Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I've done it. I've figured out how to fix Kyoto. Okay, maybe not fix it but make it a hell of a lot better. I might not be alone here but I'm not hearing it in mainstream discussion. Here's the deal. As I've said before, Kyoto does penalize growth. If you, as a country, had economic success since 1990 Kyoto becomes very difficult to implement. Kyoto as it is encourages resource based and manufacturing industry out of the Kyoto bound countries and into the global south and gives carbon surpluses to weak economies. This is one of the reasons the United States will never ratify Kyoto. Therefore, this is what you do: you tie emissions to GDP growth relative to other developed countries. Instead of taking CO2 emissions straight you create the following formula.

Target= 1990 CO2 emissions x (Reduction Factor/(2012 Percentage of Kyoto bound GDP/1990 Percentage of Kyoto Bound GDP)

Here are the changes in the G8 as of 2003 (the last year I can find emission stats for):

Old Target New Target 2003 Level
(all in Millions of tons of Carbon)

Canada 106,678.72 108,094.60 154,392
Russia 541,492.00 230,980.70 407,593
United States 1,222,776.09 1,306,077.58 1,580,175
Germany 223,752.28 200,558.74 219,776
France 91,005.48 86,568.62 102,065
Italy 97,831.88 86,098.80 121,608
United Kingdom 142,945.00 153,170.64 152,460
Japan 274,679.28 237,830.32 336,142

A few things jump out from these numbers:
  1. Russia's environmental record is exposed: The Russian economy collapsed between 1990 and 2003. It's percentage of the world economy has been nearly halved. It should not be producing the same kind of emissions.
  2. Countries with strong economies (CAN, UK, US) get a bit of a break. It doesn't mean they get off the hook as both Canada and the US are still above their targets.
  3. The Europeans are shown to be not as green as they may like. Now it is possible that if these were the existing targets Germany would be closer to meeting their requirements but it seems doubtful.
There is still one major problem with this formula. It relates to the Tory argument that the Bush administration has done a better job on the environment than the Liberals. This sort of statistic ignores where the GDP growth occurs. Obviously, the strong US service and tech sectors are not as polluting as the oil and other resource industries in Canada. So yes, by getting out of manufacturing cars and into telemarketing the US has become a greener country.

It is important to note that this formula would actually reduce emissions further than the one currently in place by about 12%. It makes more sense for industry and for the environment.

I appreciate any input on this proposal. If anyone could find a more recent link for CO2 emissions I'd also be grateful.

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