the environment. The emission targets set by the Kyoto Protocol will expire next year, and negotiators are fighting to keep UN climate talks on track while efforts to save the Euro push the struggle to save the planet down the priority list. In the United States, seen as the biggest single obstacle to a new global climate deal, academic opinion says an 'iron law' means economics trumps the environment in times of crisis. Meanwhile, some leading voices on climate science have suggested the Kyoto Protocol be put to pasture, since clinging to hopes of a renewal of that agreement does more harm than good in achieving meaningful dialogue on how to fight climate change. When the agreement was negotiated in the 1990s, the world was more clearly divided into 'rich and poor' countries. However, China and India have seen unexpectedly strong economic growth since then, and currently make up 58 per cent of global emissions. 'Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that countries such as Japan, Canada and Russia adamantly refuse to assume new binding targets unless the other major economies at present outside Kyoto's reach — most notably, the United States and China — do so as well,' writes Elliot Diringer, executive vice-president of the U.S.-based Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. 'And for now, the odds of that happening are nil.'"