Kyoto – A Perspective (Part2)

Posted on Mon 03/24/2008 by



By TonyfromOz

The most emotive thing from my last submission was that map.
Green. Cool. Peace of mind. Good.
Red. Hot. Worrying concern. Bad.

For you Americans, the green part of the whole argument has become associated with Al Gore, and by extrapolation that would mean the red is in effect associated with the other side of politics.

See the wedge now. It’s been turned into a political thing, so when people look at Kyoto, the environmental part (the whole intent) becomes secondary to the political point, and people line up behind one political side or the other, without one shred of concern for the actual intent of the protocol.

So, let’s look at that then.
You know how something that is in effect unbelievably complex just won’t get anywhere because people don’t understand it, so it’s broken down to the lowest common denominator for a very short sound bite that people will find a little easier to understand than the actuality.

Keep in mind what they took for granted. Global warming is a worrying thing, and that greenhouse gases are the root cause, and that Carbon Dioxide is the biggest of those gas emissions, hence the basis is that the bad guy is Carbon, because the Dioxide part is just regular Oxygen that we all breathe, so there’s no harm in that. So, it’s been broken down to one word.

So this is the Kyoto intent, simplified.
Get Greenhouse gas emissions back to 5% less than they were in 1990.
One short sentence that sounds pretty innocuous. It’s made to sound almost do-able.
What could possibly be the problem in that?

175 Countries have ratified the Protocol, and again, only the US (and tiny little Kazakhstan) have not ratified the protocol. Another accusing finger that those in favour of Kyoto can point at the US. Look. 175 in favour, and only you against. Tut tut! Shame on you.

So, then it gets a little puzzling. Other than the political spin side of it, why won’t the US sign. I mean. It has overwhelming support.

Of those 175 Countries that have ratified Kyoto, 137 of them are considered as countries with developing economies, and are therefore not bound by the protocol other than to report and monitor their levels of greenhouse gas production. Well, now we can see why they signed. It means nothing to them. They just go along as they always have. That’s 80% of those signatories.

So the next thing to add to the shame file is the clever ploy of compiling a list of the highest emitters on the Planet, and yes, you guessed right. The US tops that list. Another finger of accusation pointing at you Americans.

Right about now, I guess you can see how clever marketing through guilt is making the vast bulk of you feel so bad that you’ll probably believe the political spin, if it comes from the right person.

That list of emitters has China in second place and India also in the top five of the World’s largest emitters. The point here is this.

Both China and India are in that huge list of developing economies, and are not subject to the Protocol other than to report and monitor emissions. It’s predicted that within 5 years for China and within around the same for India, they will surpass the US on emissions levels, and in all probability sooner than that.

So of those 175 countries who have ratified, 137 do nothing, and the others strive to get their levels back to 95% of 1990 levels.

Let’s even look at some of those emission levels with respect to now, and with respect back to 1990, and I’ll selectively pick out only a couple of Countries, and those people who don’t agree with this point of view will quite obviously say that I’m selectively picking the eyes out of the larger numbers to support my argument, but if those of you who do disagree can selectively quote things in favour of your argument, then surely it’s only fair that I be allowed that same premise, and in all seriousness, when you look at it, nearly every Country on the Protocol has shown an increase since those 1990 levels.

The protocol says 5% lower than 1990 levels, and all those countries signed along the dotted line.

Europe as a whole is highly industrialised, and for the purposes of the protocol was divided to single Countries that go to make up the EU. It’s highly industrialised, just like the US, but a couple of Countries within Europe really stand out, and these are only meant as an example, because it would not really be right to point an accusing finger at them now, would it?

Take Spain. They agreed to get the emitting level back to 5% lower than 1990 levels. In actual fact their levels of emissions have risen by 50%. The situation is so hopeless, they will never get back to the original level, let alone the 1990 levels. Portugal has shown around a 45% increase. Most other Countries in Europe are also up around the 20% increase mark, as indeed is the US.

However the two huge developing economies not subject to the Protocol are China who have a 47% increase and that is steadily rising , not falling, and India whose increase is 55% and also rising.

So that figure of 5% below 1990 figures now seems arbitrary and unreachable in most cases.

It might be true that some of those developing countries, the much smaller ones may not produce much in the way of greenhouse gases, and later, I’ll mention why, but those larger emitters, China and India, are pretty huge indeed, almost on the same level as the US, yet they are not subject to Kyoto other than reporting and monitoring, so their percentage can only go the one way, and when you think about it, will not be easy to claw back at the rate of development now underway there in those two hugely populated Countries, let alone to get the emission rates back to the 1990 levels.

The UN then said that it’s only fair that those World super economies help their smaller minnows to not go the way of producing greenhouse gases, and to help them move up to a semblance of parity with them, and in so doing provide the means for them to become greener. After all, that’s really only the fair thing to, the just thing to do. For the strong to help out the weak. To that end, those175 member UN countries that have signed and then ratified the Kyoto Protocol decided that only one super duper economy could afford that, and therefore that Country should provide the technology, the expertise, the technical knowhow, the management, the equipment, the raw materials, the finished product, the construction, and oh!, more importantly, the money for all those countries to become that little bit greener.
(Is the penny starting to drop now?)

So, in the Protocol, all those countries decided that the US should provide the hundreds of billions of dollars, and maybe more to assist those developing economies to become greener.
That’s hundreds of billions and probably more.
I mean, after all, only you guys can afford that.

Now, some of you might be beginning to see just why the US has not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol. It’s not really just a political thing. It’s not even an environmental thing.
It’s just about the money.

But wait. That’s not all there is to it. There’s more, and isn’t there always?
(To be continued in Part 3)


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