Kyoto Negotiations

Illarionov Explains Russian Position on Kyoto Protocol in Washington

Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, re-iterated that Russia would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol under present circumstances at a press conference in Washington, D. C. on January 30 sponsored by the International Council for Capital Formation.  Illarionov gave a masterful presentation that was more a policy briefing than a press conference.  Lasting more than an hour, he used slides to illustrate in detail the scientific and economic issues involved in Russian ratification.

Illarionov said that, The Kyoto Protocol is based on technological illusions and flawed science.  He showed that even moderate economic growth of 4% per year would put Russia over its 2008-12 Kyoto limits by 2017 and remarked that Russias economy had been growing much more quickly than that for the past several years.

Although European Union Commission projections show that only two EU members are on course to meet their Kyoto targets, Illarionov rejected the claim that Russia could benefit by selling emission credits to the EU by pointing out that the EU directive requires that credits be bought first from the EUs new central European members, then from the Ukraine, and last from Russia.  The potential EU demand for credits is less than the potential supply from central European nations and the Ukraine.

In response to persistent questions, Illarionov said that the Russian government would base its ratification decision on Russias national interests and added that non-ratification would also be protecting the interests of the rest of the world.  Since the European Union, Japan, and Canada would suffer the most from the Kyoto Protocol going into force, they should be most grateful if Russia decides not to ratify, Putin concluded.  With the United States unlikely to ratify, the protocol cannot go into force without Russia.

Spain Wants to Re-open EU Debate

The Spanish government on January 26 stated publicly that it wants to open a European Union debate on whether to retain the directive implementing the Kyoto Protocol.  It would do no good to seek to comply with environmental commitments if it brings on unemployment and the relocation of businesses, Energy Secretary Jose Folgado told reporters.

If at an EU level there is a call for studying flexibility in this area, it would be a matter that countries would have to look at together, he continued.  Folgado added that Spain would continue to look for a way to apply its Kyoto limitsemissions of 15 percent above 1990 levelswithout harming industry.

Under the EUs umbrella agreement, Spains target is higher than the EU-wide Kyoto target of 8 percent below 1990 levels.  According to the EU Commission, on current trends Spain will be far over its 2008-12 target.  The fact that a country with such a generous allowance should be seeking to renegotiate it underlines just how difficult reconciling the agreement and economic growth will be for Europe.

EU Commissioners Entrench

Despite having no responsibility for the environment, energy or relations with Russia, EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen felt able to opine on the issue of Russias refusal to ratify Kyoto when addressing a German Parliamentary hearing on January 28.

He said, There are signs of a political link between finalizing the WTO negotiations and Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.  In political contacts it has been noted that one could see it as a political package and I’m quite confident that on both issues we will see movement [in the first half of 2004].  Verheugen went on to suggest that although there was no formal, legal link between the two issues, Russia itself saw the two as related.  I understand it as an attempt to get us to relax some of our demands for Russian WTO entry and then to compensate for that by signing the Kyoto Protocol, he speculated.

Meanwhile, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom strongly criticized Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio and the Spanish government for undermining Europe’s commitment to Kyoto.

Briefing journalists on January 30, Wallstrom defended the Kyoto Protocol and said she remains convinced that Russia would ratify the agreement.  Referring to Palacios comments about the economic folly of abiding by Kyoto when the rest of the world had repudiated the agreement (see last issue), Wallstrom said, I find it astonishing at a time when we are getting industry on board and have an active policypoliticians start to dither.  Now is not the time to undermine our policy. (Reuters, Environmental News Service)

The realization that the Kyoto Protocol is as good as dead seems to be slowly spreading through the American media establishment.

For example, The New York Post ran an editorial on Dec. 28 that stated, The truth is that Kyoto is dead, and has been for some time. The article, entitled Kyoto Protocol, RIP, concluded, Kyoto was a bad idea in 1997, and it’s a bad idea today. If President Putin’s government scotches all remaining hope for its coming into effect, Russia will have done the whole world a favor. The Post echoed a Dec. 2 editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

First to break the establishment party line, however, was The New York Times, which on Dec. 31 forgot to assert that Russia was still moving towards ratification of the protocol, despite all evidence to the contrary (see last issue). In an article reviewing Russias drift away from Europe and towards America in many policy areas, the Times pointed out that, In recent negotiations over joining the World Trade Organization and ratifying the Kyoto treaty on climate change, Russia has clashed fundamentally with Europe’s vision on free markets and the environment, arguing in both cases that its unique geography merits exclusive consideration. By admitting that Russia has turned away from Europe on the issue, it basically admitted the protocol was no longer a going concern.

A few days later, The Denver Post actually used the d-word, but urged activists to fight on, writing, The Kyoto treaty is dead, but its demise must not end focused, concerted efforts to slow global warming (Jan. 4).

Even the Council on Foreign Relations got in on the act. In an interview for Newsday (Jan. 4), Council President Richard Haass admitted that Kyoto was the wrong approach from the start. The paper summarized his views as follows: Haass is critical of the administration for rejecting such diplomatic initiatives as the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Treaty on global warming without offering alternatives. Even if those were proposals were flawed-and the facts suggest they were-the United States could have maintained a consensus by proposing better ways to accomplish the goals, Haass says.

