Wednesday, October 11, 2006

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

So how's the Kyoto Protocol working out?

I'm shocked, shocked at this Associated Press report that some industrialized nations might not be living up to their Kyoto Protocol obligations:

With few exceptions, the world’s big industrialized nations are struggling to meet the greenhouse gas reductions they committed to in the embattled Kyoto pact on climate change. Europe is veering off course, Japan is still far from its target and Canada has given up.

he latest figures of heattrapping gases spewing out of chimneys and tail pipes are grim news for the agreement’s supporters and welcome ammunition for the told-you-so camp in such non-Kyoto nations as the United States and Australia....

Pro-Kyoto activists dismiss such conclusions, saying the targets are within reach if nations just try a bit harder....

The United States, the world’s biggest greenhouse generator, dropped out of the Kyoto accord, complaining it would hurt the U.S. economy, and that such big-polluter developing nations as China and India were not included.

Other nations decided to forge ahead regardless, and the latest U.N. figures show that as a group the 36 countries committed to the pact can meet the 5 percent target. That progress came mainly from a one-time boost in the 1990s, however, when excommunist states of Eastern Europe slashed greenhouse emissions by shutting down or modernizing heavy-polluting Soviet-era industries.

Elsewhere, the situation is more dire. Yvo De Boer, head of the U.N.’s climate change secretariat, said industrialized countries needed to ‘‘take a lot of action at home’’ to meet their targets.

‘‘But fortunately they do still have a number of years to meet those targets because in a number of cases it’s not going to be easy,’’ he said.

Among the worst off is Canada, the current president of U.N. climate change talks, which this year became the first country to announce it would not meet its Kyoto target of a 6 percent emissions cut on average over the years 2008-2012. Canada’s emissions have ballooned by 29 percent instead.

With oil production growing in the tar sands of Alberta, the Conservative government saw no other option than to jump the Kyoto ship. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has stated interest in a rival, U.S.-led pact, the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which has no targets, and said the government was working on a ‘‘made-in-Canada’’ solution.

Japan, too, has a long way to go to meet its reduction.

Hat tip: Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy.

The report does observe that the EU as a whole could achieve its target -- provided that they "make full use of carbon credits for investing in clean technology projects in developing countries." However, another AP report by Charles Hanley points out the pitfalls of trading scheme as implemented:

As the world grows warmer, poorer nations are helping the rich by reining in heat-trapping gases in a multibillion-dollar "carbon trade" that is outrunning its U.N. overseers and founding principles, and spawning conflicts of interest and possible abuse....

The U.N. body [Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism] relies on private accounting and inspection firms to validate that projects will cut emissions and enhance economic development and the environment, and to verify later that gases are being reduced - all the while being paid by project participants. Specialist firms can act as developers for some projects and validators or verifiers for others. Critics see conflicts of interest.

"You're creating all kinds of incentives for corruption," said Daphne Wysham, a CDM expert at Washington's Institute for Policy Studies.

UPDATE: Ah, it appears that the EU has devised a new way to ensure countries honor their commitments to halt global warming. Sounds like some commissioners must have been talking to Joe Stiglitz.

posted by Dan on 10.11.06 at 01:17 AM


This tax that Stiglitz proposes would seem fairer to me if there weren't such a disparity in the emissions laws between states. A manufacturer in California would really get screwed by such a tax, considering it already has a lot of costs associated with operating in a stringent environment such as Californias, where it is about to get even tougher to produce.

posted by: alex on 10.11.06 at 01:17 AM [permalink]

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 10.11.06 at 01:17 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?