Monday, June 04, 2007


EUROPE was yesterday struggling to decide whether George Bush, the US president, had experienced a road-to-Damascus conversion over the fight against climate change or was still dragging his heels. For some leaders, the announcement on Thursday that Mr Bush was seeking a meeting of the 15 leading greenhouse gas emitting countries was "groundbreaking", heralding a new approach by the United States to the whole issue. But others complained it was simply a restatement of the "classic US line" with no firm targets to cut emissions and prevent global warming.

Mr Bush became a hate-figure for environmentalists when he decided against implementing the Kyoto treaty [Rubbish! The U.S. Senate made that decision] on climate change in 2001, saying it would cost US jobs and wrongly excluded developing nations. In his speech on Thursday, the US president said he wanted the group of leading polluters, including the US, China, India and major European countries, to come up with a global target for carbon emissions but decide themselves how to reach that target.

On a visit to Finland, the EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said the new statement was a major step in the right direction, representing "a completely new approach" for Mr Bush. "For me, it's very welcome and groundbreaking news," he said. He added that it was particularly important for the Group of Eight countries meeting next week.

However the Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, had a very different take to his energy counterpart on the significance of Mr Bush's comments. "The declaration by President Bush basically restates the US classic line on climate change - no mandatory reductions, no carbon trading and vaguely expressed objectives," he said. "The US approach has proven to be ineffective in reducing emissions."

The German environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said Mr Bush's announcement could be seen as progress only if it prepared the way for a United Nations pact to extend the Kyoto Protocol past 2012. "If it is an attempt to hamper such an international climate change agreement, then it is dangerous," he said. "The European Union and also the G8 should not be content with initiating a process that just means we'll have some vague agreements between ten or 15 countries in the world."

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, wants the G8 to agree now on a need for world cuts of about 50 per cent in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. Her spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, said it was too early to predict the outcome of the G8. "I think we can say at this stage that it's going to be tough," he said.



A Guardian investigation has found evidence of serious irregularities at the heart of the process the world is relying on to control global warming. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is supposed to offset greenhouse gases emitted in the developed world by selling carbon credits from elsewhere, has been contaminated by gross incompetence, rule-breaking and possible fraud by companies in the developing world, according to UN paperwork, an unpublished expert report and alarming feedback from projects on the ground.

One senior figure suggested there may be faults with up to 20% of the carbon credits - known as certified emissions reductions - already sold. Since these are used by European governments and corporations to justify increases in emissions, the effect is that in some cases malpractice at the CDM has added to the net amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere...


Truth about Kyoto: huge profits, little carbon saved

More on the Guardian's road to Damascus -- revealing below major flaws in the global system designed to reduce emissions

[...] The carbon market's leading analysts, Point Carbon, recently calculated that this scheme handed out 170m too many EUAs. In the early days, nobody realised quite how badly the commission had miscalculated, and so the price of the EUAs was quite high, at up to EUR30 a tonne. But individual companies, particularly energy companies, rapidly saw they had millions of tonnes of EUAs that they didn't need, and so they sold their surplus, making huge profits. A 2005 report by IPA Energy Consulting found that the six UK electricity generators stood to earn some 800m pounds in each of the three years of the scheme.

A separate report by Open Europe, in July 2006, found that UK oil companies were also poised to make a lot of free money: 10.2m for Esso; 17.9m for BP; and 20.7m for Shell. And behind this profiteering, the environmental reality was that these major producers of carbon emissions were under no pressure from the scheme to cut emissions. At the other end of this EU market, smaller organisations like UK hospitals and 18 universities, who had been given far fewer EUAs, were forced to go out and buy them - while the price was still high. So, for example, the University of Manchester spent 92,500 pounds on EUAs. Now that the truth about the glut has been revealed, the university would be doing well if it managed to get 1,000 pounds for the lot of them.



Russia this week gave a surprise green light to carbon trading under the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but needs to start approving actual projects to unlock a multi-billion dollar market. Russia is the single largest supplier of oil and gas to the European Union and also the world's third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the United States and China. As a big player in both energy and climate change, it is well-placed to cash in on the sale of emissions cuts, or carbon credits, to other industrialised countries, but has long delayed implementing the necessary rules.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov signed a government decree on Monday defining guidelines. "If there were 50 steps, we're at step 49," said Arthur Houston, a Russia manager at London-listed carbon project developer Camco. "Now we need to know the final text of the decree, on how to apply. We're expecting that to be posted on the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade website over the next week."

The government would post the final draft on Friday, said a westerner working in Russia's embyronic carbon trading industry, who declined to be named. "This is the big one, it's what everyone's been waiting for for over a year and a half," said Abyd Karmali, a climate change consultant at ICF International.

Kyoto allows rich countries to meet caps on greenhouse gas emissions by investing in emissions-cutting projects in other countries, part of a $30 billion global carbon market. That market is meant to target cheapest emissions cuts and so cut the cost of fighting climate change. Russia could be a cheap source of credits for example by simply plugging holes in its vast network of gas pipelines, which currently leaks a potent greenhouse gas, methane.

Russia could sell up to 500 million tonnes of emissions cuts in carbon dioxide equivalent by 2012, estimated Karmali, which would value the market at $5 billion, assuming current prices. Carbon project developer the Russian Carbon Fund put the market size at up to 350 million tonnes, and underlined the need for further details and operation in practice. "This is an important step, it's something the market's been waiting for for some time, but one should not be fooled that it takes care of everything," said Morten Prehn Sorensen, chief climate change officer at RCF. "Details needs to be fleshed out, like where applications should be submitted. Markets will want to see it in operation and issued approvals."

Russia also needs U.N. approval to trade carbon, expected by early next year, and has already ordered from French firm Seringas the necessary registry software to log transactions, Sorensen said. But the carbon market needed to know when that registry would be up and running, said Shell's Garth Edward. "The government decision is the first step, now they need to operationalise that. The time frame for turning around applications is unclear," Edward added.

Under the Kyoto Protocol industrialised countries can either buy carbon credits from developing countries, under the pact's Clean Development Mechanism, or else from each other under Joint Implementation, as in the case of Russia.



EU efforts to speed action on climate change took a blow on Tuesday when Japan refused to follow the EU line on how to establish a new international regime once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. A statement from EU president Germany, which chaired a gathering of EU and Asian foreign ministers in Hamburg ahead of next week's meeting of Group of Eight (G8) leaders, said talks to establish a new regime should be completed by 2009.

But Japan said it could not accept a 2009 target, saying big polluters such as the United States, China and India should be included before any such target was set. "Japan cannot agree with this because we should think about how we can invite non-Kyoto members such as the U.S., China and India and others," Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mitsui Sakaba told reporters. "We should work first for the inclusion of those countries. Fixing the target should come much later."

Germany is leading a drive to persuade the United States to follow Europe's lead on climate change before a June 6-8 summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations. Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the G8 to agree concrete steps that would prepare the ground for an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which commits signatories to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. "We need the Asians as well," said a spokeswoman for EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. "Global warming is something that is global and we need all continents participating in the post-Kyoto plan."



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 generally 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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