Same time, next year

by Julie Walsh on March 14, 2008

The EU has just decamped from its most recent summit at which it was to finally agree to those individual country quotas to arrive at their post-2012 promise to reduce GHG emissions, as a group of nations, to 20% below 1990 levels.


Of course, this was the most recent in a series of meetings following on the heels of their most recent promise to announce these quotas, which had been postponed until December 2007 after an inability to agree on individual member state quotas, and was ultimately scuppered.


See, this is where this "world leadership", in making such group-wide promises, at least, gets difficult. Attentive readers will recall German Chancellor Angela Merkel's revealing, possibly too-clever admission to Der Spiegel on March 9, 2007:


Addressing the need for a post-2012 “Burden Sharing Agreement” that assigns real cuts to countries previously given a free-ride, German Chancellor Angela Merkel “admitted that tough negotiations are still ahead. The compromise would be a tough task. The beauty is, Merkel said smiling, that each member state thinks they're a special case. ‘That makes us all equal’”. (emphasis added)


Apparently all of those special cases are holding out to make sure it's the fellow behind the tree who takes the hit. You will recall the initial promise shared by every EU-15 nation, to reduce emissions by 8% below 1990 levels on average over 2008-12, was abandoned (as is permitted under Kyoto’s Article 4) in favor of collectivizing their emissions (it’s Europe, remember). This allowed Spain, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and others to swap their promise of a reduction into a promise of an often-steep increase, France to trade hers in for a promise of no reduction at all, Italy for a very slightly smaller promise and so on all because of two political decisions preceding and unrelated to Kyoto.  Those were the UK’s “dash to gas” and shutting down East Germany, for all intents and purposes, after reunification made it smart to replace Soviet-era industrial capacity with cleaner, West German capacity.


Those two “one offs” having been exercised, this leaves European countries stuck with the need to meet their promises of emission reductions with – gasp – actual reductions (or even far more massive wealth transfers to exempt countries like China under the HFC scam, for example).


So, in classic form, they have trumpeted an historic agreement to agree later, this time by December 2008. We’ll be waiting.

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