How big a deal is this, really? Yes, Canada became the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, dealing a body blow to the anthropogenic climate-change hysterics movement. However, it’s not as if the rest of the countries that signed it have been successful in implementing it. In fact, the US achieved a real decline in carbon emissions during the Bush administration while simultaneously growing the economy, while Europe created a false decline by repeatedly revising the baseline for its formula.
Not coincidentally, two of the reasons Canada has decided to abandon Kyoto is its futility and the desire in Canada to grow the economy:
Monday’s announcement was not a surprise. Canada faced international criticism at the recent climate talks in South Africa amid reports it would pull out of Kyoto. Kent had said previously that signing the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was one of the previous government’s biggest blunders.
The accord requires countries to give a year’s notice to withdraw. Kent said the move saves Canada $14 billion in penalties for not achieving its Kyoto targets.
“To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agriculture sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada,” Kent said.
Harper’s Conservative government is reluctant to hurt Canada’s booming oil sands sector, which is the country’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and a reason it has reneged on its Kyoto commitments.
Canada wants to embrace the agreement reached in Durban this week, but that’s easy to understand. The Durban agreement, Canada says, will allow for job creation and economic growth. Why? Because it doesn’t actually require anyone to do anything for several years, and even at that point is much more aspirational than concrete:
Officials at climate change meetings in South Africa struck an 11th-hour deal to avoid the collapse of international negotiations over global warming, averting the worst fears of environmental advocates but doing little to immediately advance the cause of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
The deal would effectively postpone new concerted global action on climate change for at least eight years. However, given the political realities, particularly in the United States and China, it probably offered the best chance to move the process forward, analysts said.
The mood at the U.N. gathering in Durban was somber as the talks ended just before dawn Sunday, participants said, largely because many questions remained unanswered and the risk of a catastrophic increase in global average temperature had not been reduced.
Under the deal, nations committed themselves to talks aimed at reaching a legally binding agreement by 2015 that would limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. The limits would not go into effect until 2020 at the earliest.
So the “agreement” is a non-binding pledge to meet again and make another agreement in, oh, three or four years, and that agreement won’t have to take effect for another five years after that. The only commitments in the near future for the Durban agreement is some voluntary reduction goals that emerging nations won’t bother to meet and industrial nations will ignore. Just like … Kyoto.
All of this would be worrisome, if as the Miami Herald reports in the link above, carbon emissions will overheat the planet in the way that “widely accepted models of the Earth’s climate” predict. However, they have failed to predict pretty much all of the climate outcomes we’ve seen over the last decade or more, and the previously wide acceptance has transformed into considerable skepticism. Canada’s making the right choice in bailing out of Kyoto, and don’t be surprised if more nations follow suit.