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Kyoto is Kaput!

Cover for Cool Profit$ Magazine, Issue #61, December 2005 - Click for larger image

…but there is an alternative plan to combat Global Warming: AP-6
By John R. Hess
Appeared December 2005 Cool Profit$ Magazine (#61).
© 2006 All Rights Reserved
Trust me, when Great Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair says Kyoto is a goner, it's dead! Well, Mr. Blair didn't actually state that it's dead, over, done, etc. But at last September’s “Clinton Global Initiative” in Manhattan, thrown by former president Bill Clinton, he did say this about the Protocol: “my thinking has changed in the past three or four years.” Okay, while that’s not much, it did serve as the setup for this Bowie knife stab: “No country is going to cut its growth.” Yes! And then, like stepping on the victim's windpipe, Blair delivered the coup de grâce with regard to non-signing China and India: “They’re not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto.” The ox was gored!

Alright, so Blair’s dismissal of Kyoto is a little vague. But you can’t really expect a head of state, especially he who has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, to blurt out: “I say ole chaps, I believe we should kiss off on that Kyoto thing. It was a loser right from the get-go.” Not from the chief Brit, anyway.

Another death knell pealed when several original document signers revealed that they will NOT reach their committed emission reduction goals. Plus, Italy said when its agreement ends in 2012, it will not re-up. Blair knows it and is now essentially agreeing with, or at least understands, President Bush’s refusal to sign the US up to the Protocol. Blair, like Bush, will not risk limiting his country’s economic growth. And that’s exactly what the US and UK would be expected to do. (Sarcasm on: Well, no; we could always choose to buy “Emission Credits” from Russia. Sarcasm off.)

Before going any further with the current status of Kyoto, here’s some background about the Protocol that you may not be aware of. Note that if you’re willing to spend a few hours hunting it down, all of this information is available on the Internet. But if you know where to look on www.imcool.com, you could save a lot of time. More on that later.

Birth of Kyoto
According to Canadian writer, author and Kyoto critic, Ezra Levant, the Kyoto Protocol was actually started as far back as 1972, and by a fellow Canadian, Maurice Strong. It came about at the UN’s first ever world environmental summit in Stockholm, Sweden. (Strong organized the event.) Levant, author of the book “Fight Kyoto,” describes the UN’s Protocol as being the work of “thousands of bureaucrats, diplomats and politicians.” (Notably missing are representatives of free enterprise.)

Levant also says that Strong once mused about what would happen if a small but powerful group of world leaders decided that the principal risk to the earth came from pollution produced by actions of the rich countries. He supposedly answered his own question by saying that to save the planet, the only hope is for those industrialized civilizations to collapse. And if that’s so, isn't it the group’s responsibility to bring it about? (I add this only to demonstrate the thinking of some of the founders of the Kyoto Protocol.)
Strong went on to chair the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio and to become senior adviser to Kofi Annan, the UN's current secretary general.

Other longtime Kyoto observers believe that it should actually be known as the Berlin Protocol. Why? Because the next and real breakthrough (of the final Kyoto document) took place in Berlin during March and April of 1995. From that meeting, known as the “COP 1” (“Conference of the Parties”), came the result which was then named the Berlin Mandate.

Next, the Parties launched a new round of talks to decide on stronger and more detailed commitments for industrialized countries. After two and a half years of intense negotiations, the Berlin Mandate was adopted as the Kyoto Protocol at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997.

Kyoto Update: Montreal, 11/28 - 12/10/2005
The discussions, and controversies, over Kyoto’s goals, mandates, procedures and especially its future, were renewed again this year during COP 11, held at the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC). During those two weeks, web and print publications were bombarded with reports from journalists covering the daily happenings on the floors of the meeting rooms. While most of the 10,000 attendees were surely “Pro-Kyoto” (believers that man-made greenhouse gases are significantly warming the atmosphere), many skeptics were present as well. Of the latter, it appears that the US had the largest contingent.

Below are key excerpts of comments submitted by observers on both sides.

1. Greenpeace International representative: “When you walk around the conference hall here, delegates are saying there are lots of issues on the agenda, but there's only one real problem, and that’s the United States.”

