Tag Archives: kyoto treaty

Kyoto Protocol Extended to 2020 by UN

Yesterday (Saturday December 8,2012), the BBC’s lead story on my browser feed was Climate talks: UN forum extends Kyoto Protocol to 2020.  Wow, I can hardly contain my excitement.   An agreement that doesn’t work has just been extended.

The Kyoto Protocol has always been a bureaucratic solution to the perceived science problem of man caused global warming.   The UN has put itself in charge of both the politics and the science. How convenient for them.

The Kyoto Protocol divides the world into two main categories, the developed world and the developing world.  Countries in the developed world must limit their carbon emissions, the developing countries have no such limitations.  The three biggest contributors in the world are China (28%), the USA (16%) and India (7%).  China and India are considered developing countries and the USA has not ratified the treaty.

The three biggest contributors in the world with 51% of the total are not required to do anything under the treaty.  Sounds like a recipe for failure to me.  The USA as the only developed country that did not ratify the treaty is frequently blamed for the failure of the treaty.  In this article the BBC keeps up that proud tradition.

The US – a major polluter – has never ratified the original 1997 protocol.

Per capita carbon use in the USA peaked in 1973.   As the Huffington Post noted in a recent article, USA production will be the lowest it has been in 20 years in 2012.  Yes, the USA uses more than it’s fair share of energy, but that’s true of all developed countries and we are improving.

China, according to the Global Carbon Project, produced 28% of the total in 2011 and was growing at 9.9% in 2011.   They alone were responsible for  .28*9.9% or 2.7% of the worlds growth in 2011.  The whole world grew at 3.0% in 2011.

This blog is dedicated to the notion that global warming science is full of guesses and questionable assumptions.  That said, I believe we are impacting our ecosystem and we should try to do better.    We all can do better…and China needs to do more….lots more.

China is the big player in the carbon game.    In 2011 China had about the same per capita emissions level as the average EU country and their population has a much lower standard of living.  China expects to grow their economy rapidly for many more years as their citizens become more affluent.   China needs to become more energy efficient.

I worry more about air pollution and population growth than global climate change.  I consider much of the money being spent by the UN and others to try to control climate, a squandering of our scarce resources.   We have our priorities wrong.   India will pass the USA within 20 years and become the worlds second leading carbon producer simply by growing their population!

The world bank estimates that China has 14 of the 18 most polluted cities in the world.   India will soon become the most populous country in the world and it will have a population density about 9 times that of the USA.    World population growth and the pollution of the planet are immediate problems that need more resources right now.

Saturday the UN extended an agreement that does not work for 8 more years.   Next year the 9th International Carbon Dioxide Conference meets  in Beijing.  So goes the strange world of climate politics.

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Politics and Science – Strange Bedfellows

The UN’s first international global warming summit took place  in Rio in 1992.   After two weeks of meeting a protocol for reducing global warming by slowing man-made carbon dioxide production emerged. (A SWAG if ever there was one)

In 1997 an agreement at a  meeting in Kyoto turned some of the Rio protocols into a Treaty.  The treaty was ratified by most of the countries in the world and went into effect  on February 16,2005.  The treaty will expire at the end of 2012.

The Kyoto treaty is a political agreement attempting to address a perceived science problem.  The UN is both the political body in charge of negotiations and the keeper of the science; the opportunity for mischief is almost endless.

Because the Kyoto Treaty is a political solution; it does many strange things in order to get countries to go along.  The agreement uses a 1990 base line year and allows all sorts of adjustments to that year for the various countries involved.

Kyoto mandates levels 5% below the 1990 levels for 14 developed countries and 20 other countries in transition (Russia and Eastern Europe), collectively called Annex I countries. The rest of the world is considered developing countries and they are not required to do anything.  Kyoto assumes the greenhouse gas goals will be met in 2012.

The strange nature of the Kyoto treaty begins with the list of Annex I countries.  These are the developed countries that are expected to make the sacrifices for the benefit of the group. Annex I countries include Turkey, Romania, Iceland (that recently went bankrupt), Bulgaria, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein; but not China or India, the two most populous countries in the world and two of the three largest carbon producers.

Canada (a very high per capita user) is given credit for trees, Britain credit for converting coal to natural gas because of North Sea production and Western Europe gets to count all the “dirty” stuff in Eastern Europe that they would improve or already had improved.  Australia is given credit for all the trees it destroyed in 1990 as its baseline.

The collapse of the Soviet Union completely destroyed the Soviet economy and Russia was given the benefit of the former USSR usage, Japan and Germany got carbon sinks to be counted.

The treaty is expensive.  Countries were jockeying, trying to agree to their obligations without hurting their economies too much.

Climate change politics and climate science have been intertwined since before the first Rio meeting.  This political, scientific and economic reality leads to lots of bizarre behavior.

When the individual countries first met to discuss global warming in Rio in 1992, China was  a small player.   Way back in 1992, nobody knew China was going to become the second largest economy in the world and the biggest carbon producer by far.  China was given a pass.

Sometime in 2012 or perhaps 2013, China will produce as much man-made carbon dioxide as the USA and all of Western Europe combined.  We in the west are preparing to spend huge amounts to limit a product that China is producing in abundance.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Why do Al Gore and his mentor,  James Hansen,  continue to give China a pass while bashing the USA, Germany and Britain?   Global warming politics.  Mr. Gore and Dr. Hansen are all about motivating all of us to act…and act now.

If  China can and does overwhelm anything and everything we do…..why bother?   Mr. Gore needs  all of us in the Western world to feel responsible for the horrible events he is predicting.   We will not do what he wants us to do, if we don’t feel responsible.

And he doesn’t want us to notice the mega-doses of  wild ass guessing included in his predictions.

Al Gore regularly bashes the USA for our poor environmental record and is strangely silent on China.  Mr. Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, was released in 2006.  It is full of condemnation of the USA and is almost silent on China.  While the film was in theaters, China passed the USA to become the worlds biggest man-made carbon emitter, but you’d never know it from the rhetoric displayed in the film.

James Hansen has testified against an individual new coal fired power plant in Britain, insisting that one incremental plant will do horrible harm, while standing silent as China opens a new coal plant every week.

Japan will likely be replacing Nuclear plants with coal plants because of the disaster at Fukashima.  They will probably fall short of their Kyoto obligations because of that change.  Japan will continue to have difficulty meeting Kyoto obligations in the future, and it will almost certainly impact how Japan negotiates in the future.

Wind and Solar will not work as electric base load, they are only available when mother nature cooperates.  Power utilities need predictable power…and Nuclear is the only carbon dioxide free fuel available today in large quantities.  Before the March 11, 2011 tsunami, articles about the future Nuclear world were everywhere.   Now….silence is golden.   The science hasn’t change, but the politics sure did.

Oil is a transportation fuel, wind and solar are power generation sources.    The USA uses only domestic sources for power generation (except in Hawaii) so wind power and solar have absolutely no impact on energy independence….but they are linked by politicians and environmentalists all the time.

I am sure many scientists, environmentalists, and politicians know that carbon dioxide emanating  from an automobile tailpipe will not be changed by building a wind farm in North Dakota; but the two are constantly linked together.  President Obama did just that last week.  He brought up renewable energy efforts while touting his energy policy in an effort to tap dance around high gasoline prices.