Klaus
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EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Tue Mar 05, 2002 9:34 am

The ratification process is underway. Since this topic had come up quite a few times before, this is an update on the current going-ons:

BBC article:

EU one step from Kyoto ratification

Kyoto seeks to limit humans' influence on the climate

Europe's environment ministers have agreed that all 15 member states of the Union should be bound by the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to limit humanity's influence on the Earth's climate.

Ratification of the treaty itself now goes to the European Council of heads of state and government, which could take the action as early as the EU summit in Barcelona, Spain, this month.

The ministers' agreement was reached at a meeting in Brussels.

"This means that the EU will complete the ratification [process] by 1 June," said European Commission spokeswoman for environmental protection Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen.

Diplomatic offensive

The protocol, the first details of which were agreed in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997, commits the EU to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases - gases that warm the atmosphere - by 8% of 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012.

The primary gas covered by the protocol is carbon dioxide, which is emitted as a byproduct of many industrial processes and when oil, coal and gas are burned.

To have legal status, Kyoto must been ratified by 55 countries responsible for 55% of the emissions in 1990. Because the US, the "world's biggest polluter", has rejected the protocol as damaging to its economic interests, all the other developed countries must push on with the process for it to come into force.

Since the US pullout, the EU has led a diplomatic offensive to ensure countries such as Russia, Japan and Canada stick with Kyoto. Those countries have said they will ratify but have yet to do so.

Green campaigners would like to see Kyoto ratified by the World Summit on Sustainable Development later this year.





In 1998, Germany (like other european countries) has already committed to lowering the emission of greenhouse gases by 21%; The present figure is an achieved reduction by 18.6% (according to government information). I don´t know details about the other countries right now.

It´s certainly not enough for the long run. But it´s a very real start.
 
jwenting
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:31 pm

One step away from economic suicide based on fake data produced by people who want to destroy the west.
I wish I were flying
 
Banco
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Tue Mar 05, 2002 10:51 pm

Not necessarily, Jwenting. Certainly the UK can afford to adopt the Kyoto protocol without any difficulties. In fact, the UK already easily meets the criteria. The reduction in heavy industry during the late seventies and early eighties, combined with the switch away from coal/oil fired power generation to gas and nuclear power means that there are few if any problems.

Of course, you could take the view that the UK would therefore benefit through other countries adopting the treaty and imposing costs throughout their economies.

That is for you to decide.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
jwenting
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 12:35 am

In many countries the reductions will be forced onto people without consideration for the economy.
The treaty will just be used as an excuse for more taxes on energy 'so people use less energy in order to reduce emissions' instead of an incentive to actively invest in nuclear power (other sources are useless, for example a solar plant is not cleaner than a coalpowered plant for the first 10 years of its operation due to the polution caused by the production of the solar power units).

In fact, many countries are replacing nuclear plants with coal and oil fired plants to pacify the environmentalists. Without a reversal in this worrisome trend the only option open to those countries (countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) will be to reduce their industry to pre WW2 levels.
I wish I were flying
 
avion
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 2:06 am

Jwenting: Great post! Nuclear power is the answer, it really is. Our school made a day-trip to nuclear plant where the showed us how everything works. It really is the cleanest of all energies.

Tom
I am serious, that wasnt ironic!
 
Banco
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 4:04 am

Jwenting, what you say about many countries closing their nuclear plants to pacify the environmental lobby is certainly true. It strikes me as a classic case of wanting to have your cake and eat it, as the only viable alternatives (i.e. coal, oil and gas) also have their environmental problems. Of course, the determining factor in nuclear power is a) the safety issue b) the removal of waste and c) decomissioning of reactors.

I do not propose here to go through the pros and cons of this, suffice it to say that views are fairly entrenched. Nevertheless, there does appear to be an attitude amongst some people of "No to everything". Less than helpful.

Wave, tidal and wind power have their place, but with current technology they can be little more than useful additions to the existing production chain.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Klaus
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Jwenting

Wed Mar 06, 2002 7:20 am

Jwenting: In many countries the reductions will be forced onto people without consideration for the economy.

