Lord Monkton vs Greenpeace; On the Streets
Archive for the ‘COP15’ Category
There is no chance, none, that China will play along with any mandatory carbon dioxide reduction targets when world leaders meet in Copenhagen. Indeed, any substantive action in Copenhagen looks increasingly like Emission Impossible and not just because of the Chinese.
Last month, China’s top climate representative walked out of a meeting with Western leaders in Bangkok over the Kyoto Protocol. The Chinese are perfectly willing to be Gored (even without bothering to perform any independent scientific research of their own) and are ready to go along with slogans that the internal combustion engine and carbon emissions are the “biggest threat to humankind,” as long as whatever needs to be done is done by the “rich countries.”
China’s position is viewed with glee by a large swath of Americans and Europeans who view much of the carbon tax movement with skepticism, if not outright hostility. Their thinking: If China does not play along, the entire effort to cut carbon emissions is doomed.
That said, China, the world’s manufacturing behemoth and the ever careful superpower, does not want to take any chances. The threat of carbon tariffs proposed by countries such as France, Germany, and the US worries the Chinese enough that two major reports, one by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s highest authority, were released on how to cope with the situation. Both reports suggested that China may begin imposing a carbon tax in the next five years.
While on the surface such a tax may appear ludicrous, increasing the cost of energy and products in China itself is a masterstroke.
The logic, as outlined in the Chinese reports, is compelling. Since the recent global financial downturn, trading frictions are surfacing. Climate-change-related initiatives and carbon tariffs by Western countries are nothing more than trading protection schemes, using the pretext of climate change to put pressure on China, especially under the current economic situation. The clincher for the Chinese is this: Carbon tariffs not only violate the World Trade Organization (WTO) free trade, and most-favored-nation status principles, they also violate the Kyoto Protocol and the tenet of “different responsibility.” This kind of trading protection will have fatal effects on the economic future of developing countries, prominent among which is China.
Because carbon tariffs from the developed countries are to push the developing countries towards “promising” carbon emission reduction, saying “no” to the pressure of carbon tariffs is not a safe option. A proper measure has to be adopted, such as collecting carbon tax inside China before a carbon tariff is charged in a foreign country. The reports conclude that if China sets a national policy to collect carbon tax, it will be considered as a “promise” for carbon reductions by the international community.
After applying a carbon tax, carbon tariffs on the same product by Western countries would amount to double taxation, expressly not allowed by the WTO. Without a carbon tax in China, carbon tariffs might be permitted by WTO. This will put pressure on the US to reconsider any carbon tariff legislation. For the Chinese, passing these costs to foreign consumers and finding new tax revenues can look very good domestically by reducing other taxes.
The recent report by the NDRC suggests that China start with energy tax collection immediately, gradually transforming the energy tax to a carbon tax over the next five years or so. The actual action should be consistent with the international climate change legislations, such as the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, and the upcoming Copenhagen pact, if any.
The message from China is clear: it is not eager to jump on climate related initiatives but it will not allow other countries to collect carbon tariffs on products made in China. Taxes can be collected and kept in-house, as an energy tax or a carbon tax, or whatever name one likes to call it.
Actually, China has been trying hard to reduce air pollution and emissions. Thousands of small, inefficient coal-fired power plants have been shut down and more will be eliminated in the coming years; new pollution-control equipment has been installed on about 60% of the coal-fired power plants in the country to scrub sulfur and remove particulates. Nuclear power capacity is expected to increase ten-fold over the next 10 years and a lot of money has been invested on wind power.
But China’s GDP per capita is still one of the lowest in the world, only $3,300 in 2008, about one fifteenth of the level in the US. To close the gap, China needs a lot of energy, especially cheap and abundant local coal, The country will simply not sacrifice its economic development for the sake of Western worries about “climate change” which, if real and anthropogenic, is not a concern for the Chinese. Pushing China towards a massive emission reduction will simply make China to play the name game from “energy tax” to “carbon tax.” And that tax will ultimately be paid largely by Western consumers. Call it Chinese climate jujitsu.
2The upcoming Copenhagen climate summit, officially and ponderously named “COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009″, is aimed at reducing the emissions of the developed world. The main players, of course, are the US and Western Europe. There is a widespread perception that if the US and Western Europe could only get our CO2 emissions under control, the problem would be solved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To see the gaping hole in this idea, it is only necessary to look at the historical record of carbon emissions. Here is that graph:
While in 1970 the US and Western Europe combined to contribute about half of all CO2 emissions, at present this is far from true. In the past 35 years, the combined emissions of the US and Western Europe have risen only slightly. Globally, however, CO2 emissions have risen steeply, with no end in sight.