2. Peter Carl, European Union Director: “We need much deeper cuts beyond 2012.” [Cutbacks in GHG emissions.]

3. Bill Clinton: “Bush is flat wrong.” [That Kyoto’s greenhouse gas emissions level of reduction would damage the US economy.]

4. Bill Clinton: “There's no longer any serious doubt that climate change is real, accelerating and caused by human activities.”

5. Sierra Club of Canada’s Elizabeth May: “This is a dirty filthy industry.” [About nuclear energy during a panel discussion.]

6. Meeka Mike of the Inuit peoples of Canada: “I don't know what [Americans are] doing to create all of this [greenhouse] gas emissions…But you [Americans] live in a very hot climate. You don't need as much heating like we do.” From Marc Morano, CNSNews.com.

7. Indymedia Climate: “We recognize the current goals of the Protocol are too low and its timetable too long to effectively halt the escalating instability of the global climate…The Bush Administration does not want to stop Global Warming, and in fact, has debilitated the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife, deceiving us and under the White House's rule, the very government agencies entrusted to protect our children from polluters have destroyed environmental laws.” From CNSNews.com.

8. Greenpeace USA: “Polar bears may soon be extinct because of global warming.” From CNSNews.com.

9. Peter Roderick of Friends of the Earth International: “I think that everybody agrees that Kyoto is really, really hopeless in terms of delivering what the planet needs…It's tiny, it's tiny, tiny, it's tiny…It is woefully inadequate, woefully. We need huge cuts to protect the planet from climate change.” From CNSNews.com.

10. Ulrike Rohr, director of Genanet [German organization ‘created to raise awareness of gender equity’]: “In most parts of the world, women are contributing less [to greenhouse gasses]…I think [men do not] have to feel guilty, but it might help to take these [gender] issues a little bit more into account.” From CNSNews.com.

11. Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth: “We need to look beyond Bush, and beyond his spoiling tactics. There will be a new president in the US in 2008. He is completely isolated, both in his own country and on the global stage.”

12. Andy Atkins, Tearfund (charity): “Climate change is a moral issue. Driven by our rich lifestyles, it is a looming catastrophe for the world's poor.”

Anti-Kyoto (or at least those not convinced that the man is causing significant Global Warming):
1. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK): “Two weeks of costly deliberation only resulted in an agreement to deliberate some more, so Montreal was essentially a meeting about the next meeting…The Kyoto Protocol…is a complete failure.”

2. Jim Kouri, postchronicle.com: “And what better person than Bill Clinton to end a summit attended by a bunch of pikers living the good life on someone else's dime.”

3. Jim Kouri: “The former president omitted to mention that many American economists advised US leader to not sign a global warming agreement that either hurt the US economically or that exempted developing nations – like China, India and Brazil, the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions – from emission cuts…Senator John Kerry who ran against Bush in 2004 cited the same reasons for rejecting Kyoto.”

4. Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace founder [no longer a member]: “No we are not going to sign that thing (Kyoto)…Expanding nuclear energy is one way that we can actually [reduce] reliance on fossil fuels in a big way.”

5. From CNSNews.com: Bill O'Keefe, George Marshall Institute: “It’s dead, but no one wants to pull the life support system.”

6. The National Center for Public Policy Research: “Emissions credits aren't worth the paper they're printed on, unless, of course, that paper happens to be toilet paper.”
Emission Credit Toilet Paper - Click for larger image
7. James K. Glassman, tcsdaily.com: “…the EU [European Union] set up a ‘Trading Scheme for CO2,’ which lets its members pay other countries—notably Russia—for cutting emissions on their behalf (the way that rich Americans in the North paid substitutes to fight in the Civil War).

Only one problem: The economic repercussions will be enormous. A study released earlier this month…looked at the impact on four European countries—Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy—of purchasing emissions credits. The [study]…assumed that the cost of buying the credits would be passed on to consumers ‘in the form of higher energy prices.’

The result: an average decline of almost 2% in annual GDP for the four countries. Since these nations are currently growing at less than 1% a year, they would be plunged into recession. Jobs and capital would go elsewhere; total annual employment losses in the four countries would be 1.5 million.”

