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Canada First Nation To Pull Out of Kyoto Accord

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the then-let-them-ride-bikes dept.

Canada 561

Hugh Pickens writes "Canada will become the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on climate change, dealing a symbolic blow to the troubled global treaty. 'Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past,' says Environment Minister Peter Kent. 'We are invoking our legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto.' Kent, a Conservative, says the Liberals should not have signed up to a treaty they had no intention of respecting and says Ottawa backs a new global deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, but insists it has to cover all nations, including China and India, which are not bound by Kyoto's current targets. Kent adds that meeting Canada's obligations under Kyoto would cost $13.6 billion: 'That's $1,600 from every Canadian family — that's the Kyoto cost to Canadians, that was the legacy of an incompetent liberal government.' Kent's announcement came just hours after negotiators in Durban managed to thrash out an agreement at the very last minute — an agreement to begin a new round of talks on a new agreement in the years ahead. 'Staying under 2C will require drastic, immediate action — with global emissions peaking in the next five years or so,' writes Brad Plummer. 'The Durban Platform, by contrast, merely prods countries to come up with a new agreement that will go into effect no later than 2020.'"

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We could learn a thing or two.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353316)

Sad day when the Canadian's get it right and we're (Americans) led by liberal socialists...

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (5, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353344)

Wait... you know that the US was never in the Kyoto Accord, right?

And that part of the reason Canada is pulling out is that the world's biggest CO2 outputting nations (US and China) weren't reducing their output?

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (4, Informative)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353380)

China and the US not pulling their weight is only the official reason I guess.

The true reason must be the enormous CO2 pollution that the exploitation of the tarsand oil or what is it called is causing.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353408)

By all accounts, it's a total shambles. There was an editorial in Nature a couple of weeks ago suggesting that its continued existence was a barrier to implementing a treaty that actually had some teeth.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353454)

That and Canada has a good size oil supply to sell.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (2)

MasterClown (323471) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353692)

Under Kyoto, would emissions from buyers of Canada's oil count against Canada itself? Otherwise, I don't see how having a big pot of oil *to sell* would be directly affected by Kyoto. Even if the biggest consumers cut back on emissions and thus cut back on buy, there'd be plenty of smaller countries willing to buy the stuff.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (5, Interesting)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353458)

Um .. thats China, and the US ...

1 China[10] 7,031,916 23.33%
2 United States 5,461,014 18.11%

also, from [http://in.news.yahoo.com/durban-kyoto-protocol-gets-extension-111511742.html]

Canada, Japan and Russia had said that they do not want Kyoto to continue as it doesn't take into account emissions of emerging economies like China and India. The European Union wanted that they will agree to it only if all countries agree to a single legally binding agreement to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The US is the only country that has signed Kyoto but not yet ratified it.

also, from wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reducing_emissions_from_deforestation_and_forest_degradation]

In recent years, estimates for deforestation and forest degradation were shown to account for 20-25% of greenhouse gas emissions, higher than the transportation sector.[6]

from [http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/10-countries-with-the-highest-deforestation-rates-in-the-world.html]

1) Honduras: -37% 2) Nigeria: -36% 3) The Philippines: -32% 4) Benin: -31% 5) Ghana: -28% 6) Indonesia 7) Nepal 8) North Korea: -25% 9) Ecuador 10) Haiti: -22%

So the countries who are every bit as responsible for CO2 levels rising due to deforestation, get paid, by the countries with money. The whole thing is bs.

The issue is much more complicated than excusing Canada and blaming it on the US and China.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353480)

yea, and it's not that those coutries aren't in an economic strangehold by some large corporations and international institutions ...

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353518)

yea, and it's not that those coutries aren't in an economic strangehold by some large corporations and international institutions ...

If you want the US to make reparations payments for our global hegemony, just call it that, and stop pretending that you're doing it for other reasons, then.

I hate fucking bullshit like this.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (4, Informative)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353496)

(US and China) weren't reducing their output?