Cooler Heads looks forward to reporting more obituary notices, as the news spreads among the protocols band of diehard supporters.

UK Government Steps Up Pressure on Bush Administration

In what now appears to be a two-pronged assault on the U.S. administrations position on climate change, the UK Governments Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, published an article in Science magazine (Jan. 9) that asserted the reality of damaging global warming and attacked the administration for failing to act to prevent it.

Kings article began with a series of highly questionable assertions: Climate change is real, and the causal link to increased greenhouse emissions is now well established. Globally, the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1991, and in the past century, temperatures have risen by about 0.6C. In that same period, global sea level has risen by about 20 cm-partly from melting of land ice and partly from thermal expansion of the oceans. Ice caps are disappearing from many mountain peaks, and summer and autumn Arctic sea ice has thinned by up to 40% in recent decades, although there is some evidence for stabilization.

The article continues, In Britain, usage of the Thames Barrier, which protects London from flooding down the Thames Estuary, has increased from less than once a year in the 1980s to an average of more than six times a year (see the figure, below). This is a clear measure of increased frequency of high storm surges around North Sea coasts, combined with high flood levels in the River Thames. Last year, Europe experienced an unprecedented heat wave, France alone bearing around 15,000 excess or premature fatalities as a consequence. Although this was clearly an extreme event, when average temperatures are rising, extreme temperature events become more frequent and more serious. In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today-more serious even than the threat of terrorism.

King concluded with an appeal to international solidarity: The United States is already in the forefront of the science and technology of global change, and the next step is surely to tackle emissions control, too. We can only overcome this challenge by facing it together, shoulder to shoulder. We in the rest of the world are now looking to the U.S.A. to play its leading part.

As this issue went to press, the Independent revealed the other part of the strategy on Sunday (Jan. 11), which said that, (Prime Minister) Tony Blair is persuading President George Bush to launch a new international initiative to fight global warming. The move, in part an attempt by Mr. Blair to shrug off the label as the President’s poodle, is the result of a series of behind-the-scenes meetings between high-level officials, the Independent on Sunday has learnt. The two leaders are close to agreement on combating climate change at the next two G8 meetings of the world’s most powerful leaders.

The article went on to explain the meetings referred to: Last month, Professor Sir David King Mr. Blair’s chief scientific adviserled a delegation to Washington to work out the details with senior members of the Bush administration. The President will concentrate in this year’s summit on how to develop new technologies. Senior scientists and environmentalists consulted by Sir David in Washington warned him that Mr. Blair would have to go far beyond merely endorsing these technologies if he wanted to avoid being seen as the Mr. Bush’s poodle. They stressed Britain must insist that more than enough is already known about the dangers of global warming to demand immediate action to cut the pollution that causes it.

It is not yet known to what extent the Independents coverage reflects wishful thinking on the part of Sir David and his colleagues. Such a major change in the Bush administrations position seems highly unlikely, especially after Sir Davids scathing attack on the administration in subsequent press interviews.

Lomborg Vindicated

On January 11 last year, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) found Bjrn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, guilty of scientific dishonesty in writing the book. Alarmists hailed the decision as proof that the immensely popular work was flawed, while more careful observers who bothered to read the flimsy judgment excoriated it. The Economist magazine, for instance, commented, The panel’s ruling-objectively speaking-is incompetent and shameful.

The Danish Ministry of Technology, which oversees the DCSD, agreed on December 17. The Ministry quashed the judgment, declaring, amongst many other harsh criticisms, that, The DCSD has not documented where [Dr Lomborg] has allegedly been biased in his choice of data and in his argumentation, and… the ruling is completely void of argumentation for why the DCSD find that the complainants are right in their criticisms of [his] working methods. It is not sufficient that the criticisms of a researcher’s working methods exist; the DCSD must consider the criticisms and take a position on whether or not the criticisms are justified, and why.

Referring to the lack of solid evidence against him, Dr Lomborg commented that it has now been established that…mudslinging is not enough. You have to use solid arguments. The DCSD now have to decide whether to reopen Dr Lomborgs case.

Little Happens at Gloomy COP-9

The ninth conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-9), held in Milan, Italy, from December 1 to 12, was a low-key affair made gloomy by statements from Russian officials that Russia could not ratify the Kyoto Protocol in its present form and by an extraordinary announcement by Margot Wallstrom, the European Unions environment commissioner. Wallstrom warned that only two of the EUs fifteen members — the United Kingdom and Sweden — were on course to meet their Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Agreement was reached on several technical issues related to implementing the Kyoto Protocol. The most contentious issue was whether carbon sinks using genetically-modified organisms could be counted. Environmentalists denounced the use of “Frankentrees” on the grounds that one environmental catastrophe should not be used to precipitate another. But delegates finally agreed that each countrys own laws on GMOs would determine whether GMOs could be used in that country.

