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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mr. Blair quietly kills off the Kyoto Protocol.....

In a remarkably little-reported comment presented by Tony Blair in midtown Manhattan at the Clinton Global Initiative (first day, September 15), the British Prime Minister quietly nailed down the lid on the Kyoto Protocol coffin. He also made it abundantly clear that there would be no 'Son of Kyoto'. Here is the full text of his careful [lawyer's] comment relating to climate change:
MR. BLAIR: "I think that - three points I would like to make here. The first is that I think, whether for reasons to do with concern over global warming or for reasons to do with concern over energy security and supplies, I think this issue is coming together in an important way. It's there now on the agenda and I'm pleased about that. I think it's very important. The second thing, though, is that I think - and I would say probably I'm changing my thinking about this in the past two or three years. I think if we are going to get action on this, we have got to start from the brutal honesty about the politics of how we deal with it. The truth is no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem. What countries are prepared to do is to try to work together cooperatively to deal with this problem in a way that allows us to develop the science and technology in a beneficial way. Now, I don't think all of the answers lie in just - in developing the science and technology, but I do think there is no way we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology capable of doing it. And that really brings me to the third point, which is I think the point that you were really raising, which is, well, how do you create the forces that drive people then to develop the science and technology? How do you create the markets and the research and the development of this technology so that we can shorten the timeline so that we're not waiting 25 or 30 years to develop fuel cell technology, so that, for example, in nuclear fusion, which is now a major issue as well we are developing the technology, so that you can bring those costs of wind power and solar power down? How do you do that? And I think that is the issue that the international community needs to address because we tried at Gleneagles to try and - some people have signed Kyoto, some people haven't signed Kyoto, right. That is a disagreement. It's there. It's not going to be resolved. But how do we move forward and ensure that post-Kyoto we do try to get agreement? I think that can only be done by the major players in this coming together and finding a way for pulling their resources, their information, their science and technology in order to find the ways of allowing us to grow sustainably? And the meeting that will take place on the 1st of November, which is effectively the G-8 of the India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico. That is going to allow us, I hope, not to negotiate international treaties, but to allow us to start beginning the necessary dialogue as to how we are going to shorten these timelines for developing the science and technology and how we are going to ensure that countries like China and India, as they grow - and they will grow. And they are not going to - they are not going to find it satisfactory for us in the developed world to turn around and say, look, we have had our growth. You have now got yours so we want you to do it sustainably even if we haven't. So they aren't going to demand, in my view, some process that allows us to share the technology and transfer so that we can benefit collectively for the work that needs to be done. And the real issue I think - because to be honest, I don't think people are going, at least in the short term, going to start negotiating another major treaty like Kyoto. The real issue is how do we put these incentives in the system so that the private sector, as well as the public sector says, this is the direction policy is going to go, so let's start getting behind this. So that is what - I think it's a key issue."

Common sense and real politics at last on climate change. I hope I have been saying this for ages.

Philip, off for a celebratory coffee in the garden before summer wanes. Hm! The bunnies are looking rather sickly green...

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

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