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, October 07, 2005

Further rusty nails in the coffin lid of the Kyoto Protocol.....

The burial of the Kyoto Protocol continues apace, whether in Italy, in the UK, or in Russia, while expanding glaciers in both Norway and New Zealand demonstrate the hard-science complexities of climate change:

First, comments from Italy's Defence Minister, Antonio Martino, taken from his article, 'Kyoto? Mamma Mia!' (The Wall Street Journal, October 7):
"... the U.S. is not the only country that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Both China and India, major and growing producers of so-called 'greenhouse-gas emissions', are not required to abide by its terms. The EU countries, including my own, ratified Kyoto. That the EU would still insist on implementing the protocol must be seen as an institutional form of collective self-flagellation. Kyoto will severely penalize the European economy without bringing any real progress toward the noble aims proclaimed by the EU...

...What's more, the limitations imposed by Kyoto will make our current energy problems worse. The relative slowing of oil prices after the steep rise of the last weeks must not deceive us - the world's energy demand is bound to grow in lockstep with the breathtaking economic growth of China and India. Those countries, such as Italy, that for decades steered clear of building new power plants and gave up on nuclear power - the cleanest, safest and cheapest energy source available today - will need to face up to a harsh reality: Compliance with the Kyoto Protocol will punish even the existing energy-producing capacity by capping emissions. The cost of energy in Italy, already higher than the European average, let alone that in the U.S., will go up even more. Given the country's lack of competitiveness, that can only be described as a self-inflicted wound..."

Then re the UK, as reported in Germany: 'London rückt vom Kyoto-Prinzip ab' (Handelsblatt, October 7):
"In der britischen Regierung wächst die Skepsis gegenüber einem Kyoto-Nachfolgeabkommen, das Emissionsbeschränkungen verbindlich festschreibt. Nachdem Premier Tony Blair jüngst Hoffnungen auf ein Nachfolgeabkommen dämpfte, äußerte sich Umweltministerin Margaret Beckett jetzt skeptisch: „Ich gehöre nicht zu denen, die sagen, dass es ein zweites Kyotoabkommen exakt wie das erste geben wird“, sagte sie am Rand einer Klimakonferenz in London."

[Translation courtesy of Dr. Benny Peiser: "Opposition is growing within the British Government to a new Kyoto follow-up treaty that would put obligatorily limits on greenhouse gas emissions. After Prime Minister Tony Blair recently dashed hopes for a follow-up agreement, Secretary of the Environment Margaret Beckett herself now expressed scepticism: 'I do not belong to those who say that there will be a second Kyoto Treaty exactly like the first', she said during a climate conference in London."]

And then, Russian caveats (if no caviar) in 'Russian minister criticizes Russia's pledges under Kyoto protocol' (ITAR-TASS, October 7):
"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a BBC interview Thursday Russia's pledges under the Kyoto Protocol on emissions of greenhouse gases were not quite fair."

And lastly, let's move from the politics of the myth to the complexities of reality in: Chinn, T., S. Winkler, M.J. Salinger, and N. Haakensen, 2005. 'Recent glacier advances in Norway and New Zealand: a comparison of their glaciological and meteorological causes.' Geografiska Annaler, Series A, Vol. 87, No 1, pp. 141-157, March 2005:
"Norway and New Zealand both experienced recent glacial advances, commencing in the early 1980s and ceasing around 2000, which were more extensive than any other since the end of the Little Ice Age. Common to both countries, the positive glacier balances are associated with an increase in the strength of westerly atmospheric circulation which brought increased precipitation. In Norway, the changes are also associated with lower ablation season temperatures. In New Zealand, where the positive balances were distributed uniformly throughout the Southern Alps, the period of increased mass balance was coincident with a change in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation and an associated increase in El Niño/Southern Oscillation events. In Norway, the positive balances occurred across a strong west-east gradient with no balance increases to the continental glaciers of Scandinavia. The Norwegian advances are linked to strongly positive North Atlantic Oscillation events which caused an overall increase of precipitation in the winter accumulation season and a general shift of maximum precipitation from autumn towards winter. These cases both show the influence of atmospheric circulation on maritime glaciers."

[Hat tip to Dr. Benny Peiser for the above information].

Philip, just wondering how long it will be before certain British journalists turn up at the funeral. "You'll have had your tea, then?"

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

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