With prospects for Kyoto dimming, many side events put on by NGOs and governments were on the subject of what to do next. It seems unlikely that a second commitment period after 2012 can be agreed. Thus various alternatives were discussed, often with a fair degree of candor. It seemed to the editor that two broad camps were being formed at COP-9.

In the pragmatist camp were those NGOs that support a wide variety of future approaches to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The working idea at present is that all these approaches could be part of an a la carte menu that nations could choose from in order to fulfil their second round commitments.

The idealist camp has settled on promoting the “contraction and convergence” model developed by Aubrey Meyer of Londons Global Commons Institute. Contraction and convergence assigns every person on Earth an identical emissions quota. Over time, this quota would be reduced to the level of average emissions in the poorest countries. In the meantime, richer nations could buy rights to emit from poorer nations. As the quota went down each year, the cost of buying them would go up, so that in theory national per capita incomes would converge at the level of the poorer nations.

Dr. R. K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tried to liven up the proceedings by putting out a press release attacking Ian Castles and David Henderson, who have published a devastating analysis of the IPCCs climate scenarios. The claims made in the press release will only sound plausible to those who have not read Castles and Henderson.

The United States sent a large delegation of approximately sixty officials, headed by Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky and Senior Climate Negotiator Harlan Watson. They made presentations on the U. S.s technological research initiatives. In addition, a congressional delegation headed by Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, spent December 10 and 11 at the meeting. Senator Inhofe did create a stir at a briefing when he gave a 45-minute speech on the flawed science supporting global warming alarmism. He and two of his colleagues, Senators Larry Craig (R-Id.) and Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), were immediately denounced in a multi-page press release complete with photos of the three put out by the National Environmental Trust, an NGO pressure group of questionable trustworthiness.

The big event for the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, the United Nations Environment Programme, and several other groups was the launch of the “international climate symbol.” It consists of a blue and green Earth with a candle flame on top dripping white wax down the side. This symbol can be viewed at www.saveourclimate.org.

EU Commissioner “Torpedoes” Kyoto

At the same time as the European Unions intergovernmental summit on the proposed EU constitution was dissolving in acrimony, cracks began to appear at the commissioner level in EU unity over its approach to the Kyoto Protocol.

EU Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio told a meeting of member state energy ministers in Brussels that it would be “suicide” for the EU to follow the Kyoto treaty if Russia did not ratify. “The time has come for us to face reality,” dePalacio said. “We can’t go on pretending that everything is fine when it’s not.”

Italian Industry Minister Antonio Marzano, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, added further fuel to the fire when he said the EU could suffer competitively if it was alone in implementing Kyoto. According to Reuters (Dec. 17), he went on, “Clearly we (energy and environment ministers) are going to have to pool our resources on this…if we are going to find a balance.”

Environmentalists have reacted angrily to the Commissioners stance. “(She) is actively torpedoing the EU’s efforts to keep Kyoto alive,” Stephan Singer, head of the World Wildlife Funds climate and energy policy unit, said in a statement (Reuters, Dec. 18).

Russian Position Further Clarified

Russias position on ratifying the Kyoto Protocol continues to baffle those who do not follow the Russian press. Following the statement of President Putins chief economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, on Dec. 2 that Russia would not ratify Kyoto “in its present form,” environmentalists and their allies have clung to the words the next day of Deputy Economics Minister, Mukhmed Tsikanov, who said that Russia was continuing “to move towards ratification.”

These interpretations ignore the fact, clearly evident from reports from Novosti, the Russian Information Agency, and the Moscow Times, that Dr. Illarionov was actually repeating a statement made at a private meeting by President Putin himself. As Novosti said, “At the meeting Vladimir Putin stated a position regarding Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol: it cannot be ratified in its present form as limiting the development of the Russian economy.” Dr. Illarionov himself underlined this when he told a news conference on Dec. 4, “The statement I made two days ago repeated word for word what the Russian president said at his meeting with EU representatives.” The statement by Minister Tsikanov was directly dealt with when Dr. Illarionov told Heritage Foundation fellow Ariel Cohen, “When Deputy Minister of Economy said recently that Russia is still negotiating, I corrected him saying that he reflected the Russian position in August. Things are different in December.” (Tech Central Station, Dec. 16).

Although not as widely reported as Tsikanovs statement, some have pointed to the comments of Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov during a visit to Kyoto on Dec. 16, when he said that Russia was moving towards ratification, but that Moscow needed to weigh the consequences of the protocol’s ratification and be convinced that other countries would take on similar burdens.

Dr. Illarionov clarified the position further on Dec. 17, according to the Interfax news agency, when he said that, “Only 32 out of 210 countries have ratified the protocol and committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions”. Russia could join the protocol if more countries did, he said. Moreover, Russia should be excluded from the addendum listing the countries for which reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is mandatory when they sign the protocol. . . Another option would be excluding the emission reduction commitments from the protocol, he said.” None of these options is likely to be attractive to Kyoto enthusiasts.

