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Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:13 pm    Post subject: Kyoto isn't working, prepare for climate change Reply with quote

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

At least they are finally admiting that Kyoto isn't worth the paper it is written on...

Quote:
The Kyoto agreement to cut greenhouse emissions is "ineffectual" and the world should prepare for the effects of climate change, the nation's biggest general science meeting will be told tonight.

Developing drought-tolerant crops, constructing flood defences, improving building insulation or banning building close to sea level are as important as cutting emissions, according to Frances Cairncross, the president of the British Association and chairman of the Economic and Social Research Council.

"We need more sheltered public spaces. It is going to be either sunnier or rainier," she says. Plants, insects and animals that need to migrate north away from hotter climates should be provided with species corridors, among many other measures.


I was reading about a plan to bury CO2 miles under the ocean floor. Never underestimate human ingenuity. Global warming may be a reality but it is no threat.

link
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kyoto I was always a starting point for an agreement that was supposed to more aggressively reduce emissions over time. The idea was to create increased "artificial" market pressures on emisisons within the developed world and then diffuse the associated abatement technologies in the developing world. No one claimed that Kyoto was the magic bullet in itself, they claimed that the process started by Kyoto should have been kept to despite the reservations of the US. The reason why Cairncross says the Kyoto protocol is ineffectual is because of the policy of the US government and the fact that future iterations of the Kyoto Protocol seem unlikely to be binding on China or India.

This is a much different argument than saying that Kyoto in itself was flawed in a way that opponents could be proud of. It would be comparable to telling a person they have terminal lung cancer, and having them reply, "You see, and you idiots told me to quit smoking. I'm going to die anyways!"
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
This is a much different argument than saying that Kyoto in itself was flawed in a way that opponents could be proud of. It would be comparable to telling a person they have terminal lung cancer, and having them reply, "You see, and you idiots told me to quit smoking. I'm going to die anyways!"


Not true. Kyoto was 99% political tool and 1% sincere concern. Anything can be labelled a "starting point". It was a poor choice for a starting point - one that was more centered around wealth re-distribution than CO2 reductions.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand your response. Wealth redistribution (in itself) had nothing to do with it*, it was also one of the first environmental agreements to depend heavily on market mechanisms. It may have been political in many ways, but you can say that about any policy and it is a meaningless criticism in itself. Policies are not generally developed by morons who missed the obvious.

*[Edit: To be more clear, Kyoto recognized that there was a real historical record of contribution to the existing stock of greenhouse gases. Most of this stock was created by countries that were already developed, such as the US and Europe. This lent extra weight to the argument that the countries with a high level of industrial development should be the ones who contributed to the initial round of emissions reductions and the associated research and development costs. Or, put upside down, it seemed unfair to impose significant medium-term reductions in emissions on developing countries, as there is an obvious and immediate human cost that might be unacceptable. Of course, through the Clean Development Mechanism form of joint implementation, developing countries can work with "Annex I" richer countries so that both sides benefit.]


Last edited by Donald Hughes on Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
I don't understand your response. Wealth redistribution (in itself) had nothing to do with it, it was also one of the first environmental agreements to depend heavily on market mechanisms.


It heavily burdened industrialized western countries while exempting the countries that will be responsible for the vast majority of new carbon emissions. It is a leftists dream. Make the evil western corporations pay while developing countries get a free ride.

Quote:
It may have been political in many ways, but you can say that about any policy and it is a meaningless criticism in itself. Policies are not generally developed by morons who missed the obvious.


True to an extent. It became a proxy for a host of bureacracies and questionable initiatives. It was the environmentalists dream. The Liberals committed $11 billion to it without any clear direction. It would have become another blackhole like the sponsorship scandal propping up largely useless programs (like the one-tonne challenge).
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It heavily burdened industrialized western countries while exempting the countries that will be responsible for the vast majority of new carbon emissions. It is a leftists dream. Make the evil western corporations pay while developing countries get a free ride.
I've clarified my post, but to be clear there are incentives for emissions reductions in developing countries through the clean development mechanism. Many countries have launched large projects in this direction. These programs allow a country like Italy to go to say a cement factory in China and help them reduce their GHG emissions in order to earn credits towards Kyoto. Because there is a lower marginal abatement cost associated with reductions in developing countries, they will go there.

I agree that it is overly bureaucratic and that the Liberals had no real intention of meeting the targets. I also personally believe that there are issues such as "everyday" air pollution and smog that should be addressed much more rapidly than long-term issues with stock pollutants like greenhouse gases. Likewise for basic human health like malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa and AIDS more generally. But if global warming is a problem then agreements like Kyoto are progressive steps.
cbasu





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am with Donald on this one. He seems to actually be aware of the facts, and appears willing to debate on them.

Kyoto was never intended to be the panacea, but a starting point for nations to start thinking and planning long term.

