Tuesday, August 02, 2005

May Kyoto RIP

Lost in the London euphoria over the Olympic Committee decision and the horror of the terror attacks was the release of a blockbuster report on the Economics of Climate Change. If the names Goodhart, Kingsdown, Sheppard of Didgemere and Vallance of Tummel mean nothing to you, it is because the members of the British House of Lords, Economics Affairs Committee, operate well below the popular radar. Yet their report released on July 6, 2005 could be the death knell for the Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change.

The report is an attack on the Kyoto accord through its weakest point, the underlying science. The committee savages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body on whose research Kyoto is built. The language, as befits their lordships, is suitably restrained. (Neil Collins, Daily Telegraph, 8/1/05).

From the Lords' report: "We have some concerns about the objectivity of the IPCC process with some of its emissions scenarios and summary documentation apparently influenced by political considerations. There are significant doubts about some aspects of the IPCC's emissions scenario exercise. . . the Government should press the IPCC to change their approach. There are some positive aspects to global warming and these appear to have been played down in the IPCC reports . . ." It's the nearest the Lords ever comes to blowing a raspberry.

At the recent G8 meeting in Gleneagles, the Americans argued that both the science and economics of climate change were highly uncertain and that the solution to global warming lay with technology rather than rationing. The logic of this position convinced the other G8 leaders and, consequently, the Kyoto accord is looking very ill.

Last week the US and Asian allies launched the snappily named Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Endorsed by Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan, the plan is to try to find practical solutions based on technology.

Their lordships report concluded: "The Kyoto protocol makes little difference to rates of warming, and has a naive compliance mechanism which can only deter other countries from signing up to subsequent tighter emissions targets. We urge the Government to take a lead in exploring alternative 'architectures' for future protocols, based perhaps on agreements on technology and its diffusion."

Hard though it may be for radical environmentalists and left-leaning politicians to accept, there's an awfully good possibility that President Bush is right. The Kyoto accord looks like yesterday's approach to yesterday's conception of tomorrow's problem.... RIP.


Blogger Ralph said...

Good News.

7:19 AM  

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