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Cheers - AE

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hardly a ringing endorsement for Kyoto type polices

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Global carbon emissions reach record 10 billion tonnes, an increase of almost 50 per cent in the last two decades, according to the team at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
I'm not going to go into the University of Email Context and the less said the better about beginning an article with an opening sentence that reads more like a headline.* Instead I'll just note that the Kyoto Protocol was supposed to stabilise atmospheric levels of some 'greenhouse gases' by reducing emissions, that it was bloody expensive, and that emissions went up anyway. In other words even if you buy into the argument that CO2 emissions are a problem the solution, although to be fair it was touted as an initial step, has been an abject failure.

And in case that's not convincing a few days ago a post appeared on Watts Up With That entitled 'What Didn't Kyoto Do?' which made a similar point with some interesting additions.
The entire goal of Kyoto was to drop total country emissions (not per capita emissions) to 1990 levels. Since the population has gone up since 1990, to drop total emissions back down to 1990 levels means that per capita emissions have to drop even further, to well below 1990 levels. Kyoto was supposed to encourage the EU folks to undertake some serious reductions of emissions.

But at the end of the day, despite all of the noise and all of the fury, the US did a better job at reducing per capita emissions (down 14% compared to the 1990 values) than the EU27 did (down 12% compared to the 1990 values).

It is also interesting to compare the absolute values of the changes. In the EU27 with Kyoto, the emissions dropped since 1990 by 1.1 tonnes per capita. Remember that this includes Germany, which artificially decreased the average emissions. Bear in mind as well that one effect of Kyoto was to move energy-intensive industries outside the EU27, which also artificially decreased emissions.

In the USA without Kyoto, emissions dropped since 1990 by more than twice as much, a reduction of 2.8 tonnes per capita. The US had no Kyoto incentives and punishments, didn’t drive out energy-intensive industry, and despite all of that had larger emission reductions, both in absolute and in percentage terms, than the EU27. Go figure.
Indeed, but that's only the half of it.
Meanwhile, Chinese emissions went up, not down but up, by a whopping 4.6 tonnes per capita … and there’s a whole lot more capitas in China than there are capitas in the US and EU27 combined. China by itself wiped out all the gains of the EU27, and all the gains of the US, and turned them all into a net increase. And that’s just China, doesn’t include Brazil and India and all the rest of the developing world.
So, hands up everyone who's for more of the same? Those who've profited so handsomely off the back of Kyoto I don't need to answer.

* Telegraph readers may guess that the article is by Louise Gray without following the link, and they probably won't be surprised to hear that the photo beneath the subhead about carbon emissions shows some cooling towers emitting water vapour.
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