Also, from [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_the_United_States]

The White House announced on 25 November 2009 that President Barack Obama is offering a U.S. target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The proposed target agrees with the limit set by climate legislation that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but the U.S. Senate is currently considering a bill that cuts GHG emissions to 20% below 2005 levels by 2020. The White House noted that the final U.S. emissions target will ultimately fall in line with the climate legislation, once that legislation passes both houses of Congress and is approved by the President. In light of the President's goal for an 83% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, the pending legislation also includes a reduction in GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2025 and to 42% below 2005 levels by 2030.[9] The day after the White House announced the U.S. GHG targets, China announced that it will reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emissions by 40%-45% by 2020. Carbon dioxide emissions intensity is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

So please stop pretending the US and China aren't doing anything.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (4, Insightful)

perrin (891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353642)

It is easy to promise that later presidents or governments will do something, then do nothing except watch the divide between the emissions and the emissions target grow larger every day. What mythical president is it that will slash emissions by 20% + whatever increase there has been between 2005 and whatever year the reductions will start? If we can't start now, what makes anyone think we can start later, when the costs will be even greater?

Note that China has not even promised to reduce its total emissions. As long as its GDP is growing by double digits every year, reducing the intensity of the emissions even with 80% won't reduce their total emissions by 2020.

And meanwhile the scientists are debating whether we are passing the threshold of catastrophic changes the next few years, or if we already have passed it.

We are so screwed.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (4, Interesting)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353672)

We are so screwed.

This may very well be the case. However, the optimistic part of the process thus far, has been that the climate change deniers are now pretty much looked up as quacks, when the initial reaction was total denial and skepticism. We've moved beyond that, to the point where people and governments, individually and collectively, are working on the "how" part.

If we do indeed end up being screwed, it will be a direct result of our great success as a species, and however ironic and evidential a fact of life it may be, we at least have our success in which to take solace. ;)

"Reduce the Intensity" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353730)

"China announced that it will reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emissions..."

Please be aware that the term "intensity" refers to the increase of the rate of production i.e. the acceleration. It's not putting the brakes on.. not even coasting... just lifting your foot a bit off the accelerator. I hope the U.S. numbers are indeed about reducing emission rates.

Re:"Reduce the Intensity" (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353752)

Yeah. Personally, I make a concerted effort to avoid buying any products made in China. Admittedly, it is sometimes impossible, but every little bit helps.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (5, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353498)

>>And that part of the reason Canada is pulling out is that the world's biggest CO2 outputting nations (US and China) weren't reducing their output?

Are you aware that the only countries that significantly reduced their output... didn't? That it was only a statistical artifact from the badly-chosen start date of 1990? And that 1990 was deliberately chosen because it would give these fake savings to the UK, Germany, and Eastern Europe?

The UK "reduced" its emissions by choosing 1990 as a start date, which was right before they switched from coal to NG as a way of fighting the coal miners' unions.
Germany "reduced" its emissions by absorbing Eastern Germany. Eastern Germany reduced its emissions via the mechanism below.
Eastern Europe "reduced" its emissions by having the USSR implode, which subsequently killed its industry and thus CO2 emissions.
Australia also liked a 1990 start date, due to unusually high emissions during that year.

Read Liverman's discussion of the process here: http://www.environment.arizona.edu/files/env/profiles/liverman/liverman-2009-jhg.pdf [arizona.edu]

She makes a very good point that the date was set so that business could continue as usual, with certain countries winning "free" carbon reductions via a shady political process. Well worth the read.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353584)

At least they were prepared to make step1, knowing there would come a step 2, 3 etc. which then would become painful for them. The US and China simply refused completely.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (5, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353654)

The UK switched from coal to NG? That's news to me.

At this exact moment in time, UK electricity generation is:

Coal: 21.42 GW
CCGT 12.23 GW
Nuclear 7.29 GW
Wind 2.9 GW

It's not a switch from coal, rather increased capacity via CCGT. Coal still produces the lion's share of electricity.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353710)

You might want to read about the "Dash For Gas", then:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash_for_Gas [wikipedia.org]

It ties in with Thatcher and the coal mine issues during the 80s, too.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353382)

Ah, the conservative ignorance and stupidity.

