Kyoto might be finished, but what next?

There’s news of European Union pressure on China to explain what sort of obligations it might be ready to adopt


The policy Stephen Harper’s government on climate change has been so weak that anyone interested in the issue could be forgiven for assuming that the official Canadian stance going into this month’s negotiations in Durban, South Africa is indefensible.

Environment Minister Peter Kent has been brushing aside questions about persistent reports that Canada plans to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol at the close of the conference, which is meant to set the stage for a new phase in the global protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Kent’s tactical evasiveness looks shifty. It would be better for him to come clean now that the question of Canada’s intentions is such an open one. Still, it’s worth considering that pulling out of Kyoto might be a respectable outcome—if there’s a real prospect of something better taking its place.

The fundamental question is whether the accord can be widened, as it surely must be, to require fast-developing countries, like China and Brazil, join the rich industrialized nations in accepting mandatory emissions cuts. That’s the Canadian government’s basic position. And it is also put forward this month in an editorial in the highly regarded science journal Nature.

Back when Kyoto was being negotiated in the 1990s, the editorial points out, it was still possible to divide the world into rich (high emitting) and poor (low emitting) countries. But now 58 per cent of global emissions are coming from developing economies. That can’t be ignored.

Nature contends that even if  “a handful of rich nations still bear a heavy historical burden for global warming, it is unrealistic to expect today’s politicians, who can barely look forward more than the next four or five years, to look back two centuries into the past.”

To get the the two biggest fossil-fuel burners, the United States and China, to agree to mandatory controls, the next stage of global climate-control action must somehow be made much wider than the Kyoto—and so Nature concludes the protocol should be allowed to die in Durban.

What might come next? Well, there’s news of European Union pressure on China to explain what sort of obligations it might be ready to adopt. Skeptical that Beijing will ever agree to anything substantial? That’s understandable. Yet I’d rather far see the Canada siding with the EU in at least trying to forge ahead, instead of being lumped in with Russia and Japan as a country that merely refuses to agree to any new goals.

Nature‘s stance might give a responsible intellectual justification for letting Kyoto lapse, but it hardly lifts the obligation from the Canadian government to make constructive efforts to be part of what comes next. So far, there’s no sign of that.


Kyoto might be finished, but what next?

  1. If you stake out the high ground on climate change, you’ll eventually be in the majority.
    Btw, what will Kent use to signal his Gov’ts withdrawal? Sitting quietly holding an ostrich feather?

  2. “The policy Stephen Harper’s government on climate change has been so weak …. ”

    Harper Government policy wicked awesome, the world isn’t warming. The reason we talk about climate change now, and not global warming, is because the world isn’t warming. And for billions of years, the climate has changed daily on earth but some ignorant fools are now claiming they are smarter than Gaia and will be able to stop Mother Nature by raising taxes. 

    Other than raising taxes during worst depression since 1930s, what is plan to fight non existent global warming masquerading as “climate change”? 

    Adam Smith ~ Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition

    Q) Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
    A) Yes, but only just.


    • Adam Smith ~ Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition

      LOL…Tony you’re priceless. Are you aware of what self irony is by any chance?

    • Stop cherry picking quotes to misrepresent people.  From further down in that same article: “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

      Stop talking when you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.  I refer you again to the above quote re: your comment of “the world isn’t warming”

      Stop insulting people who have way the hell more experience and expertise than you do on these matters, or putting words into their mouths when that’s not at all what they’re saying.

      In short, stop being an asshat.

      • Fact: “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming ….. Yes, but only just.”

        Enthusiasm/Superstition: “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed.” 

        Richard Feynman: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts

        “Beliefs come first; reasons second. That’s the insightful message of “The Believing Brain,” by Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine … Our brains tend to seek out information that confirms our beliefs, ignoring information that contradicts them …. Mr. Shermer marshals an impressive array of evidence from game theory, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. 

        A human ancestor hears a rustle in the grass. Is it the wind or a lion?”

        • And science is actually the technique of discerning belief from reason. Which is why it’s probably a good idea to believe actual scientists over random asshats who only know how to quote people out of context.

