Monday, November 21, 2005


In a very roundabout British way, of course

Britain is to open the door for other nations to abandon setting compulsory targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions: the principle at the heart of the Kyoto agreement to tackle climate change. Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, has told The Observer she is prepared to accept voluntary targets - a move hinted at this autumn by Tony Blair.

The news caused consternation among green campaigners last night. 'Voluntary targets are not worth the paper they are written on,' said Stephen Tindale, head of Greenpeace UK. 'Without mandatory targets [the Kyoto Protocol] is effectively dead.'

Beckett was speaking ahead of next week's climate change summit in Montreal where she will act as the UK and European Union negotiator in discussions on what is to follow the Kyoto agreement when it runs out in 2012. She said it would be impossible to achieve consensus on compulsory targets. She likened developed countries which insist that such targets be agreed by poorer developing nations to new imperialists. 'Such an approach would be utterly destructive to any kind of agreement,' she said. 'People would never engage in dialogue if they thought the outcome was preconceived and ... could hamper their development.'

Instead of compulsory national targets, future agreements could set targets for 'sectors' - potentially transport, domestic energy use or industry, or even individual commercial sectors. Another idea is voluntary targets. Beckett said: 'Targets will always have a very important role to play and will be part of a framework, but not everybody has to be in exactly the same position.' Pressed to explain, she added: 'I'm reluctant to go any further into it. There are people who might be outraged that anybody would consider a voluntary approach.'

But the Environment Secretary also dismissed the argument of the Prime Minister and the US that countries would not reduce emissions because this would damage economic growth. 'Actually, there's quite a lot of evidence to suggest you can do things to tackle climate change without damaging your economy,' she said. 'If you look at some major global companies that have started to take steps to tackle their own emissions, far from being economically damaging it's actually economically beneficial.'

Some commentators suggested yesterday that Beckett, who is admired for her firm stand on green issues, was raising the prospect of voluntary targets as a negotiating ploy to win support from the US and other countries reluctant to agree tough emissions reductions.

More here

Global Warming, Global Governance

The European Parliament this week adopted a resolution on a report authored by one of its MEPs. Entitled, "Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change," it offers a new example of the institutionalized scare-mongering so characteristic of the current climate debate.

"Climate change is different from any other environmental problem we face. The main reason is that the climate system is non-linear in character, with positive feed-backs. Once we pass a certain level of green-house gas concentration (GHG) in the atmosphere, the whole system is likely to undergo drastic change. Globally intolerable impacts with disastrous consequences may occur, like annual material damages due to extreme weather events in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, tens of millions of people being displaced, severe heat waves, large-scale change of crop and species distribution etc.

"Developing countries are likely to be the hardest hit. The poor are much more vulnerable to phenomena like floods, storms and droughts. In some regions a drier climate will lead to food production losses. Adding to that, large regions in the South will be seriously affected by rising sea levels. In spite of its different character, climate change is still mostly seen as an environmental problem and mainly the responsibility of the environment ministers. This has to change.

"Climate change has serious implications, not only for ecosystems, but for the economy as a whole, for public health, water and food security, migration etc."

This mindset is a fertile breeding ground for a quantum leap in international governance, shifting sovereignty from the national level to that of international organizations. In a way, they might promote a phoenix-like rebirth of earlier attempts, in the 1970s and 1980s, to establish an International Economic Order (NIEO), aimed at the "management of interdependence". These proposals encompassed a series of measures and reforms in the areas of raw materials, including oil, international trade, development aid, the international monetary system, science and technology, industrial development and the global food supply. They were the topic of a string of international negotiations, which took place in the second half of the 1970s in countless conferences organized by the UN, UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization).