If only you could turn that into renewable energy source...

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353412)

It is, They're called politicians. The problem is our current hamster wheel technology is to large for their stubby little legs to run on.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (0)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353402)

Sad day when the Canadian's get it right and we're (Americans) led by liberal socialists...

It looks like the liberals have control of our punctuation now as well. We're truly doomed.

Re:We could learn a thing or two.... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353682)

Politics in Canada are actually suffering from too much imitation of the US these days.

too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353318)

too much unconventional oil in Alberta

TCO (2)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353322)

wow.. I wonder how much a 2 degree change in average temperatures will cost Canadians?

Re:TCO (5, Funny)

Exitar (809068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353346)

Less snow, more farmable land?
Maybe they plan to become the first producers of bananas within the end of the century...

Re:TCO (1, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353432)

I wonder how much a 2 degree change in average temperatures will cost Canadians?

They are assuming that the desert in the Southwest USA will never reach them.

That's the attitude normally called "hubris"

.

Re:TCO (5, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353770)

They are assuming that the desert in the Southwest USA will never reach them.

That's the attitude normally called "hubris"

.

It is a common misconception that deserts are caused by heat. There are cold deserts and hot rain forests. Deserts tend to be caused by other factors, primarily latitude (see a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_pressure_area#Climatology" this) and the rain shadow of mountain ranges.

An increase in temperature will not necessarily cause deserts to expand, though they might move if the equatorial low pressure (=wet) area expands. In the tropics, the summer tends to be the wet season: more heat leads to more evaporation in the oceans. The land gets much hotter than the sea, forcing hot moist air to rise, forming clouds and bringing rain. During the exceptionally hot 90's and early 2000's, the deserts in northern Africa actually receded. During the cooler 80's, the same area suffered droughts and desertification.

Will an X degree increase in temperature cause the deserts to shift all the way north to Canada? This is equivalent to asking whether and X degree increase in temperature will cause the southern Mexican jungle to expand all the way into the Mojave desert. X would likely have to be pretty large.

None of the above is relevant to TFA by the way. Canada pulled out of this treaty because they argue it is pointless as long as China and the US, the two largest polluters, aren't bound by it.

Re:TCO (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353706)

Depends on how it's distributed. If it's a perfectly even distribution, or skewed slightly south, then some parts of Canada may become suitable for human habitation. If it's focussed more in the north, then expect large amounts of flooding as the snow and ice melt. Unfortunately, an average increase is likely to mean some places getting significantly warmer and others getting significantly colder - if you pump a huge amount of energy into a chaotic system, the results are (by definition) difficult to predict...

By 2019.... (2, Informative)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353324)

By 2019 they will be saying "never mind about what we said about the hot weather, just get your mittens and coats ready when solar magnetic decline and solar minimum freeze (y)our (r)ears off in 2020".

Huh? (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353330)

I thought Durban managed an agreement that China and India *will* now be included.

Is this guy speaking for the government, or just another political blowhard?

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353370)

He's the Environment Minister. Official part of the "Harper Government"(tm).

Yes, it's an embarrassing time to be a Canadian. There used to be a time when we would take part in multinational initiatives and act as a positive mediator who helped countries reach consensus. Now we sabotage them.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353418)

Yes, it's an embarrassing time to be a Canadian.

Welcome to the club... my whole adult life has been an embarrassing time to be a USAian.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353618)

my whole adult life has been an embarrassing time to be a USAian.

The USA is a fine place to live ... they'll even let you leave if you don't like it.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353722)

We find people who use "USAian" to be embarrassing also.

The word looks wrong, is unpronounceable, and makes you look rather stupid. Why do you use it again?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353740)

Seems to be spreading this side of the pond, too, with Cameron throwing his toys out of the pram and refusing to even be involved in discussions vital to the future of Europe.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353666)

AFAIK, the only agreement between India and China also includes Russia, Brazil, and South Africa, and that agreement's goal was to keep the Euro from finding a safe haven to weather the greenback's storm. Perhaps once the Euro has been significantly undermined, then the two remaining leaders will enforce Kyoto v2.0.

wrong crowd, UN? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353338)

Please,
stop sending politicians to fix a real problem. Send scientists and others.

