Most of the US Senate barely believes in climate change, let alone doing anything about it. Most other nations play lip service, but blame economic travails for postponing hard decisions. Some think the recession will buy us time. Not so. Last year saw the biggest annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded – almost 6 per cent. This was mostly due to China, India and others burning more coal, the dirtiest fuel.
There could be a Plan B. Even without a Durban protocol, some countries say they will meet voluntary national targets. The European Union has legislated to cut emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. China, Brazil, Mexico and some others say they will reduce the "carbon intensity" of their economies – the amount of CO2 they emit per unit of GDP - though their emissions will probably continue to rise. A few US states, led by California, plan to cap their emissions. Some see this resorting to a voluntary approach as doomed. Others see it as the only way forward. Durban will also see negotiations on ... offsetting their emissions by investing in forest conservation. This could kick-start a global carbon market and help create political consensus for a future deal.
But can there be a carbon market without a global deal first? Doubtful. Without legal limits on emissions, there are no legally enforceable emissions permits to trade, so a voluntary system could be prone to collapse. The price of carbon on the existing limited market, based around EU Kyoto protocol permits, has halved during November to below 6 euros per tonne.
Labels: Carbon Cult
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.