Oh come on. We´re sacrificing a little short-term growth for ecological progress. But at least over here, most people know that efficient use of energy contributes to a higher quality of living - and it saves money and troubles in the long run.

Jwenting: The treaty will just be used as an excuse for more taxes on energy 'so people use less energy in order to reduce emissions'

There´s no excuse needed - that´s what they are for. Big grin

Jwenting: instead of an incentive to actively invest in nuclear power

Even the german nuclear industry has just refused to support the conservative chancellor candidate in a reversal of the nuclear exit strategy negotiated with the current government. The train has already left the station.

Jwenting: (other sources are useless, for example a solar plant is not cleaner than a coalpowered plant for the first 10 years of its operation due to the polution caused by the production of the solar power units).

1) The current generation of solar panels has become a lot better than that. And they live a lot longer than 10 years as well.  Wink/being sarcastic

2) The total energy balance the nuclear power plants is not a lot better (if at all). Even if you´re discounting the humongous efforts required to dispose of contaminated nuclear fuel, components and complete power plants, the massive overhead required makes nuclear energy quite inefficient. If there weren´t the huge subsidies on account of nuclear weapons programs, nuclear energy would be entirely unprofitable. You´re just paying most of your nuclear energy bill through your taxes, not to the utilities themselves...  Wink/being sarcastic

3) Everybody has recognized after 9-11 that nuclear plants are prime targets for terrorists. Especially in densely populated areas like Europe, entire nations could be wiped off the map by a major nuclear disaster. This has been one of the factors in the criticism against nuclear energy in Germany for decades, and even german plants (which are among the most heavily armored ones) are just protected against accidental crashes up to the size and speed of a Cessna; Certainly not against fighter jets or airliners aimed at them at full speed.

4) Electrical energy isn´t really the big issue (although efficiency can be increased a lot even there). There is still much more efficiency potential in heating, air conditioning, traffic and industrial consumption.

Jwenting: In fact, many countries are replacing nuclear plants with coal and oil fired plants to pacify the environmentalists.

Partially. Usually the new ones are highly efficient high-tech affairs, while at the same time old and inefficient conventional plants are retired.

By the way, we´re just now dismantling the former GDR nuclear plant in Greifswald. It wasn´t up to western standards anyway, but it´s still an opportunity to get specialists trained in this kind of project. And it´s a hugely expensive project at that. Dismantling nuclear plants is tricky business - and it´s about to become another successful export...  Wink/being sarcastic

This phase of the nuclear industry is just beginning - and we´re learning about the real costs as we go along. Please include several ten thousand years of guarded storage in your calculations, while you´re at it.

Jwenting: Without a reversal in this worrisome trend the only option open to those countries (countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) will be to reduce their industry to pre WW2 levels.

You´re plain wrong on that count. European industry already has for decades decoupled economic growth from increasing energy consumption - the trick is more efficiency on the consumption side. And the same is true for private consumers. We just don´t need ever-increasing amounts of energy to increase production - or our standard of living. We simply decided we didn´t want to waste as much as we used to.

And it works very well.  Big thumbs up
 
Klaus
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Avion

Wed Mar 06, 2002 7:26 am

Avion: Jwenting: Great post! Nuclear power is the answer, it really is. Our school made a day-trip to nuclear plant where the showed us how everything works. It really is the cleanest of all energies.

See above...
The trouble is that it only looks(!) moderately clean when you´re only looking at the power plant itself. All the rest of the conglomerate is a mess of contamination during mining and depositing, of nonexistent long-term strategies and huge subsidies which only make sense when viewed in the context of unlimited tax spending on nuclear weapon programs.

It pays to look a little deeper, especially on this topic!

Avion: I am serious, that wasnt ironic!

Then do get serious and inform yourself! Don´t just take the PR spin at face value. You´ll be the one to foot the bill!
 
PanAm747
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 8:10 am

I wouldn't mind seeing high environment standards everywhere in the world, but why now?

When much of the world is at war and economies are in recession. Why not wait a few years until things calm down and companies can afford to satisfy requirements without laying off their workers.