It takes little imagination to see that all this would have resulted in a degree of government intervention - at both national and international level - which has never been equaled in the history of mankind. The whole project was characterized by a high level of international dirigisme. In other words, top-down control of the international economy by governments on the basis of international political decisions and implementation by international and national bureaucracies. Thus, what it all came down to was more government and less market. Ironically enough, the plan appeared at a time when serious defects were becoming visible in central economic control at national level, in particular in the Soviet Union and its satellite states with their command economies. In addition, the rise of the new economic liberalism at the beginning of the 1980s led to a trend reversal: more market and less government. As a result, all these proposals died a quiet death.

Nevertheless, supporters of a new world order remain convinced that they had solutions to many of the world's problems. But, in the absence of international political agreement, they were solutions in search of a suitable problem. Like a fire brigade that has spent years on tenterhooks in the station before finally being called out to extinguish a major fire, the advent of man-made global warming offered the adherents of world government a fresh chance.

But will their efforts this time be crowned with success? It does not seem likely. It has become clear that Kyoto's costs are excessively high and its benefits, in terms of net climate cooling, infinitesimal. Cost estimates for the first round of Kyoto, from now till 2012, are of the order of €500-billion to €1 trillion. The proponents of Kyoto have calculated (but never published) that this will result in a net cooling of less than 0.02 (two hundredths!) degrees Celsius in 2050. This is undetectable even with the most accurate thermometers of today. Moreover, the yearly fluctuations of temperatures are a multiple of this figure.

Many countries, including the US, Australia, China, India and Brazil, are unwilling to join the Kyoto approach of binding caps on carbon dioxide emissions in conjunction with tradable emission rights. Italy, which joined the first round of the treaty, has already announced it will drop out when this round ends in 2012. If this happens, Russia, which Europe bribed into Kyoto in exchange for European support of its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), will have a perfect alibi to back out as well.

At the July G8 Summit at Gleneagles, the world leaders failed to agree on a follow-up round, although many months earlier, summit host Tony Blair had billed this as a major issue. But after the summit Blair has hinted that Britain may pull out of attempts to draw up a successor to the Kyoto climate treaty because the economic price of cutting greenhouse gas emissions is too high. Rather than rely on global agreements to reverse rising greenhouse gas emissions, Blair appeared to place faith in science, technology and the free market - as President George W. Bush had in repudiating the Kyoto treaty in 2001.

Of course, Blair's admission has outraged environmentalists on both sides of the Atlantic, who lamented that it flied in the face of his promises made in the past two years. Moreover, they feared that it will effectively block the upcoming Ottawa talks on a new treaty to combat climate change. As Jonathan Brown, observed in The Independent, "Tony Blair came under concerted attack from leading environmental groups yesterday as he was accused of appearing 'indistinguishable' from George Bush on green issues. Green campaigners feel betrayed after Mr Blair made the environment a centrepiece of Britain's presidencies of the G8 and EU, both of which expire at the end of the year. They say the Prime Minister has actually undermined hard-fought gains, particularly on the Kyoto protocol, by questioning the need for binding targets on reducing emissions and by suggesting they might be incompatible with economic success."

All this does not augur well for the for the next Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is due to take place from 28 November to 9 December 2005, in Montreal, where some 8,000 - 10,000 participants are expected. With the modesty which is so characteristic of the true believers, the organizers have already declared the conference to be a historic event. But it is more likely it will herald the demise of Kyoto.

Would it not be better to forget about the whole thing after all? Many would argue that this is totally inconceivable since so much political capital has been invested in the undertaking and since the population wants the governments to do "something" about the "'threat" of global warming. I suspect not. The aborted NIEO showed many similarities with Kyoto. It was an equally grandiose worldwide scheme which aimed at a considerable degree of global economic management or control, backed by enormous funds and a huge bureaucracy. It ultimately fell apart because it was ill-conceived and because it became abundantly clear that it did not serve the interests of the parties which were engaged in the process. The same might happen to Kyoto.