Climate change should not be a left wing - right wing debate, although it often unfortunately is.

Ditto - stem cell research. Too much hot air, not enough science.
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cbasu wrote:
He seems to actually be aware of the facts, and appears willing to debate on them.


The inference being that I am not?

Both Australia and the USA have made more progress with regards to CO2 emissions than Canada despite having higher economic growth rates. Kyoto might sound good on paper and a well versed student of the agreement might be able to sell you on it but the facts are that it isn't working and won't work. It WAS our starting point and it has been PROVEN to be a failure in practice. Why keep the fallicy alive any longer.

Raise gas taxes and cut income taxes proportionately.
Raise fuel economy standards on vehicles.

Both of the above policies which I devised in the last two minutes are a better "starting point" than Kyoto and would yield better results.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kyoto is simply a framework for change. It involves a framework for meeting various targets by 2012. Raising gas taxes and using that money for income tax reductions was one policy floated to meet these targets. Increasing fuel efficiency in vehicles is another possible strategy to meet Kyoto-related targets. Both of these policies have been fiercely resisted by most conservatives and affected industries in Canada and the US.
cbasu





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig:

Kyoto does not preclude signatories from adopting the two proposals that you make: raising gas taxes in a revenue neutral fashion (are you advising Michael Ignatieff because he has proposed something very similar with his carbon tax concept) and raising fuel efficiency (or even fuel mix) standards.

The fact that the Liberal government (or, to be fair, many European governments) failed to bring forward concrete implementation plans in a timely manner surely cannot be the fault of the framers and signatories of Kyoto.

It would be like blaming tax cuts for ballooning fiscal deficits when the real culprit is runaway government spending (you have a related post on this subject, I believe).
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cbasu:

It doesn't change the fact that Kyoto has been in place for 15 years and had absolutely no impact on CO2. How can anyone defend something so unworkable and unrealistic? You can't argue with reality and the reality is that the framework has failed. Countries that signed on did so for optics only. It saved them from having to implement real policies by creating the short-term impression that the current government cared about the environment without them actually having to commit to anything. It bought them time and our climate suffered because of it.

It is not unlike health care where the Liberals promised to fix it year after year and positioned themselves as the only party that could do it. But they didn't. Kyoto was their environmental trump card every election but it wasn't until the last election that they actually commited to it. But even then they did so in a vague ineffective way.

The ONLY way to combat something that doesn't impact the me generation is to tie it to issues people care about...

1. Terrorism and reliance on mid-east oil
2. Taxes

Stop having global meetings to pen untenable policy that would effectively require every democracy to entrench the agreement in their respective constitutions - not going to happen.

15 years of Kyoto = no progress

Not a starting point or a middle point or a finishing point. Kyoto is dead.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that people tend to obsess over issues like terrorism and taxes when basic health care and environmental policy are more important. The people who do this the most tend to vote conservatively, of course, because this tends to be the basic program of conservative parties.

Regardless, you seem to be saying that Kyoto was unworkable for rather cynical reasons. In fact, this cynicism is one of the reasons why Kyoto was proposed with such market mechanisms in place. It seemed too idealistic to wait for countries to introduce tax or rule based mechanisms because these are very unpopular with conservatives. At the very least, it was believed that overarching targets would make the debate for these rules more possible.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you look at it rationally, adaptation is the only option open to us. The climate has been constantly changing since the beginning of time. To think that we mere humans could stop this process, or control it in any significant way seems the height of hubris.
Craig
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
I agree that people tend to obsess over issues like terrorism and taxes when basic health care and environmental policy are more important. The people who do this the most tend to vote conservatively, of course, because this tends to be the basic program of conservative parties.


Denying me the right to use my own money to heal myself is FAR more unethical than any misconceived notion of queue jumping - but we can save that for another debate.

People on the left were saying the same thing in 1938 but fortunately conservatives were preoccupied with terrorism then too.

Quote:
Regardless, you seem to be saying that Kyoto was unworkable for rather cynical reasons.


Cynical reasons? Like reality. The two countries that have made the most progress with regards to CO2 in the west are two countries that didn't sign the agreement. We gave Kyoto a chance for 15 years and even with a Liberal government in power it failed miserably. I'm not arguing that it doesn't sound okay in theory. I'm arguing that it is a proven failure.

Quote:
It seemed too idealistic to wait for countries to introduce tax or rule based mechanisms because these are very unpopular with conservatives.


President Bush's home state of Texas is widely regarded as having an admirable record with regards to the environment. The left is full of hot air on this one. And something tells me that Harper's soon to be announced proposals will be worth far more than anything that came out of the Liberal camp.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The two countries that have made the most progress with regards to CO2 in the west are two countries that didn't sign the agreement.
Please provide evidence towards this end, that these countries met or exceeded their GHG emissions reduction targets compared to other Annex I countries that ratified.
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