Nice idea ... can't be done realistically.
Pie in the sky.
Nations Wince at Kyoto Reality
Zero Hour to Reconcile Economic Pain With Treaty's Clean-Air Goals
By TAMSIN CARLISLE in Calgary, Alberta, and JEFFREY BALL in Dallas
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (paid registration required)
February 16, 2005
With the Kyoto Protocol set to take effect tomorrow, a disturbing
realization is hitting many of the world's biggest global-warming
suspects: Trying to meet their obligations to limit global-warming
emissions under the treaty is proving a political and economic
What is confronting many of the industrialized participants is the
fact that turning their abstract environmental promise into tangible
economic policy is extremely unpopular with politically powerful
interests. Joining the Kyoto club was the easy part; now
governments have to figure out how to divvy up responsibility
for the cuts among companies and consumers that produce the
emissions. Particularly since economies -- and emissions -- in
many of these countries have grown significantly since the pact
was negotiated in 1997, the process is producing a nasty
Few nations among the roughly 130 participants are having as
tough a time figuring out how to clean up their acts as Canada,
a country whose European-style environmental pledge is crashing
into the reality of its American-size energy appetite. Canada has
pledged under Kyoto to cut its global-warming emissions to 6%
below the 1990 level by 2012. But its emissions actually are
rising, at an average rate of 1.5% a year.
Canada is struggling to meet its obligations to cut carbon-dioxide
emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. One problem is that its growing
industry extracting huge oil deposits from sand -- like the Athabasca
dunes - requires huge amounts of fossil-fuel energy.
If Canada's economy and global-warming emissions continue growing at
the current rate, its Kyoto pledge will require it to cut emissions to 35%
below what they would have been in 2012 with no action, says Pierre
Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
The culprit behind the squeeze: stronger-than-expected economic
growth in a nation whose residents consume energy nearly as
voraciously as their neighbors to the south -- and whose oil industry,
already one of the world's largest, is ramping up production in a way
that is particularly harmful to the atmosphere.
Canadian Environment Minister Stephan Dion said that, of all the
countries bound by Kyoto, Canada has the toughest emissions
target, but that he is confident his nation can meet it in a way that
strengthens the economy. Mr. Dion said industrial emitters will be
required to meet "demanding but fair and achievable" emissions
But Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, testifying before a
parliamentary environment committee last week, said Canada
needs a "more robust plan" if it is to meet its targets. Calling the
current blueprint "a work in progress," he said the government
needs to reorganize a significant amount of already-booked
expenditures to get "more bang for the buck."
Canada's predicament points to a headache faced by many
countries bound by Kyoto. The European Commission, the
European Union's executive body, says Ireland, Italy, Portugal
and Spain need to ratchet up their pace of emissions cuts if
they are going to fulfill their pledges. European nations have
faced industry pressure against cracking down too much on
fossil-fuel-powered economic output. Even the United Kingdom,
which is on track to meet its Kyoto goals, yesterday reaffirmed it
plans to loosen limits it is imposing on companies, in response to
Canada is in a particular pickle. Not only does the average
Canadian consume more energy than does the average European,
but Canada, unlike most European nations, is a huge oil exporter.
A growing portion of those exports comes from Alberta's "oil sands,"
vast deposits of sticky, black grit that constitute the world's biggest
known source of crude oil outside Saudi Arabia. Extracting and
transporting this molasses-like crude requires loads of electricity
and steam. That requires burning lots of fossil fuel -- and that
produces massive quantities of carbon dioxide, the chief suspected
[edit on 2/16/2005 by FlyersFan]