Friday, December 14, 2007

Environmental Experts in Fantasyland

I saw Gwyn Prins interviewed on CBC today. He is a strong critic of Kyoto and seems at first to agree with Bush and Harper but for the most part only in a critique of Kyoto. While Prins' critique of Kyoto is to a considerable extend well taken his alternative is pure fantasy and just encourages more hot air and less action. There is an article by Steve Rayner and Prins in the National Post back in October.
Do these experts really expect the US, Canada, China, and India to place the matter of global warming on a war footing. What on earth would this do to the Oil Sands Project. Is Canada or the US willing to in effect close it down. I wouldn't hold my breath. While Kyoto may have failed the alternative recommended by these experts is certainly to fail for exactly the same reason as Kyoto failed, polluting countries refused to actually follow through on their agreements for the most part and what these experts recommend is even less likely to be followed. What the experts are doing in reality is a form of apologetics for those with the worst environmental records since their positive recommendations are pure fantasy. None of the major polluters are going to put energy research and development on a wartime footing. Well they might rhetorically,but it would be like the war on poverty a war that is lost or forgotten.

What is needed is a massive increase in spending on clean-energy technologies, say Prins and Rayner, who want energy research and development placed on "wartime footing."

"It seems reasonable to expect the world's leading economies and emitters to devote as much money to this challenge as they currently spend on military research -- in the case of the United States about $80 billion a year."

Here is the critique of Kyoto:

Echoing sentiments long associated with politicians such as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President George Bush, the report says it is time to ditch the Kyoto Protocol because the United Nations treaty has "failed."

Not only has the decade-old treaty not delivered cuts in global emissions of greenhouse gases which continue to soar, but it is the wrong tool for the job, say Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics and Steve Rayner at Oxford. Their commentary has top billing in the influential British science journal this week.

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