Joke on Kyoto

As COP-9 opened, Joke Waller-Hunter, executive secretary of the U. N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, gave her vision of the future of the Kyoto protocol (BBC News Online, Nov. 29).

She began by ignoring reality in praising Chinas “progress” on greenhouse gas emissions. Apparently unaware of recent re-estimates of the amount of Chinas CO2 emissions and Indias recent announcement that it will accept no restrictions on emissions (see the Oct. 30 edition of the newsletter), Ms. Waller-Hunter said, “Countries like India, China and Cuba are all waiting for the protocol’s clean development mechanism to start working — that will let richer countries invest in projects to cut greenhouse gases in the developing world. The rapidly industrializing countries see their environmental and economic interests coinciding. China is really decoupling energy use from GDP.”

Ms. Waller-Hunter went on to admit that the Kyoto Protocol would have very little effect beyond preparing the world for much harsher restrictions. She said, “It’s wrong to think the protocol will do so little that it’s insignificant. It’s a very important first step that can lead to much more far-reaching measures. Yes, it’s a peanut, but a vital one in the long run.”

“At the moment only the industrialized (Annex One) countries have to cut their emissions, but within a few years these cuts will be obligatory for every country. We have to look at a future of increasing carbon constraints.”

Waller-Hunter then admitted that to get poorer countries to sign up would entail a form of massive redistribution of wealth from developed to developing countries when she said, “We shall have to find ways of making the principle of equity a reality, or it will be very hard to get the poorer countries involved.” Equity in emissions means equal per capita rights to emit greenhouse gases, which would require the developed world to buy the capacity it needs to sustain its economies from the developing world.

Milan — The last day is devoted mostly to “Plenary Roundtables,” which slight previous experience has taught me are tedious beyond bearing, but I had to miss them anyway to catch my plane out of Milan. Luckily, I’ve saved up bits and pieces on the big topic of COP-9. Whither Kyoto? What do we do now? Or what do we do next? A number of side events, and the best ones in my view, were on these most interesting questions. The wheels may have come off the Kyoto bandwagon, but there has been quick agreement behind the scenes on one conclusion: whether the Kyoto Protocol goes into force or not, let all proclaim to every people in every land that it has already succeeded. The world has been set by Kyoto on an inevitable course of energy deprivation. Beyond that, there’s not much agreement. Oh, there’s one more thing that everyone from so-called developing countries agrees on. Developing countries are eager to join the second round of commitments after 2012. By that they mean that they are eager to receive money from rich countries. Not economic growth, but cash transfers to governments. The Kyoto round has been disappointing in terms of wealth re-distribution, but hopes remain for the future among officials from poor countries.

I don’t have the attention span necessary to recount and analyze all the proposals and suggestions I’ve heard over the last few days, but they fall into three broad categories. First, there are those who think that targets and timetables have a future in a second round of commitments and beyond. With the U. S. out, Australia out, Russia probably out, Japan with no way to meet its target, the EU failing to meet its targets, and no enforcement mechanism in the protocol, this is not a very robust camp at the moment. But it is still the official line, at least until such time as a new official line is agreed upon.

Second, there are those who are advocating an a la carte approach after 2012. Put a number of approaches on a menu, including targets and timetables, technology-forcing projects, voluntary commitments, and technology and financial transfers to poor countries. Then let each nation choose some of these and call whatever results compliance. This approach to Kyoto round two gets around the problem that no one is doing much to meet their commitments, besides creating a lot of offices and programs and institutes. It sounds rather a poor thing right now, but no doubt the clever people at places like the Pew Center on Climate Change (which I must remind everyone is an industry-front group funded by the Pew family’s fortune derived from owning the Sun Oil Company) can work it up into something most impressive. It’s too bad that Enron is no longer the leading business member of the Pew Center because conjuring grand appearances out of thin (or perhaps I should say hot) air was Enron’s specialty.

The third approach is to decide that every person on the Earth has a right to emit the same amount of greenhouse gases. So the way to do it is to assign everyone an equal emissions quota. If people in America or France want to use more energy, then they will have to buy quotas from people who wish to live a more authentic way of life-that is, from poor people in poor countries. The kicker to this truly zany idea is that the emissions quota to which each person has a right will keep going down until it’s at the level of a poor person in a poor country. Then those who wish to use more energy will be out of luck. No more quotas to buy! Everyone will then be blessed with an authentic lifestyle and get to go to sleep when the sun goes down. This so-called “contraction and convergence” approach appeals to both unreconstructed communists and to human rights absolutists. It has a certain moral force for those lost souls who have completely lost their bearings in the world. So it ought to be the winner in these darkening times. Alas, contraction and convergence has some practical problems that will confine its popularity to the chattering classes. The individual emissions quotas would be too small to make it worthwhile for each person to buy and sell-the problem of high transaction costs. Thus the quotas will have to be bundled up and sold by larger entities, such as nations. France may want to buy emissions quotas from, say, the tyrant Mugabe, but I just don’t see Lori Wallach at Public Citizen allowing such unethical trade. There is a more fundamental practical problem. People in poor countries won’t tolerate it. They want to become wealthier and therefore to use more energy. They won’t agree to living forever in an artificially energy-poor world.

