Roger Pielke, Jr.
On the BBC Today program this morning the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Yvo de Boer
is quoted as saying the following, as subsequently reported online by the BBC:
The UN’s binding global climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, currently requires industrialised nations to reduce the majority of emissions themselves.
But Mr de Boer said this was illogical, adding that the scale of the problem facing the world meant that countries should be allowed to invest in emission cuts wherever in the world it was cheapest.
“We have been reducing emissions and making energy use more efficient in industrialised countries for a long time,” he told BBC News.
“So it is quite expensive in these nations to reduce emissions any more.
“But in developing nations, less has been done to reduce emissions and less has been done to address energy efficiency,” Mr de Boer observed.
“So it actually becomes economically quite attractive for a company, for example in the UK, that has a target to achieve this goal by reducing emissions in China.”
He said rich nations should be able to buy their way out of 100% of their responsibilities – though he doubted that any country would want to do so.
This statement is simply factually incorrect on many levels. For instance:
1. Industrialized countries have not seen their emissions decrease, quite the opposite.
2. On a per capita basis people in developing countries emit far, far less than people in developed countries, whether in North America or Europe.
3. Given the long residence time of atmospheric carbon dioxide, concentrations cannot be stabilized if developed countries do not reduce emissions by a great deal.
Expect a retraction soon.