Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kyoto Accord losing steam

There is quite a bit of coverage of climate change in today’s National Post, all of which seem to echo the same theme: the Kyoto Accord has lost its appeal and will not likely be replaced with anything more effective when the current agreement expires at the end of 2012.

Canada—which has had an ambiguous relationship with the Kyoto protocol, first signing and ratifying it, then virtually ignoring its obligations—is rumoured to be planning to formally pull out of the international treaty before the end of this year. “Kyoto is the past,” Environment Minister Peter Kent is quoted as saying recently. Mr. Kent also described a previous Liberal government’s decision to agree to the protocol as “one of the biggest blunders they made.” The minister, however, declined to confirm the rumour that Canada will formally pull out by year’s end.

That Kyoto has not worked should not come as a surprise to anyone; it was flawed from the start. Countries that are sources of the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions either never signed the agreement (the United States) or were not required to make reductions (Brazil, China, India, Russia) under the protocol. Japan, the world’s third largest economy, voted to “accept” (but not ratify) its Kyoto reduction targets, then passed a law making those targets not legally binding. And several major economies have made it clear they’ll not sign a new agreement without the signatures of all major emitters, both from the developed and developing worlds.

Consequently, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa will not likely see much progress in its objective of replacing Kyoto.

To too many observers, Kyoto is seen to be less about climate change and more about massive (hundreds of billions of dollars) income redistribution from the developed world to everyone else. And for many, this is a non-starter.

Here’s a quote from Tasha Kheiriddin’s piece in the National Post:

Environmental policy analyst James Taylor noted recently in Forbes magazine that while global carbon emissions have soared 33% over the past decade (according to the U.S. Department of Energy), global temperatures flatlined over the same period—and rose merely 0.2 to 0.3 degrees Celsius during the past third of a century.

Is it any wonder I remain a man-made climate change sceptic?

© Russell G. Campbell, 2011

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