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.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Montreal and Kyoto: more work for the undertaker.....

Today marks the start of yet another climate-change conference (deepest of yawns), the ludicrously-named '11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP11 and COP/MOP1)'. This time the Kyoto Protocol caravanserai has descended on the city of Montreal, with some 10,000 delegates and officials, not to mention a host of motley demonstrators, weary journalists, and camp followers. You would need to complete a PhD to attempt to calculate the carbon dioxide being emitted for this jolly jamboree.

Moreover, despite its specious 'Green' credentials, Canada is probably the worst destination possible. First, most serendipitously, this is also the day on which the three main opposition parties will table a 'No-Confidence Motion' with respect to the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Paul Martin, who may well lose the vote, thus precipitating a Christmas, or New Year, election. The likely winner of such an election could well be the Conservative Party, which is critical of the Kyoto Protocol. In any case, some of the Canadian states, like Alberta, will not play ball over Kyoto, come what may.

Secondly, and perhaps even more risible, Canada's own record on meeting its Kyoto emission-reduction targets is lamentable, being currently 30% over target. Mind you, it is worth adding that Japan itself is eponymously 'Kyoto-heavy', with emissions at least 18% above target, despite much of its manufacturing base having been exported abroad, especially to China. And, as for the ever self-righteous and priggish EU? At least 11 EU countries are way off their own targets, some by deeply-embarrassing margins of over 30%.

Thus: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."

Unfortunately, at Montreal, there will be an enormous amount of cynical hot air expended in 'praising' the long-moribund Kyoto corpse. Nevertheless, the Kyoto Protocol will be buried as surely as Caesar - "See what a rent the envious Canada [Australia, China, India, etc.] made" - and it is most unlikely that a Son of Kyoto will rise, ghost-like from the chilly grave. Indeed, the sooner we put a stone cap over this coffin, the better (now that's what I call 'capping' emissions).

Thus, despite the hysterical coverage of 'global warming' that is bound to afflict the liberal media in countries like the UK (expect this to grow more strident as the burial takes place), most of the world has, at last, grasped reality, namely that:

(a) controlling CO2 at the margins will have little predictable influence on climate change;

(b) constant adaptation to climate change, whatever its direction(s), is the only practical option;

(c) maintaining strong, flexible economies is the best way of achieving adaptability; and,

(d) technological innovation and entrepreneurship, not the hairshirt, are the best ways of coping both with energy growth and with climate adaptation, especially in the developing worlds of China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and, indeed, most of the world.

Thus, at Montreal, expect much public hand-wringing over Kyoto, while the Protocol is quietly and quickly buried, to be replaced by practical policies well-attuned with sound economic growth. Expect also to hear a lot about the resurgence of nuclear power, the revival of clean coal, the deep geological burial of carbon, carbon trading (also needs a quick burial, mind you), and the export of technologies.

But, for the Kyoto Protocol itself, the undertakers are already decorating the hearse, and the wreath will surely read: "Dead! And never called me Mother!"

Finally, here is my 'Letter to the Editor', kindly published today by The Daily Telegraph (November 28): 'Greens are nuked'.

Philip, deeply bored by the whole international shambles on climate change. One day soon, the very idea of 'controlling climate change' will be recognized for what it is: a hubristic and puritanical nonsense. An espresso doppio is required this morning. And, of course, toast with maple syrup! And then: waffles all round. What a stampede.

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

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

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