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.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Time to put the Kyoto Protocol out of its lingering misery.....

Snippets of news galore increasingly indicate that, out of sheer kindness, it is time to put down the Kyoto Protocol as humanely as possible:

(a) Even the EU is now splitting over the Protocol's follies: 'Commisson split on Kyoto Protocol' (EU Observer.com, February 26):

"The European Commission's united front on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change has once again been undermined by transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio. Ms Palacio, well known for her strong views, told the Financial Times that the EU should look at other ways of achieving its goals of reducing greenhouse emissions."

See also 'EU energy chief challenges stance on Kyoto' (The Financial Times, February 27):

"... Ms de Palacio insisted that she had the right to speak her mind. 'I cannot shut up when confronted with a big problem, especially one that falls into my direct responsibility. Energy is my responsibility.'"

And energy is for sure the Achilles heel of the Kyoto Protocol. It just won't work.

(b) Even the ever-pious UK is failing badly on its own Kyoto targets despite all the holier-than-thou rhetoric: 'UK carbon dioxide emissions soared in 2003' (Friends of the Earth 'Press Release', February 27). Here are the official DTI statistics for 2003:

* Total inland consumption of primary fuels, which includes deliveries into consumption, was 233.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2003, 2.0 per cent higher than in 2002 (they are meant to be falling);

* On a temperature corrected basis, total inland consumption of primary fuels was 1.3 per cent higher in 2003 than in 2002;

* For 2003 temperature corrected figures, compared to 2002 show that:
- consumption of oil rose by 3.0 per cent;
- consumption of coal and other solid fuels rose by 6.2 per cent;
- consumption of natural gas fell by 1.3 per cent.

(c) Yesterday evening I attended a stimulating lecture by that famous Viking warrior for environmental common sense, Bjørn Lomborg, who yet again, but with great humour, demonstrated that the Kyoto Protocol makes no economic sense whatsoever. Here is the rather poor BBC report on the lecture: '"Eco-myths are a gun to the head"' (BBC Science/Nature News Online, February 27). Bjørn argued most cogently that we must look extremely carefully at the cost-effectiveness of environmental policies and, in particular, ensure that we are prioritising global problems in the best way - a hurdle at which the Kyoto Protocol falls ignominiously.

(d) Meanwhile, Russia continues to prevaricate in Kremlinesque style: 'EU commissioner asks Russia to clarify stand on climate change treaty' (Terra.Wire, February 26):

"'My impression is that Russia has no intention of ratifying, or that it will demand a price from the EU which we cannot pay," Palacio said."

For Pete's sake ("Who was Pete?" Saint Peter, of course, originally), let's not flog this poor beast any more. It is time to move on.

Philip, cheering Bjørn all the way. Tea everyone?

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

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