Similar concerns can be seen in the famous Byrd-Hagel resolution of 1997 in which the United States Senate voted unanimously not to be a signatory in any agreement that contained the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ in which developed countries bore the burden of mitigating climate change or which might harm the economy (Box 1) . The Senate thus considered the Kyoto Protocol to be both unfair and damaging to prosperity. As the USA was at this time the major emitter of greenhouse gases, from this point on the Kyoto Protocol was irreparably wounded.
Nonetheless, other countries, which had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, continued to implement policy aimed at meeting their Kyoto commitments. In 2003 the European Union passed the European Parliament Directive 2003/30/EC which promoted greater use of biofuels for transport as “part of the package of measures needed to comply with the Kyoto Protocol…”.
But, as with other climate change policies, Kyoto was only one of three major policy objectives in the directive. The other two were creating new opportunities for rural development and the strategic need to reduce energy import dependency. The example of the biofuels directive neatly illustrates the fact that policy-makers are keen to have their climate cake (Kyoto compliance) and eat it too (multiple additional policy objectives). The same is true for reduced emissions from deforestation, a policy that was a major topic of discussion at the UNFCCC Bali meeting and which we now cover in more detail.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries (REDD)
The recent Stern Review on the economics of climate change  points out that 20-25% of global green house gas emissions are from tropical deforestation and suggests that reducing deforestation emissions is a cost-efficient mitigation option. Putting in place policy measures to reduce tropical deforestation also potentially meets two other major objectives. Firstly, about a billion people are dependent on forests in the tropics. Many of these are the poorest of the poor and helping them to improve their livelihoods could help to meet the Millennium Development Goal of poverty alleviation. Secondly, much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is found in tropical forests. Protecting these forests will go a long way towards fulfilling the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Box 1: Byrd-Hagel Resolution from the 1st Session of the 105th Congress of the United States of America expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the conditions for the United States becoming a signatory to any international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations (Passed by the Senate 95-0)
In contrast, the policy of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD), which was introduced by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica in 2005  and which is currently under discussion by the UNFCCC [5,6] includes deforestation, degradation and sustainable management. The option being considered is that a reference scenario for national rate of deforestation is established for each country participating. Then, over the commitment period, the actual rate of deforestation is monitored and compared to the reference scenario. Improvements in deforestation rate are translated into tonnes carbon equivalent and some form of compensation will be paid. The scheme would be entirely voluntary and the payments would be made on a national basis, rather than for a specific project as in the case of the current clean development mechanism. Use of the carbon payments would be a matter of national sovereignty to be used however the government sees fit.