The Week That Was
November 30, 2002

1. CANADA IS DEBATING THE KYOTO PROTOCOL. With the federal government set to ratify, come hell or high water, about the best the opponents can do is to advise delay. Kyoto is hugely expensive and virtually ineffective. And as several of us pointed out in a Nov. 13 press briefing in Ottawa, it isn't even supported by science.





2. Canada likely to ratify Kyoto. Alberta may have the last word
[News Item from The Canadian Press]

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has conceded that the national government in Ottawa will ratify the Kyoto Accord, but he is holding out hope that Canada's next prime minister will scuttle the climate-change agreement.

Canada's Parliament is expected to ratify by year-end the Kyoto Protocol and in doing so, undertake a commitment to the world community to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. But the government there will change by 2004, which could mean that the nation curtails its support.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien signed the treaty earlier this year and intends to enforce his country's compliance. But there is no legislation in place to achieve these goals, nor has the government spelled out its detailed plans. At the same time, Alberta's Premier Ralph Klein is an ardent opponent of the accord and says that he will fight to protect his affluent province that is dependent on fossil fuels thought to cause global warming, noting that Canada has until 2005 to rescind its decision.

Any backtracking by Canada could have far-reaching implications for the Protocol by causing other nations-more than 160 approved it already-to weaken their support. The agreement has forced policy makers worldwide to focus on the issue of global warming and to propose solutions both inside and outside Kyoto's framework.


3. CO2 emissions of the Annex 1 Parties for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol.

With China approving the Kyoto Protocol, there are now 90 nations that have so far ratified or approved the document. But only the Annex 1 nations are held to binding targets, and it is only their emissions for 1990 which count for the 55% requirement for the entire Protocol to become legally binding.

At present, without USA, Australia, Canada and the Russian Federation, the 1990 total CO2 emissions of the rest is 41.1%. The only way it could rise above 55% (thus putting Kyoto onto force) is by the inclusion of Russia, giving 58.5%. Whether or not Canada comes in with 3.3% is irrelevant. Also note that the figures for bunker fuels are not included.

The values for 1990 level emissions used to enable the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force (i.e. to reach the 55% of developed countries emissions) are those listed in the Protocol itself. I have copied this table below. Data is based on the information from the 34 Annex 1 Parties that submitted their first national communications on or before 11 December 1997, as compiled by the secretariat in several documents.

Total carbon dioxide emissions of Annex I Parties in 1990, for the purposes of Article 25 of the Kyoto Protocol

Australia 288,965 2.1
Austria 59,200 0.4
Belgium 113,405 0.8
Bulgaria 82,990 0.6
Canada 457,441 3.3
Czech Republic 169,514 1.2
Denmark 52,100 0.4
Estonia 37,797 0.3
Finland 53,900 0.4
France 366,536 2.7
Germany 1,012,443 7.4
Greece 82,100 0.6
Hungary 71,673 0.5
Iceland 2,172 0
Ireland 30,719 0.2
Italy 428,941 3.1
Japan 1,173,360 8.5
Latvia 22,976 0.2
Liechtenstein 208 0
Luxembourg 11,343 0.1
Monaco 71 0
Netherlands 167,600 1.2
New Zealand 25,530 0.2
Norway 35,533 0.3
Poland 414,930 3
Portugal 42,148 0.3
Romania 71,103 1.2
Russian Federation 2,388,720 17.4
Slovakia 58,278 0.4
Spain 260,654 1.9
Sweden 61,256 0.4
Switzerland 43,600 0.3
United Kingdom 584,078 4.3
United States of America 4,957,022 36.1

* One million Gigagram (Gg) is one Gigaton (Gt)
3.66 Gt of CO2 is 1.0 Gt of Carbon

19th November 2002


4. Developing Countries Part Ways With Environmentalists

Leaders of developing nations wanting to achieve real economic progress are no longer buying the advice of environmentalists to forsake the technologies that have improved the lives of people in industrialized countries.

At the recent United Nations Conference in New Delhi, India, environmentalists wanted developing countries to harangue the U.S. over its withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol. But Third World countries were having none of it.

Leaders of the developing world want to increase their use of fossil fuels and believe that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will cause them serious economic harm -- while doing little if anything to prevent global warming.

A recent National Center for Policy Analysis report compared the Environmental Sustainability Index with the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom. (The ESI is a product of the World Economic Forum, the Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network.)

o The ESI confirms that improving environmental quality in developing countries depends on economic growth -- which leads to higher incomes.

o Environmental quality degrades during the early stages of economic growth -- but improves after a certain income level is reached.

o When the Heritage/WSJ index is compared with the ESI, it becomes apparent that freer economies have better records in improving environmental quality -- providing further evidence that free markets and democracy are the best path to sustainability.

o Thus, by adopting market reforms -- rather than flawed treaties like Kyoto -- developing countries will not only be able to improve the lives of their citizens, but can implement programs that improve air and mater quality, increase the food supply, lessen the impact of and recover from whatever environmental calamities nature may throw at them.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett (National Center for Policy Analysis), "Kyoto Chills Hopes of Developing World," Washington Times, November 18, 2002.




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