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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Canada May Sensibly Blow Off Kyoto

by Brian Dunning

November 28, 2011

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Donate No nation concerned with the science of climate change should have ever given the Kyoto Protocol the time of day. Most of them did, and signed and ratified this plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of wealthy nations, while granting the two most polluting nations (China and India) immunity to produce as much CO2 as they wish.

Today Reuters reported that Canada has stated that the Kyoto Protocol is a "thing of the past" but has not yet confirmed whether it will formally pull out of the pact. Russia and Japan also said that they will not renew their commitment to the protocol unless it binds on the world's greatest polluters.

The United States, which was the world's largest emitter at the time of the Kyoto Protocol, refused to sign the treaty as it clearly had more to do with politics than with science. Since then, China and India have both probably surpassed US emissions, and have been producing sharply increasing emissions every year while wealthier nations have been striving to reduce CO2.

As China and India are both in periods of extreme economic growth as they struggle to catch up to the rest of the world's standards of living, it's unlikely that either will bother to meet any CO2 restrictions. There is just not enough immediate incentive to do so, and no immediate drawback in continuing to pollute their way to economic growth.

Most nations that did ratify the Kyoto Protocol have failed to meet its targets, and failed by huge margins. There is a really simple reason for this: as China and India discovered, there's just no compelling reason to bother.

My opinion is that the only way any nation will truly change their CO2 emitting ways (and I'm talking to you, United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc.) is if we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so. This means investment in clean energy sources, namely Generation IV nuclear technologies.

Discuss and flame.

by Brian Dunning

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