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article imageOp-Ed: Copenhagen, Environmental stewardship or the new green gold rush?

By Richard Bass     Dec 15, 2009 in Politics
Significant human caused global warming fact, fiction, or just overblow for political expedience and the onset of the green gold rush..
Human caused global warming has been the epicenter of argument and debate from every corner of the globe and political isle. The tensions and heat of debate continues to grow as the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convened in Copenhagen to discuss or rally around the human caused belief of climate change and what position each nation will take regarding the issue. The UNFCC who is responsible for the Kyoto protocol / treaty in 1997 ( which went into effect in 2005 and which it's provisions are set to expire in 2012 ) are hoping to have the U.S. ( who has yet to sign the treaty ) and other nations sign into agreement and further expand the reaches and restrictions on greenhouse gasses produced by human activities.
These policies introduced under the Kyoto protocol and the purposed U.S. Cap and Trade legislation is suspected by many as being more detrimental to national and global economies of developed nations than beneficial to the environment. Some will even argue that the goals of these policies are mearly for profit and have little or no effect on actually reducing greenhouse emissions. For example, of the participants of the current Kyoto protocol, the nations of Europe, Japan, Canada, and most other developed countries have committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other countries such as China (now the largest greenhouse gas emitter) , India and others have ratified the treaty but are also exempt from it's legally binding demands. Others have actually been granted increases of greenhouse gas emissions from 10% in Iceland up to 27% in some underdeveloped EU countries.
There are also various other loop holes in the treaty and similar policies that allow for carbon trading. That basically means that countries that have yet to reach their carbon limit are allowed to sell their remaining carbon allowances in the form of carbon credits to other countries that are at, or projected to exceed their agreed limit. It would take day's to literally go through all of the different allowances and loopholes in the treaty and the individual details of each party involved with the treaty as every country has different agreements and allowances within the agreement to the treaty.
Just as a quick look at some of the results since the Kyoto treaty..
" according to U.N. data, the U.S. reduced emissions by 3 percent from 2000 to 2006, while the 27 European signatories increased their emissions by 0.1 percent. Germany's emissions declined by only 1.7 percent, while Canada's emissions rose 21.3 percent. European Environmental Agency data show that emissions increased in Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in the decade after the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. " Further direct information from the UNFCCC
To cut to the chase here.. I and many others question the environmental validity and rubber to the ground bottom line agenda of these policies. After all, we have been warned of cities and states being engulfed in water, farm lands turning to deserts and any number of apocalyptic scenarios from day one and continuing today... some to come as soon as the end of this century! Recorded sea level increases have been under 2mm per year so there would have to be a major catastrophe before we reach water world scenarios. Although the northern ice caps may be melting the southern ice caps have been getting thicker.. some trade off here? On the side of warming, wouldn't that warming be welcome to many of the colder more wintry climates that do not enjoy the extended crop benefits of the warmer parts of the world to grow food and possibly open some dreadfully cold areas more habitable for living and agriculture, etc? There are many more scenarios to this but that may be more suitable for another article.
In conclusion, when you dig into the details and loop holes of the Kyoto protocol and the similar Cap and Trade legislation we find that there is arguably more room and structure to create a gold rush out of carbon trading and verifiable minimal overall greenhouse gas reductions when considering the allowance of increases of underdeveloped countries and the continued increase of others. At best we are trading guilt in the form of industrial evolution to those that missed the bus through carbon credits. If we the people are to whole heartedly support any of these global warming policies that have been advertised as an immediate life or death apocalyptic scenario then they should not allow for trade offs of carbon credits and allowances and should be geared to save the world on a global basis and not just on a political haves and have not industrial economic situation... IF we as a species and world are truly at such dire risk.
I completely agree that we as people need to take greater steps in reducing our emissions and other pollutants but the Kyoto and Cap and Trade policies have a long way to go to even remotely prove any significant environmental significance as written and followed.
Edit: Following a statement by a DJ member John Public in Andrew Morans article, UN officials try to silence journalist on Climategate question I found the article by Christopher Booker which demonstrates the sort of loop holes and negative effects of actual co2 reduction that the Kyoto protocal promotes and permits.
Redcar steel works, once Europe's largest blast furnace was shut down due to world wide over production as stated by the Dutch firm Corus who owned the plant after it was sold by the government and has since been sold to an Indian giant, Tata Steel. Despite this supposed world wide overproduction of steel Tata Steel plans to double the production of steel in India which just happens to be pretty much exempt from the Kyoto protocol's bindings.
The following is a quote from the article: What links the Copenhagen conference with the steelworks closing in Redcar? by Christopher Booker and is a must read.
" What is the connection between Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian railway engineer who has been much in evidence at the Copenhagen climate conference, as chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and an Indian-owned steel company's decision to mothball its giant Teesside steel works next month...
Furthermore, only last month Corus announced plans to build a 20 million euro plant in the Netherlands, with the help of 15 million euros from the EU and 5 million euros from the Dutch government.....
And the connection with Dr Pachauri? Directly there is no connection at all. But it just happens that Dr Pachauri's other main job, apart from being chairman of the IPCC, is as director-general of the Tata Energy Research Institute, funded by Tata, which he has run since 1981.....
Tata's exploitation of the various carbon trading schemes set up to implement the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but it is the IPCC which provides the recommendations which drive those schemes, Last year, on official figures, buying and selling the right to emit CO2 was worth $126 billion across the world. This market, now enriching many of our leading financial institutions (not to mention Al Gore), is growing so fast that within a few years it is predicted to be worth trillions, making carbon the most valuable traded commodity in the world. "
So here again, Copenhagen, environmental stewardship or the new green gold rush?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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