Hugh Pickens writes writes "Economics trumps the environment as negotiators leading the push to keep UN climate talks on track and come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, set to expire next year, are fighting a sense of despondency as the struggle to save the euro has pushed the struggle to save the planet down the priority list. "A funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse," writes Bret Stephens. "Namely, the financial apocalypse." The US, Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto while the Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. "The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship $100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece," adds Stephens. Meanwhile some leading voices on climate science have suggested that the Kyoto Protocol be put to pasture and that 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 now 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.""