I’ve said that the wheels have come off the Kyoto bandwagon. Don’t conclude therefore that Kyoto is dead and the sun is shining again. Kyoto is dying and will almost certainly die. But the Rio Treaty-the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-lives on and is really the problem. Rio is a noose around our necks, and Rio created the process that is beginning to tighten that noose. The global warming establishment has become overwhelming in its size and resources and ambitions. There are hundreds of NGOs, hundreds of institutes and university programs, and hundreds of government agencies that are spending billions of dollars to figure out how to make tomorrow poorer and darker than today. Rio is the noose, and we must figure out how to cut the rope.

[My apologies for the delay in sending these reports.]

Milan — R. K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, addressed the key question in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, namely what level of greenhouse gas concentrations constitutes “dangerous interference” with the climate system. That’s what the Rio Treaty and its Kyoto Protocol are supposed to prevent, so it’s an important question to answer. I don’t have Pachauri’s text in front of me, but his answer seems to be that whatever feels dangerous to us is dangerous for us. To put it less flippantly, because it is a legitimate point, each region and country will be affected in different ways by global warming; therefore what level is considered to reach dangerous interference will vary according to these effects. Of course, Pachauri didn’t mention that large parts of the world will find many of the effects beneficial.

While each of us may think that it us up to us to make a personal decision about what is dangerous interference with the climate system for us, it turns out that the environmentalists have already decided for us. I’ve heard this at several side events from several NGOs and government research institutes. “Dangerous interference” is whatever level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will lead to a two degrees Celsius warming. So now you know. Since two degrees Celsius is near the low end of the predictions for 2100 in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, this means that the alarmists can now define whatever predictions the next IPCC report comes up with as all being beyond the level of “dangerous interference.” It’s a pretty neat trick, especially since most of the ecologists and economists who’ve studied it, such as are found in the two volumes of essays edited by Robert Mendelsohn, predict that a two degree warming will be beneficial on the whole for humankind.

The International Policy Network held a press conference this afternoon to launch their new book, edited by Kendra Okonski of IPN, and formerly my colleague at CEI. Adapt or Die: the science, politics, and economics of climate change is a rather unfortunately-titled collection of essays on themes subversive of the Kyoto orthodoxy. Kendra, Julian Morris of IPN, Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institut, Martin Agerup from a Danish futurist think tank, and Andrew Kenny from South Africa’s University of Cape Town all said sensible things in a low-key way. Paul Reiter mentioned that on the subject of vector-borne diseases, the IPCC had managed to conjure up a case for global warming leading to more malaria, dengue fever, etc. by relying on people who didn’t know anything about the causes of the spread of vector-borne diseases. He said that six “experts” on the Third Assessment Report had published nine scholarly articles on the subject between them, while his group of three experts who were not consulted had published 635 scholarly articles (forgive me, Paul, if I haven’t gotten the numbers exactly right). The response was long counter-speeches from the floor by the usual assortment of professional bores who populate these meetings.

The official ministerial meeting has produced one agreement–on how to count carbon sinks toward meeting Kyoto targets. It’s complicated and I don’t know all the details, but I do know that the environmentalists have been defeated or partially defeated on one key issue. The environmentalists insisted that one environmental catastrophe, namely global warming, not be used to precipitate another environmental catastrophe. Thus they opposed allowing genetically-modified organisms to be used as carbon sinks. In the end, the conference of the parties agreed that each nation could follow its own laws on GMOs. So get ready for a big fundraising campaign against Frankentrees.

[My apologies for the delay in sending these reports.]

Milan — This year’s COP is a subdued affair, with little on the official agenda besides endless technical discussions about exactly how best to make the world a darker and poorer place. There is also considerable gloom and frustration among the delegates and NGOs caused by the dysfunctional negotiating process, by the real possibility that Russia won’t ratify the Kyoto Protocol, thereby preventing it from coming into force, and by the presentation last week by Margot Wallstrom, the EU’s commissioner for the environment. According to Wallstrom, only two of the EU’s fifteen member provinces (the United Kingdom and Sweden) are on a path to meet their Kyoto targets. This may cause only a few mild expressions of regret in Berlin and Paris, because after all the protocol no longer contains any enforcement provisions, but risking the wrath of Wallstrom will cause some sleepless nights in at least the lesser capital cities of Europe.

Today, however, there was at least one political spark to liven up the dreary routine. Within a couple hours after arriving with the U. S. congressional delegation on an overnight military flight from Washington, Senator James Inhofe was giving the kind of speech that just isn’t given at polite diplomatic functions. For forty-five minutes, the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee laid out the case against global warming alarmism and the Kyoto Protocol to a packed briefing room. It was a shorter version of the memorable speech he gave on the Senate floor last July. He even brought along thirty or so of the charts and quotations blown up on large styrofoam poster boards that he had used on the Senate floor. Or, rather, I should say that a loyal staff member, Aloysius Hogan, lugged them on the trip and had just about enough energy left to hold them up while Senator Inhofe was speaking.

