05 April 2009

Kyoto is doomed

Meredith Niles looks at the US 'Clean Energy and Security Act' :
Buried about halfway through the monster 648 page draft is a crucial statement: “controlling emissions in small as well as large amounts is essential to prevent, slow the pace of, reduce the threats from, and mitigate global warming and its adverse effects.” I couldn’t agree more, which is why I was shocked to see that the bill fails to address greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, factory farms, and animal manure whatsoever—and even goes the extra mile to specifically exempt the entire sector from any type of regulation. New climate legislation overlooks a major GHG source: industrial ag
This short excerpt supplies two reasons why, in my view, Kyoto is doomed to fail. First, monitoring small amounts of emissions is inherently going to be expensive, intrusive and divisive. But if it's not done, then controlling emissions of specified gases (let alone controlling climate change) is just not going to happen. Second, and even more obviously, if favoured sectors are exempted from Kyoto's provisions (on what basis?), then Kyoto will fail.

It's hopeless: I firmly believe that only an outcome-based approach has a chance of working at a reasonable cost. The point is simple: if we want to reduce climate instability, we should reward people for reducing climate stability. We don't know whether trying to control greenhouse gas emissions is the best way of doing that, so we need to give incentives for people to find out. About the only thing we can be certain of is that not limiting greenhouse gas emissions will do nothing to stop climate change. And that's exactly what's happening.

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