What Happens when Global Warming, Economics and Politics Collide?
In the heady days last century when global warming was of gravest world concern, the Kyoto Protocol was passed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC). It went into effect on 12/11/1997.
Now, the rubber meets the road. London’s Financial Times reported yesterday that three worlds – economics, politics and global warming – have collided head on… and the clash of titans ain’t pretty!
The Kyoto Protocol
By November 2009, in a tsunami of idealism and imperative concern, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by 187 countries. The United States is the lone non-signing holdout.
Kyoto directs the so-called “Annex I” industrialized countries to take these actions:
- Cut their own greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels
- Contribute (with Annex II) to a fund assisting undeveloped nations to fight global warming
It was ratified by enough Annex I countries to give it the authority of international law. The European Union is considered Annex I and it also ratified Kyoto.
Always concerned for the little guy, the U.N. excluded poorer emerging nations, called “non-Annex I” countries, from any restrictions on their greenhouse emissions. Noticeably present on the unrestricted list are China (#1 world polluter), India (#3), Iran (#8) and South Korea (#10). Also present on that list are the #11, #12, #13, #14 and #15 largest polluters in the world. #14 is Saudi Arabia.
BTW, the political brainiacs at Kyoto are also the numskulls who concocted the carbon credit trading scheme that allows buying/selling/trading of carbon credits so offenders can keep on polluting. They just pass the cost penalties on to affected business customers and taxpayers. In theory the money is used to develop clean, eco-friendly technologies. Yeah, right!
Anyone still wonder why the United States never signed it, yet? If so, keep reading.
Global Warming Headbutts into China and Airplanes
The Financial Times reports that Airbus and six big European Airlines have banded together to try and delay plans by the European Union to force international air carriers to pay a carbon penalty for international flights.
They are OK with domestic carbon restrictions. They want the international restrictions put on hold.
The airlines sent letters to the heads of state of England, Germany, France and Spain. Those guys all ratified Kyoto.
They claim that implementing the restrictions on time will jeopardize billions of dollars in aircraft sales and cost 2,000 jobs. They called it an “intolerable” threat to the European aviation industry, saying it will trigger trade wars with China, the U.S. and Russia.
Airbus says that China is holding up $12 billion dollars in A330 long-haul jet orders because they don’t want to pay a pollution penalty.
Yup, that’s right! China! The same China that is the world’s #1 polluter, world’s #2 economy and that is already exempted from any pollution restrictions whatsoever. Now its refusing to pay a pollution penalty for flying into European airspace.
Several important events have happened since Kyoto was signed:
- Mandatory greenhouse gas restrictions have been delayed
- Canada became the first country to officially drop out of the protocol
- The planet stopped warming
First round mandatory C02 and other greenhouse gas reductions were originally to go into full effect this year. That has been delayed 5 more years.
Canada denounced Kyoto in December 2011 and became the first, and probably not the last, to drop out of the protocol. Canada cites economic hardship and fairness reasons.
The EU will probably cave on implementing carbon penalties on international flights. Money talks and Europe is already in a world of hurt financially. The U.N. has set a precedent by delaying Kyoto restrictions by 5 years already.
There are so many big polluting countries exempted from emission restrictions for political and economic reasons that its doubtful that whatever the Annex I countries do, it won’t be enough to make a diddly squat’s difference anyway.
When it comes to money and politics, global warming will lose out every time.
Image Source : GLOBAL WARMING