PNAS Paper Confirms Climate Policy Is A Failure – “Growth In Global CO2 Emission Has Remained Strong”

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Steffen Hentrich here of the Liberal Institute, a think tank of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom brings our attention here to a PNAS paper written by Glen P. Peters, Jan C. Minx, Christopher L. Weber and Ottmar Edenhofer titled: Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008.

Transfering efficient manufacturing to developing countries leads to more CO2 emissions, and not less. Photo source: Library of Congress CALL NUMBER LC-USW36-376

Though not saying it directly, the paper calls current climate policy a failure. It’s right there in the very first sentence (emphasis added):

Despite the emergence of regional climate policies, growth in global CO2 emissions has remained strong. From 1990 to 2008 CO2 emissions in developed countries (defined as countries with emission reduction commitments in the Kyoto Protocol, Annex B) have stabilized, but emissions in developing countries (non-Annex B) have doubled.”

That folks, is what we call POLICY FAILURE – period. In fact climate policy has likely produced just the opposite of what was intended, meaning more CO2 and not less.

The authors quantified the growth in emission transfers via international trade. To do this they developed a trade-linked global database for CO2 emissions covering 113 countries and 57 economic sectors from 1990 to 2008. Here’s what they found, taken from the front page:

…emissions from the production of traded goods and services have increased from 4.3 Gt CO2 in 1990 (20% of global emissions) to 7.8 Gt CO2 in 2008 (26%). Most developed countries have increased their consumption-based emissions faster than their territorial emissions, and non–energy-intensive manufacturing had a key role in the emission transfers. The net emission transfers via international trade from developing to developed countries increased from 0.4 Gt CO2 in 1990 to 1.6 Gt CO2 in 2008, which exceeds the Kyoto Protocol emission reductions. Our results indicate that international trade is a significant factor in explaining the change in emissions in many countries, from both a production and consumption perspective.”

What does all that mean? It means that the developed countries are simply moving their CO2-intensive industry off their territory, and placing it on territories that are exempt from mandatory reductions, i.e developing countries. This what they call emissions transfer. The result: less CO2 emissions at home, but huge, greater increases in the less efficient country that took over the industry. This is what the study has confirmed.

Indeed the whole scheme backfires because undeveloped countries often have lower environmental and technical standards, and so produce the goods with considerably higher emissions and real pollution. Then add the transport of these goods from these developing countries back to Europe or North America, which adds even more CO2. And let’s not even look at the biofuels debacle the fossil fuel hysteria led to.

The PNAS paper writes in the discussion part (emphasis added:

Under the IPCC accounting rules of only reporting territorial emissions, many developed countries have reported stabilized emissions. However, our results show that the global emissions associated with consumption in many developed countries have increased with a large share of the emissions originating in developing countries. This finding may benefit economic growth in developing countries, but the increased emissions could also make future mitigation more costly in the developing countries. In addition, we find that the emission transfers via international trade often exceed the emission reductions in the developed countries.”

So what do the environmental and economic masterminds intend to do about it? Not much for now. Solving the emissions transfer problem of course would mean massive interference in global markets and end up punishing developing countries. The authors recommend:

We suggest that countries monitor emission transfers via international trade, in addition to territorial emissions, to ensure progress toward stabilization of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Monitor? Now they don’t mean that countries start thinking of ways to restrict trade, now do they? The more they meddle with the economy and trade, the more they are going to mess everything up.

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7 responses to “PNAS Paper Confirms Climate Policy Is A Failure – “Growth In Global CO2 Emission Has Remained Strong””

  1. Peter Whale

    It was never about co2 depletion, it is about money and control.
    Just look at Australia politicians they are trying to reduce their co2 emissions with a carbon tax but exporting more coal to China than the total of their whole co2 emissions. Hypocrisy is what politicians do best.

    1. DirkH

      Oh, they’ll just let more native vegetation sequester CO2 on land that was supposed to be owned by farmers. Any maybe start importing food to avoid a famine.

    2. Jimbo

      I agree that it was never about co2. The people know full well that co2 output will continue its upward rise for sometime to come (decades at least). It’s really about making carbon investments and getting very rich indeed. For the scientists it’s about continued funding, influence, prestige and alarm.

  2. DirkH

    O/T You know what’s funny? The registrar who signed Obama’s birth certificate was called U K L Lee. Like in “Ukulele”. Funny names these Hawaiians have.
    http://www.fivefeetoffury.com/2011/04/nothing-proves-that-you-were-born-in-hawaii-more-than-a-signature-from-u-k-l-lee/

  3. DirkH

    “”Der Atomausstieg schadet dem Klima nicht”, sagte der Präsident des Umweltbundesamtes, Jochen Flasbarth, der Mittwochsausgabe der ‘Financial Times Deutschland’.

    Zwar sei es richtig, dass Deutschland mehr Treibhausgase ausstoßen werde, diese würden aber durch den Emissionshandel in Europa an anderer Stelle eingespart.”

    “”Getting rid of nuclear power in Germany will not harm the climate” the president of the Federal Office for the Environment, Jochen Flasbarth told the Financial Times Deutschland in their wednesday edition.

    He said it would be correct that Germany would emit more greenhouse gases, but through the emissions trading scheme in Europe these greenhouse gases would automatically be compensated for in other places in Europe.”

    IOW: When we angst ridden Germans shut down their nukes, the Brits will have to emit less CO2 – we will simply prize them out of the CO2 “market”…

    found here
    http://www.ftd.de/unternehmen/industrie/:experte-atomausstieg-schadet-dem-klima-nicht/60044094.html

  4. Paddy

    Don’t you like the way photos are doctored to make steam coming out of a stack look like evil, noxious gases?

  5. DirkH

    The American Left proudly proclaims that Global Warming-induced Tornadoes prefer to flatten republican states.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/29/never-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste-tornado-deaths-blamed-on-lawmakers-opposed-to-climate-legislation/

    Of course, the German Left shares this opinion.
    http://www.rf-news.de/2011/kw17/29.04.11-monstertornados-in-den-usa-ganze-wohngegenden-sind-weg

    (found via a routine check of the keyword “Erderwärmung” in google News – For Google, WUWT is not news, but this Marxist-Leninist scum is… go figure…)

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