The U. S. congressional delegation also included senators Larry Craig, Jeff Sessions, and Craig Thomas and Representatives Fred Upton and Chris Cannon. Representatives Jim Greenwood and Chris Shays came on the same plane, but for some reason didn’t participate in the briefing. Afterwards, Senator Larry Craig confided that he really wanted to win one of the coveted Fossil of the Day awards, but that he didn’t know what he could say to top Inhofe. The U. S. delegation has won a lion’s share of this year’s Fossil of the Days.

The National Environmental Trust (a group which has little do to with the environment and nothing at all to do with trust) responded with a multi-page press release with photos of the leading climate criminals-Inhofe, Craig, and Thomas-on the front. Large posters with a color photo of Inhofe and a quote from his Senate floor speech (Global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”) appeared up and down the halls. Clearly, the alarmists know who their principal opponent is. Most of these posters were quickly torn down by someone who didn’t want to give Inhofe any free publicity, but I managed to save one and plan to bring it back to Washington.

That was the big excitement for today and possibly for the whole week at COP-9. It’s a sad sign of the low level of activity that the big event for WWF and Greenpeace was the launch of–get this–the International Climate Symbol. It’s a blue and green Earth with a candle burning on top and white wax dripping down the side. I got one of the pathetic little pins and also a pamphlet about how NGOs, businesses, and individuals can sign up to use it on their stationery and products. You can sign the climate loyalty oath online at www.saveourclimate.org and thereby qualify to use the symbol.

[My apologies for the delay in sending these reports.]

Milan — A fresh breeze blew into Milan today, but it didn’t reach the COP-9 meeting at the Fiera Milano or Milan Trade Fair. At a seminar organized by Francesco Ramella and held downtown near the great cathedral or Duomo, Fred Singer and other climate scientists made a strong case for anti-alarmism. Dr. Singer showed why there is little reliable evidence that the climate has warmed since 1940 and much better evidence that it has not warmed appreciably. Dr. Willie Soon explained why climate models are still no better than palmistry for predicting future climate. Dr. Gerd Weber from Germany compared the inputs into the climate models used by the IPCC with the actual recent data. If the models use phony inputs, it should not be surprising that they produce phony outputs. It is a sad comment on the official establishment that they dismiss such analyses, when anyone with minimal scientific understanding can see they are true. In addition, Franceso Ramalla and Carlo Stagnaro of the Bruno Leoni Institute made a compelling econimic case against the Kyoto Protocol. The costs simply outweigh the benefits many times over. Professor Gerelli gave an excellent analysis of the psychology and sociology of the alarmist community and why these fantasies arise and persist in modern culture.

As pleasant as it was to get away, it meant that I missed an important side event–the discussion sponsored by the Swedish government on gender equity and climate change. I guess global warming is supposed to affect men and women and transgender beings differently, but now I’ll never know how unless they publish the transcript. Perhaps it has something to do with wearing fewer clothes.

I did attend a side event on “Negotiating Post-Kyoto: a Bridge Too Far”, in which a high-level panel discussed what to do next now that Kyoto is not working out as well as expected. There are a number of side events on this topic during the week, so I think I will put off reprting on this one and instead summarize what I have learned after attending several of the others. In short, the forces od darkness are gloomy and depressed, but they are not giving up and indeed are making even more ambitious plans for turning out the lights all over the world.

(This report is being sent a day late because of technological difficulties, but since there is little news from COP-9, but a fair amount of amusement, I hope it is not too dated.)

Milan — At the COP-9 meeting today in Milan, the World Wildlife Fund held a side event on “probems and perspectives” with Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The speaker from WWF Russia said that ratification by Russia was being delayed because of misunderstandings. Russians did not know that the protocol was only in effect for four years, required no obligations by industry or business, and carried no financial penalties for non-compliance. Once these misunderstandings were cleared up, then Russia would ratify the protocol. In other words, he seemed to be saying that it was in a country’s best interests to ratify Kyoto if it was completely meaningless. As long as we pretend that Kyoto ends in 2012 with no further compliance periods with increasingly lower limits for CO2 emissions, I guess this makes a wacky sort of sense.

The Intergovernmetal Panel on Climate Change today sent out a press release attacking Ian Castles and David Henderson (hereafter C and H). C and H have produced a devastating critique of the IPCC’s projections of future temperatures that were produced by an ad hoc committee called SRES. C and H have shown that the SRES committee came up with the scary predictions of up to a 10 degree F rise in the global mean temperature by using ludicrously unrealistic scenarios. For example, the most extreme SRES scenario assumes rapid global population growth, rapid economic growth by poor countries so that they surpass US GDP, and no change in energy technologies (a Brezhnev-ian future of stasis). In particular, C and H showed that the SRES committee underestimated current economic output in poor countries by comparing GDPs by using currency conversion rather than the usual purchasing power parity conversion. A member of SRES told me that the committee was created and charged with coming up with scarier predictions as a result of pressure from the Clinton administration and that he and other members were aware that their scenarios were based on implausible assumptions.

