Posted by Tim Stobbs on December 18, 2009
Well for two weeks we have been under a blast of media coverage on the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen all asking the same question: will there be a new deal international deal on CO2? The answer has been known for months: likely NO.
Why all the media coverage? Everyone keeps hoping someone will cave in and they will get a new deal despite two years of negotiations between these governments. If you can’t sort out the major points like targets and funding in two years what makes you think you can get it done in days? The reality is everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room: Kyoto failed. With out China, India or the US it never stood a chance of making real difference to world for CO2 levels.
Which leaves us to an interesting conclusion. We can’t prevent climate change, that ship has sailed and we have missed the boat. So if you accept for a moment that we can’t prevent some of the effects, you can get over this obsession from people on needing an international deal. The reality is we can do this the old fashion way: via trade. What we need is for the US, Canada, Europe to pass their own CO2 reduction regulation and jack up tariffs on any high CO2 imports. Then if they also tie their technology and development adaptation aid to the country receiving the aid having a regulations in place you will seem most places fall into line. A deal without all the current drama.
The draw back between this method instead of an international deal will be trying to link up any cap and trade systems. Yet the reality is finance people will sort that out. Perhaps each country will have it’s own CO2 currency complete with exchange rates to other systems. If China has a poor verification system perhaps 1 tonne of CO2 reduction there is only worth 0.25 tonnes in a US system. In the end things will work out, but just too late to do any real prevention.
So that’s my thoughts on this whole mess as it goes into its last day. What did you think would happen at Copenhagen? Were you hoping for a deal?