New Zealand aggressively supported the Kyoto Protocol. Now the bill is due:
Taxpayers will be at least $1 billion worse off under revised Government estimates of the costs of the Kyoto treaty to combat global warming.
National’s environment spokesman, Nick Smith, says the party, if elected, will consider pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the cost to New Zealand’s international reputation, given the “hammering” the economy will take under the latest numbers.
New Zealand had earlier anticipated a $500 million windfall by coming in below its pollution target. Instead, emissions have increased. Same thing is happening across much of Europe:
Here are some IEA estimates of the increases: France, 6.9 percent; Italy, 8.3 percent; Greece, 28.2 percent; Ireland, 40.3 percent; the Netherlands, 13.2 percent; Portugal, 59 percent; Spain, 46.9 percent. It’s true that Germany (down 13.3 percent) and Britain (a 5.5 percent decline) have made big reductions. But their cuts had nothing to do with Kyoto. After reunification in 1990, Germany closed many inefficient coal-fired plants in eastern Germany; that was a huge one-time saving. In Britain, the government had earlier decided to shift electric utilities from coal (high CO2 emissions) to plentiful natural gas (lower CO2 emissions).
On their present courses, many European countries will miss their Kyoto targets for 2008-2012. To reduce emissions significantly, Europeans would have to suppress driving and electricity use; that would depress economic growth and fan popular discontent. It won’t happen.
(Via Toby and Jack Strocchi)
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