A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

UK public sceptical of Kyoto Protocol - new poll, just out......

EnviroSpin is honoured to be one of the first outlets permitted to report this important new poll on attitudes to the Kyoto Protocol in the UK:

57% believe UK should not implement Kyoto if it will harm Britain's economy

70% believe that Britain should pursue alternative, less costly strategies

The poll, commissioned by International Policy Network, a London-based charity*, and conducted by Populus, a UK-based polling firm**, shows that 57% of the British public believe that the UK should not implement the Kyoto Protocol if it causes economic harm and job losses.

For young people, the figure is higher: 68% do not want to sacrifice British jobs and economic growth to the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol has been widely touted as the world's solution to 'global warming'. However, studies show that. as Kyoto is implemented during 2008-2010, it is likely to harm Britain's economy by increasing the price of electricity, fuel and consumer goods, leading to slower economic growth and higher operating costs for employers, and causing job losses.***

The poll also reveals that the UK government should consider alternative, less costly approaches to 'global warming'. 70% of people polled - and 75% of women polled - believe that, if more cost-effective alternatives to Kyoto exist, Britain should pursue those strategies.

In light of this data, and decisions by the US, the Australian and (now) the Russian governments (see blog for December 2 below) not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it is incumbent upon environment ministers meeting next week in Milan, Italy, (during the high-level ministerial section of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP-9), to propose more cost-effective strategies to address climate change.

Kendra Okonski, Editor of Adapt or Die: the science, politics and economics of climate change (Profile Books, December 2003 - see blogs for Monday, December 1 below), comments: "By constraining our ability to grow and adapt, Kyoto will cause more harm to future generations than the global warming ever would. Britain's leaders should focus on policies that promote adaptation, rather than climate control."

Strategies to encourage adaptation, rather than climate control, could include:

+ Encouraging British investment in transferring more energy-efficient technologies to those countries whose economies produce the most carbon emissions, such as India and China;

+ Tax breaks for businesses on R&D of blue-skies research for new energy technologies;

+ Removing tariffs on less energy-intensive goods and services;

+ Specific measures to address any negative impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather or sea-level changes.

# # # Notes ###

*International Policy Network is a London-based charity which co-ordinates policy activities on the environment, health, trade and technology.

**Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ by telephone between November 28th-30th, 2003. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to be representative of all adults.

*** See: 'Kyoto Protocol and beyond: the economic cost to four European countries' (includes the UK), DRI-WEFA study commissioned in 2002 by International Center for Capital Formation. Study available here (.pdf).

I'm afraid the Kyoto Protocol has never made any economic sense to me whatsoever. Above all, its failure to deal with the real implications of economic growth and development has been palpable. The only way to survive climate change, whatever its ultimate direction(s), is to maintain and grow strong, flexible economies, not to hobble them by utopian 'command-and-control' economics. It now appears that I am not alone in holding such a view. Interesting poll. I wonder what the media will make of it.

Philip. A latter-day King Canute in Kent.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?