If we can agree to put severe sanctions on some countries because a few nations like to be the only boys with toys.
Then surely we should be able to put minor 'green' sanctions on nations that ruin our planet and the environment of all nations on this planet?
What such a sanction could be? No more trade/import/export of 'polluting' substances with said nation. Coal, oil, ...
If they don't want to be clean, we can at least try to prevent them from getting/exporting the stuff they need for being dirty.

Re:wrong crowd, UN? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353456)

They would never do that, because then they stop getting cheap stuff.

Not gonna matter anyway (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353340)

Whether GW is real or a farce is really immaterial. We know that the Earth, as a matter of its *natural* cycle, goes through periods of warming and cooling. There's no stopping it, and it doesn't matter whether we're the cause or simply incidental. Trying to stop nature from doing what it does is, at best, a recipe for disaster.

The key is to learn to ADAPT to the changing climate, not try to exercise control we don't and can't have.

Yes, but it would be nice if it didn't happen soon (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353406)

I don't know about you but I'd rather the earth has its next climate burp in a few thousand years, not in this century thanks to our emissions. Citing natural climate cyles in a vague handwaving style is currently fashionable amongst the Ostriches , as if because something happens naturally that means its excluded from happening due to human intervention. I guess in that case because beavers build dams then there's no way we could have done the same. Or because tree's fall down on their own in a forest then lumberjacks must be some made up invention by the eco-industrial-complex?

Re:Yes, but it would be nice if it didn't happen s (1, Flamebait)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353762)

Oh, gee, thanks for the ostrich.

So demanding we step back and try to find solutions that actually work, as opposed to asking everyone nicely to go out of their way for their fellow human being or possibly fictional future offspring, is now a reason for sending condescension my way.

Nice to know how much respect I can expect for trying to remain level-headed.

Did it occur to you that "the climate change itself isn't that much of a problem" does not equal "Let's do nothing about pollution and our extremely problematic consumption of resources!"?

Jesus fucking H Christ... Sometimes I understand mass murderers...

Re:Not gonna matter anyway (5, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353626)

The key is to learn to ADAPT to the changing climate, not try to exercise control we don't and can't have.

And that is exactly what is happening. Continuing to cut down forests and emit CO2 during a warming trend, would be failure to adapt.

Re:Not gonna matter anyway (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353732)

How frickin dumb are you?

If it's caused by human emissions of CO2, then it would seem that stopping the emissions before it gets too bad would indeed be stopping it. Not stopping pumping CO2 into the atmosphere would be making it worse.

So, it doesn't matter whether we're the cause or simply incidental, you're an idiot either way.

If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (4, Insightful)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353342)

I can't see the validity in an argument justifying Western emissions based on the emissions of developing nations. Just because they're not doing their bit, doesn't mean we shouldn't do ours.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353366)

It wouldn't be a huge problem if we weren't trading with them.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353384)

Because it's a cost to that nation's economy and therefore makes participating nations (assuming they actually attempted to hit their goals) less competitive than those countries that aren't participating. When you raise the cost of doing business in your nation, you slow growth.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353424)

And this is the problem: finite resources, people. We *must* stop growth or we're going to make the Earth uninhabitable. In fact we *are* going to stop growing, but it would be really stupid if the reason we stopped growing is because we'd consumed the planet and we're all dead. We need a steady-state economy, not an economy where anything but growth is a catastrophe.

Unfortunately... (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353686)

... the western economic model is a giant ponzi scheme based on getting people to buy more and more crap they don't need - ie growth. One day its going to collapse - badly - but the head in the sand economists just don't want to know.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (5, Insightful)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353508)

There must be something to gain from research into greener ways of doing business.

