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Welcome to a Kyoto-free-world: Best use was to show how bad a nanny-state-unfree-market is.
Posted By Joanne Nova On January 1, 2013 @ 5:43 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled
Goodbye to the Kyoto protocol.
How well did those ambitious plans work out? The government solution that aimed to reduce CO2 emissions by 5% achieved a 58% increase instead. Welcome to Case-Study #224 in Government failure.
“The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol’s first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 per cent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction its signatories sought.
From the beginning, the treaty that was adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, was problematic.
The big success story in reducing emissions has nothing to do with nanny-state hope-n-change regulation. The US reduced its emissions by 4% in a single year largely because they shifted from coal to gas.
“As a result of increasing use of gas to make electricity, the market share of coal has declined from 48% in 2008 to 43% in 2011 and likely 37% in 2012. Natural gas will capture approximately 30% of electric generation market share this year, sharply up from 12% in 1990 and 16% in 2000.”
The U.S. achieved approximately 70% of the CO2 emissions reductions targeted under Kyoto (as compared to the 1998 EIA CO2 forecast). [Forbes]
The reduction is even more impressive when one considers that 57 million additional energy consumers were added to the U.S. population over the past two decades. Indeed, U.S. carbon emissions have dropped about 20 percent per capita, and are now at their lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961.
Bjorn Lomborg explains why governments should not set up un-free markets, but they might achieve something by investing in energy innovation (as they did over the last 30 years with Fracking).
“It is tempting to believe that renewable energy sources are responsible for emissions reductions, but the numbers clearly say otherwise. Accounting for a reduction of 50 Mt of CO2 per year, America’s 30,000 wind turbines reduce emissions by just one-10th the amount that natural gas does. Biofuels reduce emissions by only 10 megatons, and solar panels by a paltry three megatons.
This flies in the face of conventional thinking, which continues to claim that mandating carbon reductions—through cap-and-trade or a carbon tax—is the only way to combat climate change.
But, based on Europe’s experience, such policies are precisely the wrong way to address global warming. Since 1990, the EU has heavily subsidized solar and wind energy at a cost of more than $20 billion annually. Yet its per capita CO2 emissions have fallen by less than half of the reduction achieved in the U.S.—even in percentage terms, the U.S. is now doing better.
Because of broad European skepticism about fracking, there is no gas miracle in the EU, while the abundance of heavily subsidized renewables has caused overachievement of the CO2 target. Along with the closure of German nuclear power stations, this has led, ironically, to a resurgence of coal.
Well-meaning U.S. politicians have likewise shown how not to tackle global warming with subsidies and tax breaks. The relatively small reduction in emissions achieved through wind power costs more than $3.3 billion annually, and far smaller reductions from ethanol (biofuels) and solar panels cost at least $8.5 and $3 billion annually.
Estimates suggest that using carbon taxes to achieve a further 330-megaton CO2 reduction in the EU would cost $250 billion per year. Meanwhile, the fracking bonanza in the U.S. not only delivers a much greater reduction for free, but also creates long-term social benefits through lower energy costs.”
The EU has spent something like 100 billion Euro on emissions reductions and they claim a reduction in EU emissions occurred thanks to that. But anyone can see in the graph that the trading scheme was not the cause. There have been two big falls in EU emissions between 1990 – 2012. One occurred long before the Kyoto agreement with the collapse of Communism in the early 1990′s. The second was in 2008 with the GFC. The US falls correlate with shale gas, not renewables, and not with economic collapse.
The Breakthrough Institute added up the numbers in Dec 2010, pointing out the “trick” the EU uses with the 1990 start year, and the devastating results of big-government action:
In Part One of this series, we documented how Germany and the UK rigged Kyoto to start in 1990 instead of 2005, when the treaty went into effect, so that it could count entirely unrelated reductions made in the early 1990s. The reality, however, is that emission reductions of the EU-15 stand 6.2 percentage points short of its 8 percent target, despite the fact that the European Environmental Agency counts highly questionable carbon offsets and Russian ‘hot air’ to claim something closer to the opposite.But if Europe did not reduce its emissions, then what happened to the €100 billion it spent on its much-touted Emissions Trading Scheme? The answer, we show in this second article, is fraud, rent-seeking, price volatility, abuse, and inefficiency. Worst of all, the ETS threatens to trap Europe into a high-carbon energy infrastructure for decades to come…
EU emissions did not decline, but actually rose by 1.9 percent during the first three years of the ETS, according to the Institute for Energy Research and figures from the European Commission. The UK economy, for example, actually recarbonized as renewable energy production fell.
A report by Sandbag, a UK-based climate campaign, concludes that by the end of Phase II of the Scheme in 2012, the ETS will have reduced emissions by a mere 0.3 percent. Worse still, even these minimal reductions will depend on highly questionable CDM credits. Domestically, Sandbag does not expect any abatement until at least 2017.
But the ETS did not just fail to reduce EU emissions — it actually created a perverse incentive to increase them.
The good news for the environment and the worlds poor is that only 15% of the world signed on to pretend to reduce emissions via Kyoto II.
The only achievement of Kyoto I was to remind us that Big-Government fails at nearly everything it sets out to do.
PS: John Hangers’ blog seems very rational on energy. Perhaps a few commenters could help him catch up on the latest in climate science. Little things, like letting him know that Mueller never was a skeptic. That the BEST project was set up by a director of a green government contractor, and uses dubious practices. That pronouncements about “global scorchers” are not backed by certainty or good scientific practice, and that climate models are proven failures. He seems like a numbers kind of guy.
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