Shouldn't you always invest in capital when you have a high revenue?
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Klaus
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PanAm747

Wed Mar 06, 2002 8:30 am

PanAm747: I wouldn't mind seeing high environment standards everywhere in the world, but why now?

This is an ongoing process that has basically started in the seventies and eighties of the last century. Kyoto is just one of many consistent steps on a much longer journey.

PanAm747: When much of the world is at war and economies are in recession. Why not wait a few years until things calm down and companies can afford to satisfy requirements without laying off their workers.

This is not a one-off affair. We´ll have to pursue this strategy for decades, even centuries. It has worked well with industrialization, so our civilization knows how to deal with long-term projects - even (and especially!) when times are difficult. Which they won´t be for too long.

Either way, wasting energy is never a valid long-term strategy.

PanAm747: Shouldn't you always invest in capital when you have a high revenue?

What do you mean by that?
 
N400QX
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 9:18 am

My condolences.  Yeah sure
 
Klaus
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N400QX

Wed Mar 06, 2002 9:35 am

N400QX: My condolences.

I think you´re suffering from a minor misunderstanding. We know quite well what we´re up to.  Big thumbs up

Compared to what we already have achieved, Kyoto is not really a big thing. Had we been lazy all that time, however, it would be much more of a problem.  Wink/being sarcastic

The main point with Kyoto is to finally get a worldwide environmental strategy going. This challenge is just too big for a single nation.
 
PanAm747
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 9:42 am

Klaus-

So how about starting small first. Throw out all of the huge requirements in the Kyoto plan for now, and concentrate on small things, like increasing the fule requirements in cars a little bit (Bush is looking to do this with SUVs). Then when the economy starts rolling again, then step in with the big requirements and sweping changes.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
Klaus
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PanAm747

Wed Mar 06, 2002 10:28 am

PanAm747: Klaus-
So how about starting small first. Throw out all of the huge requirements in the Kyoto plan for now, and concentrate on small things, like increasing the fule requirements in cars a little bit (Bush is looking to do this with SUVs). Then when the economy starts rolling again, then step in with the big requirements and sweping changes.


Small steps are important, I agree.

But the point is that the devastation of our planet is still accelerating even now. We can´t afford to let it slip any more. Kyoto is already too little, too late for preserving hundreds of species, and foreseeably millions of human lives as well, which are increasingly threatened by loss of arable land, by droughts, floods and tempests.

We as members of a small, priviledged minority (the so-called "western world") can either try to hide in perpetuated ignorance or decide to get serious.

Investments in such a long-term strategy won´t usually pay off immediately. But the returns increase over time. And at least over here, we´re beginning to see the first signs that the strategy is sound - and rewarding.

I don´t think that the most powerful, richest and by own conviction most courageous nation on this planet should duck and hide on an issue that would have been an opportunity to demonstrate initiative, even leadership. This opportunity has been lost; But maybe not forever...
 
PanAm747
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RE: EU One Step From Kyoto Ratification

Wed Mar 06, 2002 11:15 am

>>And at least over here, we´re beginning to see the first signs that the strategy is sound - and rewarding.<<

I saw your occupation and you're probably very happy that your job isn't at risk. You have nothing to lose with this deal.

But the guy that makes Ford trucks might be laid off tomorrow because Ford needs to put its already diminished resources to satisfy the Kyoto plan requirements.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
Klaus
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PanAm747

Wed Mar 06, 2002 11:44 am

PanAm747: I saw your occupation and you're probably very happy that your job isn't at risk. You have nothing to lose with this deal.
But the guy that makes Ford trucks might be laid off tomorrow because Ford needs to put its already diminished resources to satisfy the Kyoto plan requirements.


The german car industry is booming. It´s hard to say if it´s despite the higher environmental requirements or because of them - through increased innovation triggered by the need to innovate. Right now, I could possibly make more money constructing cars than I do developing software. Wink/being sarcastic

Even DaimlerChrysler can only survive because DaimlerBenz is supporting Chrysler right now. Ford is in a bit of trouble over here. But it appears to be related to unattractive products more than anything else.

Standing still is the problem, not moving on!

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