Highlighting a rift between the rich countries and emerging economies like China, New Zealand’s climate change minister has staunchly defended his government’s decision to drop out of the emissions pact for developed nations, saying it’s an outdated and insufficient response to global warming.
First of all, we are not dropping out. The commitment period was for 2008 to 2012. That ends in 27 days. Our commitment was to have net greenhouse gas emissions during those five years less than our emissions in 1990. We will achieve that target (due to foresty offsets).
Some (not all) Kyoto signatories are voluntarily making a binding post 2012 commitment. These countries represent 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. The NZ position is we will agree to a further binding commitment – but it needs to include the major emitters.
Any deal which does not include China, US and India is near worthless in an environmental sense.
Now there is an argument that those countries responsible for 15% of the emissions should show moral leadership and agree to further binding commitments, as this will cause the rest of the emitting countries to be shamed or encouraged or forced into making their own reduction commitments.
That is a reasonable argument. Except for one thing. It has been tried and failed. That is what the first commitment period was about. The arguments for Kyoto were not that it would make an impact on global emissions and temperatures (the impact is minor and almost non-existent) but that it would lead to more comprehensive deal with all countries.
It didn’t. China and India and others refused any sort of binding commitment. So I just do not accept that a Kyoto 2 will lead to China and India (and the US) agreeing to GGE reductions. In fact I think it will achieve the opposite.
Countries should hold out for a comprehensive all (bar the most minor) countries agreement. Anything less will be ineffectual.