I work in the maritime industry and green initiatives are working hand in hand with rising oil prices to make fuel and hull efficiency a source of great savings for owners and operators. This is driven by research and engineering in areas like CO2 scrubbers, hull coatings and simple things like using energy efficient lighting.

Sure, burning less fuel might put less money back into the pockets of oil companies, but there's got to be a better future at the end of this road than burning dwindling supplies of heavy fuel by the millions of tons and smogging up the place.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353396)

I believe mainly an economic concern. It is cheaper for a company to pollute than it is not to pollute. Having to conform to environmental goals is like a "tax" on a company, which has to be passed down to the customer in the form of higher prices. There is tons of concern over all manufacturing jobs moving to China, imagine if now Canadian companies now had to spend even more to produce a product, and companies in China didn't.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353462)

I believe mainly an economic concern. It is cheaper for a company to pollute than it is not to pollute. Having to conform to environmental goals is like a "tax" on a company, which has to be passed down to the customer in the form of higher prices. There is tons of concern over all manufacturing jobs moving to China, imagine if now Canadian companies now had to spend even more to produce a product, and companies in China didn't.

What's the status of international law regarding tariffs on products from non-participating nations?

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353652)

See, that's what would need to happen for any of this stuff to work. The politicians need to say: "look, China and India, you don't have to go green if you don't want to... but the entire developed world will embargo your asses if you don't!"

Of course, it'd probably start World War 3...

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353620)

It depends on the industry I suppose, many "green" technologies have reasonable scope for ROI through energy savings. Whether through renewable energy sources or efficiency savings, going green doesn't have to mean long term price increases. Simple moves like raising awareness of energy efficiency and environmental concerns must add up to reduction in emissions. I've noticed amongst my friends a growing appreciation for simple things like turning off lights and not leaving tech on standby, not particularly to save the planet, but because they know it saves them money (depending on the appliance of course). I know I'm now much more likely to take the energy efficiency rating of white goods into consideration when making purchases, and I doubt I'm alone. Surely that adds profitability to researching new "green" methods for manufacturers and designers?

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (2, Informative)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353448)

You would have a great deal of difficulty with such an argument if you were trying to base it on facts anyway. This picture [wikimedia.org] tells a slightly different story to the one that the crowd who complain about India and China would have you believe.

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353572)

Dividing it per capita has that effect. What are the gross numbers, since that's all that matters to the atmosphere?

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (3, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353644)

That is a terrible way of looking at it. The US has a population 75 times the size of the country I live in, and a per capita CO2 output 1.8 times as high. Are you suggesting that us increasing ours by a factor of 135 would be acceptable?

Re:If they're not doing it, we're not doing it. (1)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353688)

What are we looking for here then, emissions by surface area? Emissions by GDP?

Oh noes! It's not the *EVIL* United States?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353352)

OMG! Heads are exploding!

Good, hair shirts won't save us (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353358)

We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

Emissions restrictions are dead in the water on the global scale. Instead, how about we start from the premise that people are going to strive to live rich, comfortable, high energy lives, and that they're going to keep having lots of kids who will expect to have more than their parents had.

There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353452)

We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

Emissions restrictions are dead in the water on the global scale. Instead, how about we start from the premise that people are going to strive to live rich, comfortable, high energy lives, and that they're going to keep having lots of kids who will expect to have more than their parents had.

There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

Well said - every point.

(Except that IMO we ought to trim our population back to about one billion total, for long-term sustainability on this planet. Like that's going to happen.)

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353502)

When the food supply drops so that the planet can only support one billion, the population will fall to one billion. The question is, which billion?

I doubt the sifting process will be pleasant.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (0)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353526)

Solution: Let's ship ourselves to the off-world colonies.

In other words, get your ass to Mars!

(Like that's going to happen either. I don't think there's facebook access out there.)

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353606)

That brings up a good point... What kind of innovations would we see if we had groups of humans who could no longer talk to each other easily? They could share research, but the daily interaction wouldn't be there. There's almost nowhere on Earth that is off the internet... And certainly nowhere that's easily inhabitable.

