The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 was a valiant first attempt to tackle global carbon emissions, but according to a letter co-authored by a University of Adelaide climate change expert, it will not be enough to make a breakthrough with climate change.
Professor Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change and Director of the University of Adelaide's Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, has written to "Nature" with co-authors Professor Tim Flannery (Chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, and Division of Environmental and Life Sciences, Macquarie University) and Nick Rowley (former adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and now Director of Kinesis Pty Ltd, a climate change and sustainability consultancy company).
In the letter, the authors agree that Kyoto in its current form "is not enough to create the low-emissions transformation in the global economy that is required to tackle the climate problem successfully".
The authors say that a call for more investment in technologies to deal with climate change is right, "but it doesn't address the important question of how to achieve it".
"It takes 20 years for new technologies to get to market - time we do not have. What we need are tools (such as a cost for carbon through market incentives and emissions trading) that facilitate rapid uptake of existing clean technologies," the letter says.
"The market is awash with investment funds - good policy is needed to unlock them," they said. The authors have warned against "another decade of delay, diplomatic wrangling and nationalistic plea bargains while the climate system moves towards catastrophic tipping points".