The IPCC press release accuses C and H of spreading disinformation and attacks them personally as “so-called ‘independent commentators'”. The attack on Castles goes further. “Mr. Ian Castles is a member of the Lavoisier Group, a group founded in Australia, whose sole mission is to opposes anything that aims to protect the environment.” As a good friend of the great Australian who founded Lavoisier, Ray Evans, I can attest to the monstrous falseness of this statement. The Lavoisier Society has done outstanding work opposing the Kyoto Protocol and opposing the environmental movement’s anti-environment agenda. I asked Harlan Watson, senior climate negotiator for the U S State Department at a briefing for NGOs about the IPCC press release. He said that it was “intemperate and inappropriate” and that I could quote him on it.

A short time later at a wine and cheese reception after a briefing by NGOs, I introduced myself to one of the speakersn Dr. Rajendra K Pachaurin chairman of the IPCC and asked him about the press release. He was not apologetic or defensive at all. He said that C and H were not competent to assess the IPCC’s scenarios. And as for my complaint about the ad hominem attack on C and H, Pachauri replied that the only personal attack was saying that Castles was a member of Lavoisier, which did oppose protecting the environment. Further discussion revealed that Pachauri equates opposing environmental groups with beong anti-environment. By the way, Castles is former Chief Statistician of the Australian Government, and Henderson is former chief economist for the OECD and also a high-ranking official at the World Bank (two notorious right-wing fringe groups).

Japanese Carbon Tax Faces Stiff Opposition

Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) told Japan s Environment Ministry on November 18 that a carbon tax would harm the countrys economy.

Keidanren chairman Hiroshi Okuda expressed his concerns at a meeting with Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, claiming that the tax would hollow out industry and put a damper on the recovering economy (Japan Times, Nov. 19).

The Japanese governments position had been that it would meet its Kyoto targets through voluntary measures only, but concern that not enough progress was being made led them to propose the tax on importers and processors of fossil fuels. The Japan Times wrote that, Since the proposal, the Ministry has been trying to gain acceptance from business, but opposition to the tax seems to have no end.

The Environment Ministry reacted angrily, with Vice Environment Minister Shigeru Sumitami asking reporters, If Keidanren officials say they cannot accept the proposed tax, what other steps would they come up with to achieve the goals set in the Kyoto Protocol? Sumitami also reacted incredulously to the groups claim that Japan can significantly reduce its emissions through technology. He asked, Do they believe they can really make it only through such measures?

European Auto Makers Set to Miss CO2 Reduction Targets

According to a report in Automotive News Europe (Nov. 17), European car makers are unlikely to meet their voluntary target of cutting CO2 emissions significantly by 2012.

ACEA, the European carmakers association, had pledged in 1998 to reduce the new car fleet emissions average in 2008 by 25 percent from 1995 levels, to 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer, with a further reduction to 120 g/km by 2012.

Monitoring figures to be released in December, however, are said to show that 2002 emissions averaged 165 g/km, up slightly from the 2001 figure of 164 g/km. Carmakers blame their consumers for preferring SUVs. They also claim that, Cars have also become heavier and less fuel-efficient as more equipment is added to meet safety regulations.

ACEA chairman Louis Schweizer, also the CEO of Renault, admitted that meeting the 2008 commitment would be tough and that the 2012 target was no longer practical.

Schweizer also admitted that the reductions made to date were largely a result of the unexpected surge in demand in the late 1990s for diesel cars, which use less fuel per kilometer. As a result, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, a major force in automotive diesel technology, will probably be the only European carmaker to meet the 2008 requirement.

Reacting to the news, European Union officials ruled out sanctions against the manufacturers and suggested instead that the EU may encourage member governments to offer tax incentives aimed at persuading consumers to buy greener cars.

Environmental Group Looks to Future without Kyoto

The World Resources Institute has suggested that the COP-9 meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change could reflect a growing number of regional groups committed to forging their own paths toward emissions control. The suggestion follows the realization that the Kyoto Protocol is unlikely to be ratified soon.

WRI expert Jonathan Pershing told reporters that a so-called coalition of the willing made up of members of the EU and a growing number of developing nations could go ahead with the Kyoto protocol regardless. This group is likely to set a target of ensuring that global temperatures average out to an increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Pershing observed that this unilateralism would change the framework for future talks, creating a funny institutional process, with countries moving away from the UN negotiating system.

The WRI analyst also predicted that the New Partnership for Africas Development could look at creating its own guidelines on climate change, while Asian nations could also form a group which has common cause about Asian problems meeting in an individual set area and not following the global route. He also suggested that NAFTA may operate as a bloc instead of joining the UN system.

Pershing said he expected the coalition of the willing to make a formal ministerial announcement during the opening days of the Milan meeting, but also expressed extreme uncertainty over whether the group could rescue Kyoto as a result.