But moving some of us to Mars... Not only would the adverse conditions promote innovation, but the lack of easy contact with the rest of us would also promote home-grown solutions for things like social networks, and could actually promote growth.

It would be a truly interesting time.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353704)

What kind of innovations would we see if we had groups of humans who could no longer talk to each other easily?

The same kind of innovations we saw before groups of humans could talk to each other easily, i.e., less of them?

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353512)

Thought-provoking article, though her solutions are probably too 'radical' for many, by (Canadian) Naomi Klein:
http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (3, Interesting)

erikkemperman (252014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353514)

Whoops screwed up the link:
here it is [thenation.com]

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (2)

bug1 (96678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353516)

And if we could generate clean energy at half the price as energy from coal, then what do you think will happen to the price of coal, do you think it might go down, can you see a problem ?

Capitalism alone can not solve this problem.

No country can be allowed to act in its own best interests and ignoring the fate of everyone.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353768)

The price of coal does not depend solely on its relative scarcity. It also depends on the wages of the coal miners, the costs of the equipment to mine it and move it, and so on.

I've already seen serious claims that space-based solar could provide electricity at half the cost of coal within a decade, if it was pursued. Those projections are probably optimistic - but still, there are many possibilities and several of the most interesting are almost never even mentioned.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353540)

There may be more to it than that. China and India also prepare to be the first victims of global warming and they know it. They have all interest of getting all the power and money they can - they will not cripple their economy now. Also there is no hope that any type of climate treaty will be followed if it put any country at a disadvantage (see what happen in Europe with the EUR crisis: nations behaves between themselves like middle managers in a large organisation: blame shifting, petty strategies to look good, let the other fails to look better yourself, don't help John because his wife had the same dress as yours at the Christmas Party, ... and complete disconnect with either their people or the world around them)

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353580)

It isn't hypocrisy to say "holy shit, save yourselves and don't make the same mistakes we did."

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353598)

We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

False. We're trying to tell them they can't go the same way we went, because the planet can't sustain it. It's still hypocritical, but it's NOT the same thing you're saying. There are ways to have these things without destroying the planet. China is not exploring these ways.

Even if every decadent Western nation beggars itself (and we won't) then India and China will pick up the emissions slack within a decade or so (and they will anyway).

Well yes, that's why Kyoto fails.

There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

We have the technology TODAY to replace the MAJORITY of our energy consumption with wind, solar, biodiesel from algae, and the like. We are not using it. The problem is not technology but WILL.

tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

You forgot "when one world government forces people who now enjoy an industrialized lifestyle to live in mud huts"... I mean, that's not the only outcome I see possible, but it's another outcome.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353622)

Well said if a bit oversimplified.
For example, what happens if when India and China refuses we(the western world) puts some exorbitant import tariffs on everything exported from India or China?
Sure this would hurt us but it would hurt them a lot more.

This is of course not reasonable action especially since a very large part of the US national debt is controlled by China but I'm just saying that the western countries are not without options, everything is not black or white.

If politicians really wanted to get at the problem they could for example enact laws that apply directly to companies(situated in America/Europe/Japan or with a physical there presence since that would nake said companies subject to local law) that does business in India/China either directly or through subsidiaries.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1, Insightful)

ElrondHubbard (13672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353636)

tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.

Two words: Carbon tax. Oh, did I say the dreaded "T" word? Please beat me senseless now, Mr. Norquist.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353640)

There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks

I think both may be necessary. No matter how efficient we become at using energy, we still have 7 billion people eating, consuming, polluting, and other otherwise destroying the planet.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353676)

There are essentially two solutions: cull about 4 billion people, or throw resources at clean power until it sticks, and I mean trillion dollar tranches of funding at fusion.

I think you mean there's only one solution, because if you keep assuming exponential population growth even inventing fusion tomorrow would only buy us a few decades.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353756)

We're trying to tell the teeming masses in India and China that they can't aspire to have luxuries like refrigerators, washing machines and cars. Quite rightly, they don't give a damn about our rank hypocrisy.