        • Fact: “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming ….. Yes, but only just.”Enthusiasm/Superstition: “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed.”

          Er…no actually…they’re both statements of opinion by a man who believes he’s dealing with facts as he knows them and is eminently qualified to utter those opinions, because he believes they are founded in science. In what way are you qualified to judge his answers?

  3. “Skeptical that Beijing will ever agree to anything substantial?”

    ChiComs will agree to very little because they have no desire to wreck their economy. China will develop green technology to sell abroad to idiotic waeguks. 

    China To Embrace Fracking: 

    China is leaving no shale deposit unturned in its effort to develop indigenous energy resources. On 24 November China’s Ministry of Land and Resources geological exploration department head Peng Qiming said during a press conference that China’s combined oil and natural gas output, 280 million tons in 2010, is projected to rise to 360 million tons of oil equivalent by 2015, a 23 percent increase in four years and will rise to 450 million tons by 2030, a 62 percent increase over 2010 production, impressive rises in production by any yardstick.


  4. My biggest criticism of Canada’s so called more realistic position is that there is little or no evidence we are actively trying to sell it by strenuously arguing that we can’t affford any more delay and that timelines for not breaking the 2c barrier are becoming awfully short. IOWs there’s mounting evidence that we are are a negative rather than positive actor here, for the simple reason that at the very least our govt is still skeptical of the science, and many suspect even actively hostile to its conclusions.Maybe they’re just playing to the peanut gallery – their core, but that is a very irresponsible and likely dangerous game.

    B.Russell railed against dogmatism, in which he defined it as having two components – the dogmatist and the true Skeptic; both he argued are dangerous because they worship the god of cetainty. This makes the skeptic useless too since he’s certain we’ll never know so why bother. 

  5. The policy Stephen Harper’s government on climate change has been so
    weak that anyone interested in the issue could be forgiven for assuming
    that the official Canadian stance going into this month’s negotiations
    in Durban, South Africa is indefensible.

    Perfect. Now it matches with everything else that has to do with the Climate Change industry.

    • “Perfect. Now it matches with everything else that has to do with the Climate Change industry”

      Sure, i remember you were one of the ones hollering your head off over the East Anglia/Jones affair – any aknowledgement from you that you had your facts backassward?
      That along with a lot of others you didn’t know what you were talking about? And you have the gall to talk about a CC industry. 
      You may be prepared to gamble with your kid’s future but i’m not. The switich to a greener economy can only have good long term benefits, even if only viewed from an improved pollution/air/water and public health perspective alone. Instance the noise pollution in our cities and the enormous stress it places on citizens – more electric vehicles there would see a huge benefit to our health and eventually the internal combustion age can be resigned to honourable retirement[ it has served us well] 

      Or don’t you have any kids yet – or don’t you care?

      • “…any aknowledgement from you that you had your facts backassward?”

        Being conservative means never having to admit when you’re wrong. Just ask Nixon, Bush, Harper, etc.

  6. Just imagine the wreck we’d be in if Dion had actually managed to pull off his coalition.
    I pity the fools that actually bought into the Kyoto scam.

    •  “Just imagine the wreck we’d be in if Dion had actually managed to pull off his coalition”

      As you frequently demonstrate your capacity for logic is only seemingly matched by your ability to imagine the hypothetical.

      Assumption: Dion would not have adapted to to worsening economic circumstances.

      Assumption:A coalition wouldn’t listen to expert economic advise in such circumstances

      Assumption: That if Dion wouldn’t listen someone would be found who would .

      Assumption:That a problem only ever has but one solution and one party that can pull it off.

      Why can’t you just say that might have been one possible outcome, but we’ll never know now? Right, because you just know better!  

      • So what are you saying kcm2?

        That Dion in adapting to the world economic crisis would have dropped his “Green Shift” and Kyoto obligations like a hot potato?

        Actually…that’s probably what he would have done if he wanted to survive as PM. 

        • Pretty much, athough i doubt he would have dropped Kyoto. It is conceivable that the green shift would have gone on the back burner once the angry emails started piling up – highly likely i’d say.