Energy Departments Proposal Omits Transferable Credits

On November 26, the Department of Energy unveiled its long-awaited proposals to enhance the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, established under Section 1605 (b) of the 1992 Energy Policy Act. In a major surprise, the proposed enhancements do not include awarding transferable credits for voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

President George W. Bush directed the Energy Department in his February 14, 2002 speech on climate policy to make the voluntary registry more accurate, reliable, and verifiable. All signs suggested that DOE intended to include transferable credits in its package. DOE does propose that company executives be required to attest to the accuracy of claimed emissions reductions. Also, reductions cannot be claimed when caused by production declines.

The lack of any crediting scheme in DOEs proposal is a major victory for friends of affordable energy, said Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Lewis assembled a coalition of non-profit groups, including many members of the Cooler Heads Coalition, in opposition to any crediting program.

Lewis and his coalition questioned whether DOE had legal authority to award credits for emissions reductions and argued that early-action credits would create the institutional framework and lobbying incentives for Kyoto-style cap-and-trade policies.

The proposals are available online at http://www.pi.energy.gov/enhancingGHGregistry/proposedguidelines/generalguidelines.html . There is a sixty-day public comment period and a stakeholder workshop in January. Comments may be sent to 1605bgeneralguidelines@hq.doe.gov .

Is COP-9 the Beginning of the End for Kyoto?

The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change opened in Milan, Italy on December 1 amid increasing doubts that the Kyoto Protocol will ever go into force.

While the usual array of hundreds of meetings, events, and sideshows will be offered, the private talks between government ministers and UNFCCC officials are likely to be largely about how to keep the process (of moving the world toward an energy-rationing regime) going without the protocol.

Both the United States and Russia threw cold water on the hopes of Kyoto s supporters as COP-9 began. From Moscow , Reuters reported on December 2 that President Vladimir Putins top economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, said, Of course, in its current form, this protocol cannot be ratified. It’s impossible to undertake responsibilities that place serious limits on the country’s growth.

In a Financial Times op-ed (Dec. 1), U. S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, wrote, ( Kyoto is) an unrealistic and ever-tightening regulatory straitjacket, curtailing energy consumption.

On the other hand, sources have told Cooler Heads that the European Union and Japan are putting strong pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to ratify the protocol and thereby bring it into force.

Several leading alarmist officials and NGOs have already made suggestions about what to do when and if Kyoto collapses (see the third story in Economics section for one example). The ideas put forward so far cover a wide range, which suggests that it might take some time agree on future steps. COP-9 continues until December 12, with government ministers scheduled to arrive on December 10.

US Official Rejects Any New Kyoto-Style Treaty

Dr. Harlan Watson, senior climate negotiator at the State Department, told journalists in Paris on November 14 that the United States would not back any new proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions if it resembled the Kyoto Protocol.

Its going to be very difficult for the United States to get back to a Kyoto-type (agreement) because it has a rigid target and timetable agreement (for emissions cuts), Watson was reported as saying by Agence France Presse. He continued, For the foreseeable future, anyway, the United States would not be particularly pleased with the Kyoto framework. We think that there are basic difficulties, [and] there are also some operational difficulties.

The United States is on course to exceed 1990 emissions levels by 30 percent by 2012. Under the Kyoto agreement, it would have had to reduce emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels.

Russian Emissions Rising Rapidly

According to an article in Canada s National Post (Nov. 13), Russian carbon dioxide emissions may be much higher than anticipated.

Part of the reason given by Russian officials for putting off ratification of the Kyoto Protocol was the projection that meeting President Putins target of doubling GDP by 2010 would entail exceeding the countrys Kyoto targets by that date. According to the Post, Russian emissions may be greater even than those projections.

The paper quotes Alexander Nakhutin of the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology as finding that, since 1999, Russian greenhouse gas emissions have ballooned by as much as 13 percent annually.

It goes on, If Nakhutin’s projections are correct-and he is one of only a very few researchers with access to the best Russian industrial data-by the time the Kyoto treaty is due to be implemented in 2008, Russian carbon emissions will be 6 percent greater than they were in 1990, or 30 percent higher than originally envisioned.

Kyoto s plans for Russia require Russian emissions in 2008 to be 20 percent below 1990 levels. The entire edifice of carbon trading is based on this assumption. Can it work without Russia ? That’s the key question, Stephane Willems, a Russian greenhouse gas inventory specialist with the International Energy Agency in Paris , told the Post.

The article also quoted Richard Baron, a carbon-trading specialist with the OECD in Paris , who said that, If Russia’s emissions are not well below 1990 levels in 2008, the all-important carbon market will at the very least suffer a radical change in expectations.

The story also reveals how Nakhutins work may have contributed to Russia s seeming about-face on the Kyoto issue: According to Nakhutin, when Kremlin officials reviewing the case for Russian ratification got wind of his findings, they expressed worry, and demanded details. We have a full-scale carbon emission inventory underway right now, he says. The government wants this information for a decision on whether or not to ratify Kyoto .

As a result, the article concludes, Nakhutin’s results won’t be in for a while yet, but even so, enthusiasm for Kyoto in the Kremlin is fading fast.