Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Climate Change Protocol (Kyoto)

So the NYTimes has a fascinating chart about which countries are meeting the Kyoto goals and which are not... and what those goals are. For example, we had a little thing on this blog about a year ago as to whether Liechtenstein was meeting its Kyoto goals. Yes, we get into minutia here on the blog. Turns out their goal is not to reduce emissions at all, but to restrain growth to 118% of 1990 levels. Most of the reductions seem to be in Eastern Europe where they are due to falloffs in reported industrial activity since 1990, which is really the closing of Soviet-era factories and such. Only two western countries, Britain and France, haave met their goals and actually made reductions, although Germany and Belgium have come close. It is interesting to see the countries where Kyoto only required restricting growth of emissions, not actually reducing emissions: Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Greece. None has succeeded in that restraint. The USA would have been targeted for a 7% reduction had it joined. I can't find information on US emissions levels right now - presumably a significant increase.

The purpose of the NYTimes chart is to give some context to the fact that the Obama administration is likely to commit the USA to some efforts on climate change. Whether it is meeting Kyoto, I don't know.


Robert said...

The US is not meeting Kyoto. First, it never even signed it, but second, US emissions have been increasing, although there may be a slight dip due to the depression.

Bush II argued that he wanted to cut the energy intensity per unit GDP. We exceeded that, in that it takes less energy to produce the same $amount of product. However, this argument allows total emissions to rise, as GDP increases. The US is significantly over the 1990 levels.

Obama has a couple different proposals, such as returning to 1990 levels by 2020, or another way of saying things (sometimes also said) is cutting such-and-such % of 2006 levels. 2006 is also strategic because if we have had a natural dip due to the depression, we might have less work to do to reach it.

I'm sitting at Power Shift in DC right now with 12,000 other youth, and tomorrow we're going to lobby our officials to enact climate change policy this year. It is an incredible conference, and we need to be at a minimum 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050. That may not be good enough, but we don't have a choice, because our planet is in such danger.

Pombat said...

Don't even get me started on all this right now. Krudd supposedly has plans for a carbon trading scheme, which is just another way of saying that if people choose to get solar power say, in order to cut their reliance on coal-fired power stations, and the excess from that is fed back into the grid, the power companies will be allowed to emit more.

What I want to see is a pollie with the balls to demand cuts from everyone, or to instigate a true carbon tax, not this wishy washy "I'll let you get away with it cos you've got great lobbyists and I love those lunches you throw" carbon trade crap. Worst thing is I can't even vote here (it's going to be more than three years until I can), so I can't punish them at the ballot box either. Sigh.

Spotted Handfish said...

Pombat is correct: Australia has been extremely poor in doing anything effective with regard to greenhouse gases. We are clearing forests and burning brown coal. Stupidity.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It seems that Kyoto assumed economic growth by Australia that could not be entirely mitigated, hence the *growth* in emissions -albeit modest - contemplated by Kyoto. Same rationale would seem to apply for Ireland, Spain, and Greece. If Australia's GDP in the past decade was higher than expected, that alone could account for the higher-than-expected growth in emissions.

I've seen some data showing that USA emissions have increased by 25% since 1990. If so, that means the 7% reduction from 1990 levels will be very difficult to attain here. Fortunately, the decline in GDP is, um, helping.