How Effective is the Kyoto Protocol?

Earlier, American Thinker published  an assessment of the performance of selected countries with regard to their CO2 output since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming.  Not only does the treaty seem to have little positive effect among its signatories, but the EU collectively has done worse than the US at controlling CO2 emissions.

Between 1997 and 2004, based on US Department of Energy data cited earlier, the US CO2 output rose by about 6.6%, less than one percent annually and about one fourth the rate of US economic growth in that period.

In contrast the "core" EU countries, those that were members before the fall of Communism showed an increase in CO2 output of 11.3%, about 1.5% per year, and almost three quarters of their rates of economic growth.  Only the inclusion of the former communist countries, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, make the EU look like a good world citizen. 

Before the Wall came down, energy, mostly supplied by the Soviet Union, was essentially free.  Moreover, Soviet bloc economic policy tended toward heavy industry, using a lot of cheap energy very inefficiently.  Thus it is no surprise that the collapse of the communist model would lead to lower energy use in those countries once EU technology and investment became available to these countries.  The difference is stark.  The EU, including the former Eastern European countries, saw its CO2 emissions rise just 4.2% from 1997 to 2004.  CO2  production in all of the new EU members was distinctly negative over that period (-6.4%).  Among the "core" EU members, only Denmark produced less CO2 in 2004 than in 1997.

Regardless of what one thinks about the danger of anthropogenic global warming, the Kyoto Protocol does not appear to have been a particularly effective way to meet emissions targets.

Donald Hertzmark is an independent energy consultant based in Washington, DC