8. Iain Murray: “Just as it is becoming increasingly clear that mankind cannot fine tune the climate system it is also becoming clear that the Kyoto-style policy solution of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by means of binding targets is just as simple-minded. The vast majority of countries, recognizing the link between energy use and economic growth, have rejected any binding targets on them. Most of the countries that have accepted targets are now looking increasingly unlikely to meet them. The few countries that are likely to meet their targets are mostly Eastern European nations that have done it the old-fashioned way, by economic collapse.”

9. Andrew C. Revkin: “A major reason the optimism over Kyoto has eroded so rapidly is that its major requirement - that 38 participating industrialized countries cut their greenhouse emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2012 - was seen as just a first step toward increasingly aggressive cuts.

But in the years after the protocol was announced, developing countries, including the fast-growing giants China and India, have held firm on their insistence that they would accept no emissions cuts, even though they are likely to be the world's dominant source of greenhouse gases in coming years.”

10. Ronald Bailey, tcsdaily.com: ”A new consensus is emerging at the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Montreal. Some participants are beginning to recognize that the AP-6 (state.gov/g/oes/rls/fs/50335.htm) is at least part of the way forward in a global effort to deal with any potential harms from man-made global warming…”

Kyoto alternative: Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate Change
While you almost can’t go a day without hearing or reading about Global Warming or the Kyoto Protocol, most of you have probably never heard of the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate Change (AP-6). From his article, “More Than One Best Way,” available on the net, here’s a further description from Ronald Bailey: “The AP-6 was announced last summer and includes China, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the United States. The goal of the AP-6 is to address climate change by focusing on creating and deploying technologies that emit less greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide.”

White House Admits Global Warming Is Real
Be forewarned, you may be shocked by this paragraph from a July 27, 2005 White House Fact Sheet as it admits that the President accepts that man is a cause of Global Warming:

“We know the surface of the Earth is warmer and an increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activity is contributing to the problem. Though there have been past disagreements about the best way to address this issue, we are acting to help developing countries adopt new energy sources.”

But this might help clarify the President’s true position:
“We oppose any policy that would achieve reductions by putting Americans out of work or by simply shifting emissions from one country to another. Like us, developing countries are unlikely to join in approaches that foreclose their own economic growth and development.”

Cool Profit$’ interpretation of the above statements:
1. Man is causing an unknown degree of increase in greenhouse gases and earth surface warming.

2. Instead of heedlessly slowing the economy under Kyoto (or causing us to buy Emission Credits from Russia), we’ll go with a program that:
a. includes more in depth study of “climate change,”
b. develops energy efficient technologies and methods for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, and
c. helps poor countries build nuclear power plants.

Refrigerant change coming? Probably
Even though the White House’s statement is carefully worded, my best guess is that R-134a is now doomed to the burial ground of “hazardous” refrigerants, much like R-12. Why? Because switching to CO2 or R-152a is a relatively cheap way for the automotive industry to satisfy Global Warmers.

What about retrofits?
Again, with the US and five other countries showing such strong support for AP-6, and the mobile air conditioning service industry not being opposed to new equipment requirements, I believe an interim “plan” will be enacted, similar R-12/R-134a retrofits. The big question is will it be the SAE/MACS supported I-MAC program (Improved Mobile Air Conditioning) for tightening up R-134a systems, or will it be the slightly flammable R-152a? Too early to tell. (For monopoly-conspiracy buffs, note that DuPont is a vendor of R-152a.)

Clearly, besides refrigerant issues, there will be much more testing, studies and debate about whether man can affect the earth’s climate, and if so, by how much. And if it is found to be substantial, how will we handle it? Stay tuned to Cool Profit$, via either print or the net.
Again, in closing, if you would like to present facts and/or opinions to Cool Profit$ readers that differ with those expressed above, please feel free to contact me. My personal thoughts and opinions will not stop opposing points of view from appearing in the magazine.    $$$

Cool Profit$ is going online!
Starting with Issue #62, Jan/Feb 2006, Cool Profit$ will post an online version of each future edition. Part of the site will be free, part will be available by subscription. This article is a sample of what can be expected through the online subscription.

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