Kyoto and the G8: A Day Late and a Euro Short

Later this year, China will overtake the United States as the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG).  At that time, some of the pressure to accept egregious UN-based Kyoto-style protocols will shift eastward from Washington to Beijing.

It is that impending inversion which distinguishes this week's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, as the EU alarmists' last-gasp effort to impose their flawed and failing cap-and-trade policies on America, and ultimately, the entire world.

With Kyoto set to expire in 5 years, and the world's premier GHG emitters either exempt from or outright refusing its misguided constraints, the outlook for the accord's renewal is unquestionably bleak.  Nonetheless, activists on both sides of the pond believe there's hope in a kindred successor, particularly in light of what they perceive as President Bush's recent capitulation to their doomsday nonsense. 

But they are quite mistaken in both their belief and perception.

For openers, many of the poorer, "developing" countries that originally signed-on to Kyoto did so primarily based upon promised immunity from its bite. But as the unfounded hysteria has crescendoed, so have the frenzied demands.

Now, in a desperate move to finally ensnare the prized U.S before it loses its dubious GHG leadership, all exemption deals have been cleared from the table.  The plan was obviously to force America's hand by removing its main reason for rejecting Kyoto I in 1997 - The exclusion of China and India.

The plan is all but assured to backfire.

Dinner at G8

At this year's 3-day gathering (expected to itself create 30,000 tons of GHG), German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes to broker the framework for an agreement among all nations to reduce GHG emissions (GHGE) 50% by 2050.  Alas, not satisfied with one unattainable and market-unfriendly goal, the summit hostess wishes to further establish a warming cap of 2 degrees Celsius worldwide for the 21st century. 

This is easily the silliest proposed "solution" to the yet-to-be-proven "problem" to date.  Why not also remove highway speed limits and replace them with accident limits?  Sound crazy?  Not really - at least a scientifically proven relationship between highway speed and accidents has been established. 

Attempting to bridle the highly theoretical secondary results of GHGE reduction rather than the primary emissions themselves violates 2 basic rules:

  • Rule #1: There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that the actions of mankind can impact global temperatures even a single degree Celsius in either direction.
  • Rule #2: Whenever contemplating Climate Control through legislation, always refer to Rule #1.
And, as a simple rule of etiquette, a gracious hostess does not impress her dinner guests by serving them an experimental goulash of previously failed recipes.

Unlike Alarmists, the figures don't lie

As it happens, while non-compliant United States GHGE has been more or less flat over the past 7 years, the cap-and-traders in the EU have actually seen an increase over the same period.  In fact, last year, the U.S booked a 1.3 percent decrease in CO2 emissions while the economy grew 3.3 percent -- marking the first such decrease since 1990 during a thriving economy.  Meanwhile, the capping and trading EU posted a dismal 1.5% GHGE increase during an estimated 2.3% economic growth in 2006.

Furthermore, ongoing investigations have uncovered little more than fraud flowing through existing EU carbon markets.  A recent inquiry by the Financial Times found that:
"Companies and individuals rushing to go green have been spending millions on ‘carbon credit' projects that yield few if any environmental benefits."
The same article also reported:
  • Industrial companies profiting from doing very little - or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.
  • Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.
  • A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.
  • Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.
So those dirty, selfish, Americans managed to increase their GDP while decreasing carbon emissions through sheer Yankee ingenuity while the clean, forthright EU increased carbon emissions with smaller growth based upon a corrupt and arbitrary system it wishes to propagate throughout the planet.

The Asia of Reason

Fortunately, this transparent attempt to place control of world markets into the eager hands of the U.N is unlikely to succeed.

Consider that China and India, both of whom will continue to build coal-fired plants well into any foreseeable future, have steadfastly refused to accept even relatively attainable CO2 caps.   Now add Merkel's wacky temperature limits to the mix and the fact that China's central economic planning chief, Ma Kai, recently commented:
"I'm afraid (that the benefit of a two-degree threshold) still lacks a lot of scientific evidence and dependable and feasible research."
Adding to the unlikelihood of Chinese compliance is Ma's recent defense of his country's extremely low per-capita emissions. He has also suggested that "importing countries" share responsibility for Chinese factory GHGE, and chides the disparate burdens solid caps place upon poorer nations:
"The consequences of restricting the development of developing nations will be much more serious than the consequences of global warming."
Welcome, mysterious East, to the more mysterious world of hysterical junk-science.

Meanwhile, India's environment ministry blames industrialized nations for the problem, and accepts responsibility for a mere 4% of global emissions. New Delhi appears to be dabbling in a certain junk-science of its own, as 4% is a year 2000 figure. In fact, India is currently thought to be right on China's heels in the GHGE derby.

Be that as it may, the country has warned it would not submit to any commitments to cut GHG.  To wit, the ministry made clear (somewhat) its position in a June 6th statement:
"There have been attempts to draw large developing countries such as India and China into taking greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments which is not as per the Kyoto Protocol."
Needless to say, for these 2 rapidly developing economies, cap-and-trade remains a non-starter. However, each has expressed a sincere interest in pushing "for greater collaboration on clean technologies." 

There's No Exception to the Rule

With just that in mind, China and India have joined the United States and 3 other nations, together representing "about half of the world's economy, population and energy use" to form The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.  Rather than imposing unworkable energy cuts, the group's strategy is to:
"Create a voluntary, non-legally binding framework for international cooperation to facilitate the development, diffusion, deployment, and transfer of existing, emerging and longer term cost- effective, cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices among the Partners through concrete and substantial cooperation so as to achieve practical results."
On June 1st, President Bush Announced U.S. Support For An Effort To Develop A New Post-2012 Framework On Climate Change By The End Of 2008.  The proposal:
"recognizes that it is essential that a new framework include both major developed and developing economies that generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and consume the most energy, and that climate change must be addressed in a way that enhances energy security and promotes economic growth." [emphasis added]
Strategically proclaimed just days short of Heiligendamm, the plan purports to "fold into the U.N. framework," and - not coincidentally -- includes similar "clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power" strategies to those of the APPCDC.

Bush actually played this rather effectively. By offering a rational, technology based, long-term alternative to the overreaction of yet another U.N Kyoto clone, he can no longer be accused of "ignoring" the problem - either abroad or here at home.  The renewable aspect will likely prove thin, but no matter - overall the plan solidifies America's control of its financial systems while rescuing it from meaningless and debilitating restraints.

Additionally, as the countries producing over half of the world's GHG are forming a partnership whose approach will prove infinitely more attractive to both established and emerging markets - it successfully kills all hope of anything other than an all-EU Kyoto II. 

Of course, such a limited alliance could literally return its economies to the bronze-age and still have zero impact on overall GHGE.  C'est la vie

And so, as yet another non-productive G8 meeting inevitably fades into the cooling darkness, we bid a not-so-fond farewell to Kyoto and anything emitting even a vaguely similar Socialist stench. 

Perhaps next time out, alarmists will remember rule number 2.  Are you listening, Speaker Pelosi?