Will the last one out of Maine please turn out the lights?Oh, I forgot, with Baldi's and the watermelons' mini Kyoto there won't be any lights left to turn out.
TCS COP 10 Coverage: 'A New Model'
By Duane D. Freese Published 12/15/2004 BUENOS AIRES - The big secret at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change being keeps getting let out of the bag.
The Kyoto Protocol is a failure. Just ask the top environmental minister of a key European supporter of the pact and its call for cuts of greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of limiting global warming. "The Kyoto Protocol is a test to see if it is possible to have a global treaty to regulate energy and the environment," Corrado Clini, director general of the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory, told reporters Tuesday at an event just outside the United Nations' climate change conference (COP 10), where Kyoto's implementation is being celebrated. "I believe this test is now in process, and the test is suggesting that maybe the Kyoto Protocol is not the best mechanism for addressing global reductions (of greenhouse gas emissions) and economic development," Clini said. Clini's views were echoed at a forum put on by the International Council for Capital Formation (ICCF), by ICCF Managing Director Margot Thorning and Alan Oxley, director of the Australian APEC Study Centre and host of TechCentralStation.com's Asia-Pacific page. Clini was sympathetic to worries that runaway greenhouse gas emissions pose dire consequences for the world environment. He supports the U.N. goal of stabilizing the primary greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, now at 0.037% of the atmosphere, to a "safe" 0.055%. In the 19th Century, it was measured at 0.028%. To do that, though, will require a 50 to 60% cut in emissions by 2040-60, according to a UN assessment report in 2000. Kyoto requires 5% -- and only from developed countries. It doesn't do anything about emissions from the countries where, as Clini noted, emissions are growing the fastest -- the developing world, including giants India and China. By 2030, they will be producing about 55% of all emissions. "A much broader long-term strategy, and much more global effective measures, than those within the Kyoto Protocol, are needed to involve those countries," Clini said. Rather than the caps, cuts and condemnation that have become a hallmark of Kyoto, Clini talked about the need for a "new model" based on cooperation to facilitate "de-carbonization" of the global economy. That would include "promoting and disseminating technology innovation in the energy system and setting common standards and goals for different technologies, rather than setting absolute targets for countries" as was done with Kyoto, Clini concluded. Thorning, who released a new book sponsored by ICCF Climate Change Policy and Economic Growth: A Way Forward for Both, pointed out that the dissemination of new and better technology to developing countries could have huge benefits. Energy intensity -- the amount of energy needed to produce a dollar of income -- is two to three times higher in developing and Third World countries than it is in developed nations, such as Europe, Japan and the United States. Reductions in energy intensity would lead to lower overall emissions as these economies grow than would otherwise occur. But thus far, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) developed by the United Nations to try disseminating cleaner technology to these countries, hasn't worked. Why? Clini says bureaucratic red tape has strangled the initiative. Indeed, the APEC Center's Oxley pointed out that the CDM has approved only one project, and meanwhile the global environment fund -- another mechanism for advancing technology in the developing world -- spends a meager $100 million annually on disseminating climate change technology to developing countries, compared with $63 billion in other aid. According to a report by APEC, that leaves emerging Asian nations with their dependence of power extremely vulnerable if they were ever required to cut emissions as Kyoto is requiring those who have agreed to it. Despite these obstacles, "there is another path forward," Thorning, said. "Promotion of economic freedom and higher living standards." She noted that nations registering highest on the Economic Freedom Index, put out by the Heritage Foundation, tend to have both higher standards of living and lower energy intensities. She wants the world to knock down barriers to economic freedom and technology transfer, such as: Pricing distortions, lack of markets, subsidies to state enterprises.
Lack of property rights and protections for investment.
Lack of infrastructure and education.
Import restrictions that inhibit technology transfer.Such actions would help developing countries take advantage of cleaner, more efficient energy technology, reducing the growth of their emissions even as they strive for higher living standards, according to Thorning. And such improvements would have the added benefit of making their economies more adaptable to the vagaries of climate, whatever its causes. Since President George W. Bush decided not to submit the "fatally flawed" Kyoto for ratification to the Senate, proposals to create emission caps and tradable permits and all the other schemes in Kyoto continue to pop up. Doing something about climate change even it amounts to nothing still has some symbolic allure. They'd be wiser to look beyond Kyoto and put more faith in freedom and innovation and their spread than in failed regulation schemes that stifle both of them.
