Sunday, December 09, 2012

Another Year Towards an Inverse Ice Age

I'm sorry, but it seems a little silly for the UNFCC to end its Doha COP18 meeting by agreeing to extend the Kyoto Protocol. Countries in the second phase account for only 15% of world emissions -- Canada, Japan, and Russia all will not participate, nor (of course) the U.S., or China or India.

It's simply not credible to simply divide the world up into two groups -- developed and developing (or, rich vs poor) and pretend much of anything can be accomplished by only the first group. When the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997, North America + Europe accounted for 48% of the world's CO2 emissions. That's now down to 35% (2010).

China+India accounted for 17% of world emissions in 1997; now they're 32% (2010).

Over this interval
North America's emissions have increased by 2%
Europe -2%
China 170%
India 95%.

Of course, the US is still the biggest sinner, with per capita emissions (in 2010) about 2.5 times Europe's 3 times China's and 12.5 times India's.

Then there are silly statements like this:
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard hailed the fact that nearly 200 countries agreed on a framework for negotiating a pact over the next three years, which will take effect in 2020.

“It was not an easy and comfortable ride,” she said in a statement. “But we have managed to cross the bridge. Very intense negotiations lie ahead of us. What we need now is more ambition and more speed.”
when this is more applicable:
Fred Boltz, senior vice president for international policy at the advocacy group Conservation International, said in a statement, “Nobody expected a major breakthrough to happen at this summit, but there has been virtually no meaningful progress on any important issue.”
More and more these annual meetings seem like diplomatic exercises held merely for the sake of appearances. It'd have been better if Hedegaard, and the other officials in charge, just told the plain truth -- nothing whatsoever was accomplished, and the world is one year further along on its path toward an inverse ice age -- and hope the shock value prods someone into thinking straight.

1 comment:

Victor Venema said...

One reason China's emissions are getting higher, is because they are producing the energy intensive products for the states under the Kyoto cap: aluminium, steel, solar panels. Once exported those products should count as the users contribution to global chance and not China's.

Maybe we should change the dynamics. With a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, politicians will easily complain that a climate treaty costs jobs. Maybe we should make a treaty that does not divide the world in rich and poor, but in forerunners and the rest. It should allow the forerunners to protect themselves against imports of energy intensive goods from the rest by an import levy. For details, see my latest post.

This may change the dynamics. Then politician would have to weight the short term benefits of the energy intensive firms against future growth in high-tech industries working on improving the efficiency of the economy. I would not be surprised if soon everyone wanted to be in the forerunner group.