  7. The Kyoto  has failed miserably. It did not achieve it’s goals as a wealth transfer scheme.

    I’m sure it will be replaced with another scheme based on the premise that humanity and mother earth will perish unless we send boat loads of money to the the third world via the UN.

    Brace yourself for even more hysterics from the same crowd.

  8. Anyways…. came across this today which i found interesting

    “A NASA satellite found that 430 billion metric tons of ice melted in Greenland from 2010 to 2011, and the melting is accelerating.
    What’s even more troubling to scientists is that there’s been a record darkening of the normally white Arctic land and sea. White snow and ice reflects solar energy, but a melting darker Arctic in the summer absorbs that heat.”



    • Harvey Mushman says you and your nerdy science are hippies and engaged in a giant global conspiracy to transfer wealth for some reason that’s not exactly clear.

  9. Kyoto has never been a priority of any Canadian Federal Government since it’s inception. It’s been a nice side piece  when the opposition of the day runs out of talking points but never was it ever a threat to be seriously implemented. Financial motives will triumph until a much larger part of the population feels it “must” happen.

  10. Kyoto: the
    historic moral bankruptcy of Canada

    Accused by
    media to follow the United States, a country which it reviles and betrays for
    months, Canada is in fact itself betrayed in Durban by China which invests in
    its bituminous sands while asking that it reduces its greenhouse effects gases!

    It is a
    lose-lose situation for Canada in Kyoto’s file. Accused of sabotaging Durban’s
    negotiations to kill Kyoto, Canada received many fossil of the day prices as
    the country having the most blocked these negotiations. A living humanism
    treasure, the archbishop Desmond Tutu considers now Canada as one of the worst
    countries in the world!

    Because of
    bituminous sands

    situation, which is not recent, has a central cause. Already, in 2007, with the
    aim of protecting the increasing production of petroleum from the bituminous
    sands of Alberta, the conservatives had announced that Canada would not reach
    its greenhouse effect gases reduction target of 6 % under the level of 1990.
    The only country in the world to deny its commitment, Canada increased it by
    more than 30% since instead. 


    retreat of the Kyoto protocol could be seen by future generations as an insult
    to countries most threatened by climatic changes. Kyoto was finalized in 1997.
    The 13 warmest years of the planet append since. In fact, 2011 is one of the
    warmest ever recorded years. The temperatures increase has already raised the
    probability of extreme climatic conditions. Climatic changes already produce disastrous
    effects in the poorest countries.


    defends a dangerous position, which could be considered immoral in history
    books. Kyoto’s protocol is the heart of the international efforts to fight
    against climatic change. In Durban, Canada has the historic responsibility to
    have prevented strengthening measures, which are already insufficient. Future
    generations, entangled in the disastrous results of climatic changes will be
    able to finger point Canada as an important cause of their misfortunes. Not
    only, Canada does not respect at all its commitments towards environment, but
    it made it in such a way as it will carry the historic weight to have prevented
    world efforts to stop global warming.

    Deceived by China

    Although it is only a minor producer of greenhouse
    effect gas, Canada’s hypocrisy is actually destroying its international
    reputation. By an irony history books will not miss, Canada is doing it because
    the worst world polluter duped him. In spite of the fact that China is the biggest
    investor in Canada’s bituminous sands, it has just signed a text with India,
    Brazil and South Africa demanding developed countries to strongly reduce the
    emissions of greenhouse effect gas! Having betrayed the United States to follow
    China, Canada is now sacrificed in Durban by its new friend!

  11. Global cooperation on collective action problems is possible, but it takes a big stick. For instance, in the 80’s Britain and American banks faced a serious challenge from under-regulated Japanese banks. However they managed to cow the Japanese into adopting international capital regulations (the Basel Capital Accords) by threatening consequences.

    Unlike Kyoto, any international environmental agreement must have an enforcement mechanism. Probably this would involve something like the threat of tariffs. If the EU and US can make that threat credibly agreement is possible. Of course you’ll need more than just China on board. Getting China to adopt reforms on its own will simply encourage high-emitting industries to move to India or elsewhere. 

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