TCS COP 10 Coverage: Global Warming Extremists on the Run
By James K. Glassman Published 12/14/2004
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Here they go again. This week, 5,400 delegates from 189 countries have gathered in Buenos Aires for what's called COP 10, the 10th annual conference of the parties to the United Nations agreement to combat climate change. That agreement spawned the Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed nations to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels like petroleum and coal) 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. I have been attending these extravaganzas for five years now, and they are an exercise, in the grandly self-important style of the U.N., in wheel-spinning and America-bashing. But something is changing. While a superficial glance indicates the extremists are winning, they are, in fact, on the run. They've failed -- largely because opponents like MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen, who has called warming theory a "religious belief" rather than sound science, haven't been intimidated. Now, a consensus is building to tackle global warming the right away. Still, on the surface, the Greens seemed to achieve a victory in October when Russia, in return for Europe's supporting its bid for WTO membership, ratified Kyoto. The treaty goes into force in February -- despite its rejection by President Bush as "fatally flawed" in 2001. Despite Russia, smart environmentalists aren't rejoicing. Anyone with even minimal knowledge of energy and the science of global warming knows Kyoto is a sham. Europe isn't meeting its targets, and, anyway, the rise in CO2 emissions is steepest, not in the U.S. and Germany, but in China and India, with booming coal-based economies. And China and India, like more than 100 other developing nations, are exempt from Kyoto's strictures. Economic studies show that, to achieve even minuscule temperature reductions, economic growth in the U.S. would have to fall to stagnation levels. Imagine the impact on the rest of the world of such a decline. Meanwhile, new research is casting doubt on the assumptions behind the science of warming -- especially severe flaws in climate computer models. Still, expect the U.S., as usual, to be painted the villain in Buenos Aires -- despite the fact that, as Harlan Watson, the chief U.S. climate negotiator, said last week, "The U.S. effort is equal to that of any other nation to deal with climate change." We're spending more on research than anyone else, and we've signed more than 200 agreements with other nations for scientific studies and the development of clean-energy technologies. What the U.S. rejects is the nonsense of Kyoto. Expect also that the environmental press will be crowing over the Russian ratification, even though Russia has no obligation at all to make cuts in the next few years. (Instead, Russia will collect money from European by "trading" rights to emit.) Clear-eyed enviros know they're losing. A frank new report, "The Death of Environmentalism" (available at [url=http://www.TheBreakthrough.org),]www.TheBreakthrough.org),[/url] issued last week by two Green strategists, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, admits that warming advocates have failed. They haven't "come up with an inspiring vision, much less a legislative proposal, that a majority of Americans could get excited about." True. But don't wait for the Greens to lead. Instead, responsible advocates are building a consensus around the right approach, which concentrates not on destroying the economies of developing countries through limits to growth, but on improving those economies through the use of more energy -- the best leverage for boosting living standards. Wealth, after all, makes health. As a nation gets richer, it gets cleaner. Poor farmers in China, India and Africa burning dung and charcoal are releasing not just CO2 but real pollutants into the air. The role of rich nations should be to transfer technologies that produce cleaner energy more efficiently. Meanwhile, there's important research to be done. We still don't know whether the rise in temperatures is natural and cyclical (it was warmer many centuries ago when the Vikings colonized Greenland) or human-induced. But the radicals are losing. Michael Crichton, author of science-based bestsellers like "Jurassic Park," has a new book, "State of Fear," which casts serious doubt on global warming and extremists who espouse it. As Crichton says, "Why are we not feeding people in this world who are hungry? Why are we not giving clean water to the almost billion people who don't have clean water? The greatest source of environmental degradation is poverty. Why aren't we cleaning up poverty?" Those are the right questions for the multitudes in Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile, Gov. Baldacci and the rest of Maine's watermelon caucus (including both our U.S. Senators) continue to push policies which will raise Maine's energy bill (gas, heating oil and electricity) and have no affect whatsoever on global warming. Thank you... may I have another?