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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kyoto Protocol Failures

I remember a slew of jokes that were circulated at least half a decade ago about how the U.S. was refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The thing has existed since 1997, and about 180 countries have signed and ratified the Protocol. Well, the first joke is that the U.S. did in fact sign the Kyoto Protocol. There's just no way in hell we're choosing to ratify it, which means that all of the objectives and consequences of the protocol are non-binding to the U.S. and the signature was merely symbolic.

And you know what? It's a damned good thing we didn't ratify it. Because most of the countries who did ratify it are failing and it's going to cost them over $46 billion as penalties.

Twenty nations including Japan, Italy and Australia are likely failing to meet the goals/restrictions on greenhouse-gas pollution set for their countries. The problem is that because they ratified the Kyoto Protocol and are likely going to fail to meet their requirements, the nations are required to buy permits for every excess ton of the heat-trapping gas released between 2008 and 2012.

For just those twenty nations, a London-based research group named New Carbon Finance estimates that the damage will be about 2.3 billion excess tons of greenhouse-gas emission, resulting in their forced purchase of as many permits.

Given the going rate of these permits right now, the estimated financial damage for these twenty nations will be 36 billion euros ($46 billion).

Add to that the fact that out of those 130-odd nations that signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, only 37 are on track to meet their pledges. And while the other failing nations aren't as large as the twenty that will result in the $46 billion penalties, the fact that there's more than 70 other countries who are failing and will be paying for their failure to meet these expectations simply does not bode well for the environmental movement at all.

In fact, a few countries are out-and-out admitting that these goals are rather impossible.

In Italy's case, ``It's obvious the goals are not possible,'' Corrado Clini said today at an energy conference today in Rome. Italy will need 421 million permits over the five-year period, and Spain, 405 million, the research firm said. That would cost each country more than 6 billion euros, using the current price of CERs, though both governments have said they may share the costs with local industry.

Point Carbon, an Oslo-based emissions-market analysis company, estimates Italy will need 325 million permits and Spain 395 million.

Italian government and corporate officials are increasingly criticizing the Mediterranean nation's looming emissions costs. Kyoto is ``pure folly,'' Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Eni SpA, the nation's largest oil company, said Nov. 10 on an Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor report.

Italy is among countries that may go the Canadian route of choosing not to buy the permits they need to meet their targets, said Steven Knell, a London-based energy analyst at the economic consulting and research firm Global Insight Inc.

``It is unlikely that Italy would formally drop out of the Kyoto, however non-compliance is a distinct possibility,'' Knell said. ``The cases of non-compliance may well pile up as many states are well off the mark.''

Italy's Clini said the government and industry would purchase the permits together and not withdraw from the treaty. ``We won't pull out of Kyoto,'' Clini said. ``At this point, we're in it.''

Australia, which only ratified Kyoto in 2007, will need credits to cover 20.6 million tons a year, at an estimated annual cost of 325 million euros, based on the CER price. Japan, which New Carbon Finance predicts will need 587 million credits, says new energy-efficiency policies will help the nation meet its target.

To add insult to the environmentalists' injury, one only needs to speculate about the planned conference in Copenhagen scheduled for next year to discuss what can only be described as "the next phase" and making even more-ambitious promises to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution in these countries.

Plain and simple, if they couldn't manage THESE unattainable goals - the prospect of meeting to negotiate even MORE-unattainable goals is laugh-out-loud preposterous.

So the next time one of your friends makes a joke about the Kyoto Protocol and the arrogance of the United States - remind them that if we HAD gone along with it, we'd likely be also paying an assload of money for our inevitable failures.

And then get some new friends.


Anonymous said...

if you don't believe that climate change will have a devastating effect on our way of life over time then you're basically asserting that you're smarter than the vast majority of scientists

and uhm, you're really not.

AaronBSam said...

Fuck you, you brain-dead moron!

I didn't say a single goddamned thing about whether or not global warming is real or its potential impact on the environment or human lives.

I was talking ONLY about the Kyoto Protocol - making binding promises as a country to be able to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution - and that it's such an impossible goal for many countries and those repercussions of failure have ended in huge amounts of fees to add insult to injury.

Try and point out something I said in this post that suggests I "don't believe that climate change will have a devastating effect on our way of time over time". Go ahead.

I fucking dare you.

Anonymous said...

what is the point of this? that spending on environmental research and solutions is a waste of time, so we should just all kick back and take up as many resources, pollute as much as we want until our standard of living is doomed? what countries are "failing" because they took the initiative to halt climate change? are you just a dumbass or the biggest dumbass?

Anonymous said...

Disregard that actually, it's apparent that negative attention and reasoned, clear explanations of why you're an uneducated blowhard are making you want to offer your horrible baseless opinions even more. So what I'm going to do is not reply to you and you can keep shouting over dead air about how much you loathe the vegetarians and environmentalists, most of which are going to outlive you by 50 years.

AaronBSam said...

The point of this is NOT that spending on environmental research and solutions is a waste of time - it's saying that countries should be responsible for their own environmental research and solutions and NOT have to answer to some international committee in the process.

It's one thing to set a goal as a nation and then fail to meet that goal; being able to learn from your mistakes and know which sectors to try harder with on the next round. It's quite another to have a goal set for you as a nation, fail to meet that goal, and then having to pay fees for your failure depending on how badly you failed.

With the first option, your country can celebrate the environmental changes made, despite meeting an arbitrary goal. With the latter, the goal is set by others and a failure equals a penalty, removing any positive impact of the environmental changes made.

THAT is not right.

Anonymous said...

world leaders see it differently and for the better since one country's activities effects us all, so i guess you fail

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Anonymous said...

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