Monday, October 30, 2006

Emissions rising in many Kyoto countries

The Stern Report (below, or try the 30 pt size headline in the Globe and Mail just maybe trying to send a message to the Canadian government) arguing that the benefits of taking serious action on climate change far outweigh the costs, could not have been released at a more important time.

The latest GHG emissions data from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change finds that emissions from most industrialized countries, including most Kyoto signatories, have increased in the past five years. The graph on the right shows the total GHG emission from 1990-2004 from all industrialized countries (ie. Kyoto signatories plus go-it-aloners like Australia and the US) separating out the EIT ("economy in transition") countries that were members of the former Eastern Bloc. The graph shows that GHG emissions have decreased slightly from industrialized countries since 1990 (3.3%) but largely only because of the dramatic drop-off in emissions after the break-up of the Soviet Union (36.8%). With emissions are now on the rise in most EIT countries like Russia, emission cuts by non-EIT countries (Europe, Japan and, ahem, Canada) is likely the only way to make up the difference between current emissions (3% below 1990) and the overall Kyoto target (5% below 1990).

Will it happen? If so, the leadership will come from Europe, and the Stern Report could play a huge role. Many European countries could be influenced heavily by the Report, the efforts underway in the UK (14% reduction, one of the few success stories) and the pledge of leadership on climate change from soon-to-be British PM Gordon Brown.

Canada, well, not only are reductions unlikely under the current plan, that plan may be influencing the decisions of other countries. Japan is 14% off its Kyoto target (of 6% below 1990 levels) and struggling with the decision to force mandatory emission cuts; as one Japanese official told Reuters, "Japan can meet the target if they implement extremely unpopular mandatory policies, but the question is why they have to when others don't seem to be really serious".

Check out the UN FCCC site for all the data.

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