We're telling them that they shouldn't make the same mistakes we did over the last century or so. We're telling them that they should look to efficiency and proper urban design to reduce their need on fossil fuels (which are become more and more expensive). We're telling them to be mindful of pollution (have you seen the air in Beijing?).

No one is saying that they can't have luxuries; what is being said is that we are being wasteful of resources and we have to be smarter about designing and building things to be less wasteful.

Re:Good, hair shirts won't save us (1, Interesting)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353766)

The elites of those two countries don't give a shit about the masses therein, I don't see how they could expect you to. This is what has blown my mind about America in the past when I've visited, population of 1/3rd of a billion and every single one thinks they are somehow special, it's what gives America it's character I guess. Also, Chinese masses have refrigerators, washing machines and cars, mostly what is making everyone upset is house prices at the moment, those other things are cheap.

Tar Sands (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353364)

Conservative government that is about to make huge amounts of money for their oil buddies with the tar sands in the midwest part of the country.

Yeah I can see why they want out of the Kyoto protocol.

that $13 billion number is likely the amount they're about to reap from tar sand processing

Re:Tar Sands (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353426)

Conservative government that is about to make huge amounts of money for their oil buddies with the tar sands in the midwest part of the country.

Yeah I can see why they want out of the Kyoto protocol.

that $13 billion number is likely the amount they're about to reap from tar sand processing

Or kickbacks for the politicians...

I wonder if Japan will pull out as well.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353388)

Unfortunately due to the earthquake, I wouldn't be surprised if Japan's CO2 output increased considerably this year. A very large # of nuke plants(not just Fukushima) have been shut down for maintenance and safety reviews, and may not be started up for a while. So Japan has made up the difference through a combination of saving energy and oil/coal plants. Obviously those plants have to be outputting a huge amount of CO2, not sure if it will cause Japan to miss it's targets, but naturally there is going to be a lot of pushback if other countries start complaining about Japan's CO2 output....

Don't blame Canada (1)

Craefter (71540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353404)

I can't say I'd blame them. As long as there are other countries gaining an economic advantage at the cost of environmental damage then I don't see that another country should pick up their crap and decrease their export because it's so cheap to produce in such "dirty" countries.

As long as there is such an active oil lobby and alternative energy sources like nuclear fusion is being treated like something from Star-Trek I don't see any short term improvement by forcing countries to reduce their carbon footprint.

BTW: Has Canada been given the favor they their trees are eating up a lot of the world's carbon dioxide and producing oxygen? Prolly the next thing scientists are coming up with is that oxygen is making global warming even worse.

Finally we can be saved by escalation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353416)

Escalation ended many wars (including the 2nd)

Escalation will end the war on global warming too

But I still have a lot of respect for the people who think they can improve the world with language. Their reality is better than the one I live in.

Re:Finally we can be saved by escalation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353524)

I see where you are going.

It is like the UK letting the financial construct called "Europe" (same name as the continent) escalate by not being interested into the advantages or problems of the EURO.

wish the Aussie pm saw this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353438)

we still get a carbon tax

Lost cause (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353464)

There is no fair treaty acceptable to the West. Some of us westerners dabble with percentages ("20-20-20"), but the fair treaty would take the total sustainable emissions and divide it evenly between every man, woman and child on the globe.

That fair deal would of course send all of the rich nations back to the 19th century, and no politician would seriously even speak it out loud. Easier to blame India and China for being the worst polluters.

In fact, even that "fair" deal wouldn't be so fair since the rich West has already been able to grow its industries for centuries with virtually no pollution controls. So we should allow the developing nations a similar century of free reign, and to balance, maybe ban all emissions in the West during those hundred years.

And in the end, the fundamental problem is the sheer number of people on the globe. If only we could get the total world population down below one billion, we could get a handle of the problem. The population reduction might come yet, but is there a way to do it humanely by voluntary birth-control?

Re:Lost cause (2)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353772)

Noting that the reality in China and India make the Kyoto Treaty pointless is not the same as blaming China and India.

This is a good day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353556)

This is a good day to be an American.

problem (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353564)

The problem is that we need people who think long-term to solve this. But none of the people in power do.

