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, February 16, 2005

The Kyoto Protocol: put the champagne back in the fridge.....

Today, the Kyoto Protocol comes into 'force', though 'farce' would be a much more appropriate word. And here is why:

(a) Japan: this is the only international treaty named after a Japanese city. You would thus think that Japan might wish to be seen to be leading the way. You would be lamentably wrong. The reality?

* Japan's Kyoto target: a 6% cut in CO2 emissions on 1990-levels by 2008-12;

* Japan's performance to date: CO2 emissions have risen by 8% on 1990-levels (and some authorities put this even higher at 12.1%).

(b) But what about the ever-moralistic and tub-thumping Europe? Complete embarrassment all round:

* Portugal is projected to be emitting a staggering 53.1% more CO2 on 1990-levels by 2010;

* Spain is projected to be emitting a massive 48.3% more CO2 on 1990-levels by 2010;

* Greece is projected to be emitting an Olympian 38.6% more CO2 on 1990-levels by 2010;

* Ireland is projected to be emitting an enormous 29.4% more CO2 on 1990-levels by 2010.....

* And so on, and so on, with even Germany, despite being rewarded with large carbon credits for taking on the former East Germany, failing.

* And, as for the ever self-righteous UK - Margaret Beckett, seemingly with Mr. Blair's full support, has just requested the EU to permit an increase in carbon dioxide allowances by 2.7% above the initial emissions-trading plan submitted last July.

(c) But what of 'ever-so-Green' Canada? Its emissions have risen by a whopping 20% on 1990-levels and it has proved impossible to devise any coherent Kyoto policies. Maple 'fig leaves' all round - just ask Alberta what it thinks of Kyoto.

(d) Then, who isn't in Kyoto, or who has no targets at all? Australia and the US (how very sensible of them), not to mention the new players on the world economic stage, above all China (now the second biggest user of energy in the world), India, and Brazil;

(e) Finally, emissions trading: it is at last dawning on the naif faithful that this spawn of Kyoto will actually increase overall CO2 emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol is a shambles and one utter waste of political effort. It will do absolutely nothing about climate change, although it will cost us all dear in energy prices, taxes, and jobs. Even its few remaining supporters should be putting the champagne back in the fridge. The sooner we stop playing this farcical charade, the better for everyone.

The public must be told the reality, not the political spin. We need a dramatic change of climate.

Now look at this (hat tip Barry Hearn): 'The seemingly interminable Kyoto countdown is over - now we begin to count UP (the cost).'

Philip, not celebrating the ratifying of the Kyoto Protocol. I'll get the champagne out when it is deeply and eternally sequestered underground. "I'll drink to that!"

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

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