It could be argued that because of the flaws in its scientific underpinnings, its complexity and inconsistencies Kyoto will collapse under its own sheer weight. But in the mean time it may cause a lot of harm. It acts as a sword of Damocles, depressing the investment climate, especially in Europe. Therefore it is high time for Kyoto to be buried and to cover it with a tombstone carrying the epitaph: "Here lies a serious case of collective folly -- an exercise in modern day rain dancing ... and equally effective. RIP."



Post lifted from the Adam Smith blog

It seems that the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally accepted the quick, simple, cheap and safe solution to fighting malaria: DDT. But Africans still face a battle with environmentalists and trade blocs who oppose this demonized pesticide.

The WHO's Roll Back Malaria (RMB) started in 1998: millions of dollars later, a WHO report admits "malaria has got somewhat worse during this period." The real tragedy is that malaria would have got somewhat better if the WHO had adopted a sensible strategy from the start. Spraying the inside walls of residential buildings with DDT and other insecticides should be central to this. It prevents most mosquitoes from entering dwellings and it repels or kills those insects that do make it inside.

Over the last few decades, however, the WHO and various NGOs have deliberately discouraged the use of DDT, egged on by western environmentalists who claim it is dangerous. However, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and SA have experienced tremendous success by using DDT. DDT is what eradicated malaria in the southern US and Mediterranean Europe in the mid-20th century. There has never been any evidence of harm to humans or animals: one of its proponents, J Gordon Edwards, used to eat spoonfuls of it at lectures and he died this year whilst hiking, at 85.

This week the WHO said it would make DDT part of its malaria campaign. But Africa faces still faces numerous hidden barriers, such as NGOs and western governments refusing to fund supplies of DDT or threatening to ban exports from areas where it is used. The European Union threatened Uganda this year with bans on agricultural exports if it started using DDT against malaria, even though such very limited use was allowed by a little-publicized WHO rule and by the 2004 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

These types of barriers will continue to be used against African produce in Europe and the US by governments and environmentalists unless the WHO publicly and noisily takes the side of malaria victims. Africans must demand that RBM's plans include DDT, plus a campaign to counter the opposition of western governments, NGOs, and environmentalist pressure groups. Millions of African lives depend on it.

Australian greenhouse emissions up

Goodie! A sign of our rapid economic growth on all fronts. And a bit of extra carbon dioxide will be good for our crops. To them carbon dioxide is food.

Australian greenhouse gas emissions have increased 23 per cent over the last 13 years, prompting environmental campaigners to call for urgent action. A report prepared by the Bonn-based United Nations Climate Change secretariat and released this week ahead of the international climate conference in Montreal later this month warned that the western world was losing its grip on the climate change problem. The report, covering the period between 1990 and 2003, found Australia's greenhouse gas emissions had risen 23.3 per cent on 1990 levels.

The Australian Government's target is to limit emissions increases to 108 per cent of 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the Australian emissions figure was misleading because it failed to take into account changes in land use. "The fact remains that Australia through the Government's $1.8 billion package of measures to address climate change is one of a handful of countries in the world on track to meet its Kyoto targets through domestic action alone," she said. Australia has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol....

The UN report reveals Australia is far from the worst offender with a number of nations which have ratified the Kyoto protocol recording greater increases in greenhouse emissions. Spain topped the list with a 41.7 per cent increase, followed by Monaco (37.8), Portugal (36.7) and Greece (25.9). The United States, which also has not ratified Kyoto, reported increased emissions of 13.3 per cent, while New Zealand, a Kyoto signatory, performed only slightly better than Australia with a 22.5 per cent increase. [Note that the huge manufacturing industries of China are not mentioned. They are "exempt". So we would be "saving the planet" by transferring all our industries to China, apparently!]

UN researchers found that overall in the industrialised world, greenhouse gas emissions were down 5.9 per cent in 2003 compared to the 1990 levels. The major reductions were achieved in central and eastern Europe in the early 1990s when polluting communist era industries were shut down as countries restructured their economies. The best performer was Lithuania which recorded a decrease of 66.2 per cent.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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