In the west, politicians think roughly until the next election and that's it.
The 3rd world countries either don't care or are so unstable that anything that hurts now in order to get a big pay-off tomorrow means the end of the current regime.
And China, India, Brazil, etc. are growing so fast that pretty much the same holds true, except that it's because of the growth dynamics and not political instability.

So basically, we're heading for the wall. We know it. Nobody dares to grab the wheel because it means unbuckling your seat belt.

More detailed explanation (5, Interesting)

Badaro (594482) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353608)

An interesting explanation of what lead to this was posted by an user on Reddit [reddit.com] . (Disclaimer: I'm not from Canada, so I can't confirm/deny what that user said, but there's plenty of upvotes and comments from other canadians lending some credibility to his explanation.)

"This is actually way more complicated than the one paragraph article makes it seem. To fully understand this, you have to know a little bit about Canadian politics. So now I'm going to talk a little bit about Canadian politics.

By some measures, Canada is the most decentralized country in the world, barring absolute anarchies in Africa and all that shit. Power is divided between the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments in an entirely non-hierarchical manner; provinces and the Federal Government each have their own distinct spheres of influence, and the Federal government cannot tell a Provincial Government what to do within the provincial sphere any more than a province could give the Federal Government orders within the federal sphere of influence.

Without getting into huge amounts of details about how power is divided, it's sufficient to say that much, if not all of the powers that would be required to enforce the Kyoto protocol are within the Provincial sphere of influence, however the Kyoto Protocol was signed by the Federal Government essentially unilaterally. So then the Federal Government has to try to bring the provinces on board with Kyoto, to avoid shirking international responsibilities, but it has no power to force the issue. So then, surprise surprise, some of the provinces dont feel like shooting their oil economies in the foot to play ball with a treaty that they never agreed to. Particularly Alberta, which is basically Canada's Texas, decided that the Federal Government had nothing big and scary enough up their sleeve to threaten them into compliance, so they decided they were not going to enforce the Kyoto Protocol internally at all, and the Federal Government could do absolutely nothing about it.

So now it's in a position where it has to either severely cut carbon for every other province that's willing to play along or pay internationally for Alberta's decision to not give a shit. Yes that's right, the Federal government would have to pay for Alberta not meeting the pollution requirements. Not fair? Well then the Federal Government should have made sure people were on board with this before signing instead of bringing home an unpopular treaty it had no power to enforce. OR the Federal Government can drop out of the Kyoto Protocol, as it has done, learn from the mistake and make sure to get the approval of Provincial governments before signing the next environmental treaty that will undoubtedly come up.

TL;DR: Canadian politics is hella complicated, and while no one likes pollution, Peter Kent is 100% right in the article: Signing Kyoto, especially in the way Canada signed it without enough internal support, was a mistake."

Re:More detailed explanation (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353734)

[The Canadian] Federal Government could do absolutely nothing about it.

So I guess the Canadian Constitution doesn't have anything equivalent to the Elastic Clause or the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution? Lucky them...

As a Canadian, let me apologise. (0)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353646)

Our government is run by a bunch of jerkoff crackpots.

Bad PR (3, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353678)

It's going to be hard to convince any nation to sacrifice for air quality when China has smog as thick as peas soup over major cities and pretends it is not a problem (link goes to http://observers.france24.com/ [france24.com] article):

http://tinyurl.com/85xkhka [tinyurl.com]

BS alert (1)

Ian-K (154151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353696)

Mr Kent,

It's 13.6bn dollars that would affect the Canadian super-rich companies, not the average Joe Canadian. If the wealth were equally distributed, maaaybe.

Such populisms are old tactics and it's not exactly flattering for you to use such an old impression stunt...

First Nation (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353700)

Am I the only one who initially read the headline to mean that one of the Canadian First Nations (i.e. what USers call Native American tribes) had pulled out of the Kyoto Accord, and wondered when they became recognized for international relations?

Re:First Nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353746)

i think so

O Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353754)

... you rock! Good game!

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