Monday, December 3, 2007

Kyoto's failure haunts new U.N. talks. And tips on Gaming a Cap-and-Trade System

I've written about methods (so-called early action, permit handouts etc.) to game a cap-and-trade system, this is article points out the importance of start date and base year.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In the Kyoto Protocol's accounting of greenhouse gases, the former Eastern bloc is a smashing success.
Russia: Down 29% in carbon dioxide emissions since 1990.
Romania: A 43% reduction.
Latvia: A resounding 60% drop.

Reductions such as those across Eastern Europe were the main reason the United Nations was recently able to report a 12% drop in emissions from the accord's industrialized countries over the 1990-2005 period.

It was an illusion.

The progress wasn't due to a global embrace of green power, but rather to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which shut down smoke-belching factories across the region.

"Their emissions dropped before Kyoto even existed," said Michael Gillenwater, a climate policy researcher at Princeton University.

Despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol's status as the flagship of the fight against climate change, it has been a failure in the hard, expensive work of actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Its restrictions have been so gerrymandered that only 36 countries are required to limit their pollution. Just over a third of those -- members of the former Eastern bloc -- can pollute at will because their limits were set so far above their actual emissions.

China and India, whose fast-rising emissions easily cancel out any cuts elsewhere, are allowed to keep polluting.

And the biggest polluter of all, the United States, has simply refused to join the treaty.

That leaves Western Europe, Canada, Japan and New Zealand to do the work of the world. Their emissions are rising despite their commitment, starting next year, to reduce them by an average of roughly 8% from 1990 levels....MORE