Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why Kyoto mean nothing, personally what to do next?

During the Internet chatter about the recent Eastern Australia Dust Storm. Some overseas people quipped about Australia not being a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. Others returned fire, saying that Australia had (two years ago). Some even then went on to figure point at the US.

Here is my thoughts about why Kyoto was always irrelevant.

Most countries that 'signed up' don't have any commitments (that was the only way to get them to sign). Most (All?) of those that did sign with commitments look like they won't meet their commitments.

The nature of the problem class (Tragedy of the Commons) means that everyone need to sign up to an agreed system of determining commitments. So they know what level of development will trigger commitments and what those commitments will be. The nature of the problem also meaning any action now (before global agreement) is only political manoeuvring and tokenism, and has no effect on the actual atmospheric carbon levels & climate. For every 'cow' you take off the commons, someone else will putting another 'cow' on (in China and India most likely).

As I've always said, there is no chance of global agreement until China & India fear civil unrest due to global warming (famine etc) more that they fear civil unrest due to poverty (staving because you're jobless). Don't think they are there yet, so I don't think anything will come from Copenhagen. Mind you the rhetoric from India in New York this last week in encouraging.

How best to spend your limited resources?

Building low carbon systems and building for resilience. What kinda low carbon systems to build now?

Resilience simply mean to do things to lessen the effect of global warning on you. Learn to grow you own food, add a rain water tank, renovate your house to be more solar passive, that kinda thing.

By all means build low carbon power sources, but remember what is important is only emissions during operations. You can emit all the carbon you want building it, you're only replacing coal fired power station carbon, in the race to get to China & India's climate pain threshold. Who know where the actual thresholds are? Guess we'll only know after we get there and everyone comes to a meaningful agreement!