Monday, June 04, 2007

Exporting a bad idea to the world

First, the US proposes setting a global GHG emissions "goal" - an object to which effort or ambition is directed, rather than a "target" - an amount set as a (minimum) objective. Then, the effort to undermine the push for a global emissions agreement at the G8 Summit was savaged, by foreign governments, by Democrats and by commentators, like a tofurkey at a Greenpeace rally.

Now, quel horreur, the Canadian PM says his government wants to play peacemaker (CBC).

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a German business audience Monday Canada won't meet its Kyoto targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but can be a world leader in battling climate change.

And here it comes:

Harper did say he believes his government's plan for intensity-based targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be more effective than setting overall reduction targets.

I was so dumbfounded by this, I double-checked on the CBC's French language service:

Selon la solution canadienne, il n'y aurait pas une réduction draconienne des gaz à effets de serre, mais l'encouragement de mesures moins polluantes dans chaque unité de production industrielle.

That's right. Canada is championing the emissions intensity policy as the solution to it all. Could it work? Only if the intensity-based targets, not aspirational goals, are set such that total emissions actually decline. However, that is not the case in the Canadian policy.

The joke is, er, the tragedy is, not only has the Canadian policy been ridiculed by experts across the spectrum, it is not even original. It was lifted, almost digit for digit, from the equally toothless American policy.

Let's hope the rest of the world looks at this graph. And that someone out there has a calculator that can do compound interest.

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