Green Spot: CO2 Talks Will Fail

Well for two weeks we have been under a blast of media coverage on the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen all asking the same question: will there be a new deal international deal on CO2? The answer has been known for months: likely NO.

Why all the media coverage?  Everyone keeps hoping someone will cave in and they will get a new deal despite two years of negotiations between these governments.  If you can’t sort out the major points like targets and funding in two years what makes you think you can get it done in days?  The reality is everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room: Kyoto failed.  With out China, India or the US it never stood a chance of making real difference to world for CO2 levels.

Which leaves us to an interesting conclusion.  We can’t prevent climate change, that ship has sailed and we have missed the boat.   So if you accept for a moment that we can’t prevent some of the effects, you can get over this obsession from people on needing an international deal.  The reality is we can do this the old fashion way: via trade.  What we need is for the US, Canada, Europe to pass their own CO2 reduction regulation and jack up tariffs on any high CO2 imports.  Then if they also tie their technology and development adaptation aid to the country receiving the aid having a regulations in place you will seem most places fall into line.  A deal without all the current drama.

The draw back between this method instead of an international deal will be trying to link up any cap and trade systems.  Yet the reality is finance people will sort that out.  Perhaps each country will have it’s own CO2 currency complete with exchange rates to other systems.  If China has a poor verification system perhaps 1 tonne of CO2 reduction there is only worth 0.25 tonnes in a US system.  In the end things will work out, but just too late to do any real prevention.

So that’s my thoughts on this whole mess as it goes into its last day.  What did you think would happen at Copenhagen?  Were you hoping for a deal?

7 thoughts on “Green Spot: CO2 Talks Will Fail”

  1. I think you’re right. It is too late to make a deal that would actually work. I like the ideas you expressed. Kyoto failed so why try to do something similar? Take a different approach and see if that works. I think change DEFINITELY needs to happen but I think the governments aren’t willing to do anything drastic, which I believe is what is needed to make a difference. Not sure if you’re seen Bill Maher’s Religulous but he says in it “The car companies went from making cars to tanks nearly over night during the war. Kennedy went from wanting to put a man on the moon to actually putting a man on the moon in 10 years. Change needs to happen quickly. When you take a laxative you need it to work NOW, not 20 years from now.” Or something like that. GREAT documentary.

  2. My intention here is to get people thinking.

    If man has not caused climate change, then is there anything that can be done other than to build dykes to cope with expected higher ocean levels?

    The whole issue may be built on a foundation of sand. Why should we believe a US politician about any important subject?

    So what if the ice melts at the poles? What good things could result from this change?

    Why did the name change from Global Warming to Climate Change?

  3. Why did the name change from Global Warming to Climate Change?

    Because “Global Warming” is so 1990.

    Because some people said “Getting warmer — great for us!”

    Because climate is wider than just warm and cool — it’s about the hurricanes, the draughts, the rising seas.

    But mostly because a lot of people can’t think globally and see the big picture — they only see what happens in their own back yard (if that!).

  4. Global Warming only implies that the weather is warming up,something that doesn’t worry many Canadians. 🙂

    Climate Change implies the results of Global Warming. That your climate can literally CHANGE. Global Warming can cause changes in long term weather patterns.

    What if Saskatchewan went from being a farming province to experiencing less and less rainfall and maybe drought?

    What if other ares atarted getting dumped on with rain and experiencing floods?

    Mother Nature would adapt over time (100’s of years) to new ecosystems, but it sure puts a crimp in our human lifestyle to have to start moving our civilisations around to accomodate new Climates.


  5. I get really upset when Canada and the US go to these conferences and say ” well we can’t do anything unless China agrees to this or India can do this.”

    What?!! Since when have we had to wait for China and India to be leaders in a situation? This is such a flimsy smokesceen for not wanting to actually do anything.

    And what is the deal with putting so much blame on developing countries for their FUTURE pollution? When developed countries have commited the most damage in the last century?

    Any international deal should accomodate how much pollution a country has contributed when assigning a value to how much help their citizens should be providing.

  6. I’d like to point out two major problems, one with climate change, one with cap and trade.

    Last year was colder (not warmer) than most. Is Global Cooling now the fault of CO2 also? So, how long is a trend? There are people who think that if it doesn’t rain three years in a row, it’ll never rain again. Granted, this anecdotal, from idle chat with neighbors in California. But how many years of records should scientists be looking at before declaring a trend? If you look back through history, the climate was warm enough in Greenland for the Vikings to colonize. Did the polar caps start melting over 1000 years ago, and flood the coastal regions?

    The problem with cap and trade was illustrated in Freakonomics. Day cares in Isreal found that parents were often late to pick up their children. They measured the average number of late arrivals, then introduced a fine of $5/day. What happened? The number of lates more than doubled. Instead of feeling a moral obligation to arrive on time, parents now considered whether or not they could afford to be late. And many of them could.

    I would be happy if everyone cared for our environment. There are more forces at work than man-made pollution, but that’s not a reason for us to mindlessly destroy our environment. Cap and trade is a dangerous solution, though, because there’s a risk it could diminish the moral argument against pollution and increase the total damage.

  7. I’m all for helping the environment, but I’m not convinced that the changing climate is abnormal. I see this as just an attempt for the politicians to collect more money.

    Polar caps are melting, but the leading polar bear expert says that the number of polar bears has increased. So, why are we listening to politicians that want to take our money.

    Let’s work towards cleaner solutions, but Cap and Trade is not the way to go.

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