So it doesn’t matter if Europe signs on to a new Kyoto. It doesn’t matter if the US adopts Cap and Trade. Both of them together will make no significant difference. Even if both areas could roll their CO2 emissions back to 1970 levels, it would not affect the situation in the slightest.
These are meaningless attempts to hold back a rising tide of emissions. Me, I don’t think rising CO2 levels are a problem. But if you think it will be a problem, then you should definitely concentrate on adaptation strategies .. because mitigation simply isn’t going to work.”
“The same old dream.
In 1970, the United Nations called on rich countries such as Australia to give 0.7 per cent of their wealth to the Third World – minus handling fees for the UN, of course. This was necessary to ensure “human dignity”:
(43) In recognition of the special importance of the role which can be fulfilled only by official development assistance, a major part of financial resource transfers to the developing countries should be provided in the form of official development assistance. Each economically advanced country will progressively increase its official development assistance to the developing countries and will exert its best efforts to reach a minimum net amount of 0.7 per cent of its gross national product at market prices by the middle of the Decade.
No go? Then let’s try again, this time wrapped in green.
In 2002, the United Nations called on rich countries such as Australia to give 0.7 per cent of their wealth to the Third World – minus handling fees for the UN, of course. This was necessary for “development” and to “conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem”:
Make available the increased commitments in official development assistance announced by several developed countries at the International Conference on Financing for Development. Urge the developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product as official development assistance to developing countries.
Damn. Try yet again.
In 2004, the United Nations called on rich countries such as Australia to give 0.7 per cent of their wealth to the Third World – minus handling fees for the UN, of course. This was necessary to ensure “peace”, “collective security” and a “more secure world”:
The many donor countries which currently fall short of the United Nations 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) should establish a timetable for reaching it.
Still not? Hmm.
In 2005, the United Nations called on rich countries such as Australia to give 0.7 per cent of their wealth to the Third World – minus handling fees for the UN, of course. This was necessary to ensure “millennium development goals” and fight poverty:
Ours is the first generation in which the world can halve extreme poverty within the 0.7 envelope. In 1975, when the donor world economy was around half its current size, the Goals would have required much more than 1 percent of GNP from the donors. Today, after two and a half decades of sustained economic growth, the Goals are utterly affordable.
Still not! OK, let’s go for broke at Copenhagen next month.
In 2009, the United Nations in a draft treaty calls on rich countries such as Australia to give 0.7 per cent of their wealth to the Third World – minus handling fees for the UN, of course. This is necessary to ensure “serious adverse effects of climate change as well as threats to their future economic potential due to insufficient access to shared global atmospheric resources”:
[Financial resources of the “Convention Adaptation Fund”] [may] [shall] include:
(a) [Assessed contributions [of at least 0.7% of the annual GDP of developed country Parties] [from developed country Parties and other developed Parties included in
Annex II to the Convention] [taking into account historical contribution to concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere];]
The excuses change, and global warming is the most recent. But the hunger for 0.7 per cent of your cash is a constant.”
Thanks to Matt for these links:
“Climate summit loophole lets palm oil producers cull vital wilderness
A vital safeguard to protect the world’s rainforests from being cut down has been dropped from a global deforestation treaty due to be signed at the climate summit in Copenhagen in December.
Under proposals due to be ratified at the summit, countries which cut down rainforests and convert them to plantations of trees such as oil palms would still be able to classify the result as forest and could receive millions of dollars meant for preserving them. An earlier version of the text ruled out such a conversion but has been deleted, and the EU delegation – headed by Britain – has blocked its reinsertion. …”
“The inclusion of forests in the carbon market, or REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) has caused anxiety, protest and outrage throughout the world since it was created at the failed climate change negotiations in Bali and funded by the World Bank.
An estimated 60 million indigenous peoples are completely dependent on forests and are considered the most threatened by REDD. Therefore, indigenous leaders are among its most prominent critics. The International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change declared that: ‘…REDD will steal our land… States and carbon traders will take control over our forests.’
It is alarming that indigenous peoples’ fears and objections have now been confirmed by the UN-REDD Framework Document itself.
On page 4 and 5 it blatantly states that the program could “deprive communities of their legitimate land-development aspirations, that hard-fought gains in forest management practices might be wasted, that it could cause the lock-up of forests by decoupling conservation from development, or erode culturally rooted not-for-profit conservation values.”
It is further highlighted that “REDD benefits in some circumstances may have to be traded off against other social, economic or environmental benefits.”
In carefully phrased UN language, the document further acknowledges that REDD could cause severe human rights violations and be disastrous for the poor because it could “marginalize the landless…and those with… communal use-rights”.
This is tantamount to the UN recognizing that REDD could undermine indigenous peoples and local communities rights to the usage andownership of their lands.
Could it be that the UN is paving the way for a massive land grab?”