Losing the ‘Carbon Pollution’ Wars

Global Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions (1958-January 2014)

The global war to fight atmospheric ‘carbon pollution’ (CO2) officially began on 2/16/2005.

That’s when Russia ratified the Kyoto Protocol. It sets legally binding greenhouse gas emission standards backed up by international law.

The carbon wars on all fronts are already lost. It took just 8 years. Shown above, the buildup of ‘carbon pollution’ in Earth’s atmosphere continues skyward.

The latest European turn-coating is explained in a New York Times story yesterday:
Europe, Facing Economic Pain, May Ease Climate Rules
– Steven Castle, New York Times, 1/22/2014

Heck, that’s just the tiny tip of the global-warmed iceberg. Many nations are already in full retreat. A new battlefield tactic must be devised. Mitigation triage may be the only viable option.

Drawing The Battle Lines

Emission percentage levels set for industrialized (Annex I) nations by Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto, by original design, set different standards for nations grouped into 2 categories:

  1. Industrialized Nations (Annex I)
  2. Emerging Nations (Non-Annex I)

By the end of 2012, each industrialized nation were supposed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by a customized percentage below 1990 levels. It’s a tough standard for a tough problem.

For example, the EU was required to be -8% below 1990 level emissions. Canada was supposed to be -6% its 1990 levels. The Russian Federation was to be a +0% of 1990 level while lucky Iceland was allowed to be +10 above its.

Kyoto sets greenhouse gas emission restrictions on the industrialized (Annex I) nations. There are 38 Annex I nations. Non-Annex I countries are exempt.

The standard is supposed to keep global warming below +2°C above Earth’s 1880 temperature. +2°C is the level above which the IPCC believes catastrophic effects start to show up that might not be reversible.

According to the IPCC, earth’s temperature has already risen +0.85°C. There is only +1.15°C to go before it may be to late.

How the Carbon Wars Were Lost

‘Carbon Pollution’ by Country and Kyoto Participation Level

The carbon wars are lost because:

  • Only 32% of ‘carbon pollution’ is covered under Kyoto
  • With Kyoto dropouts, ‘carbon pollution’ participation drops down to a measly 10.9%
  • Kyoto ‘carbon pollution’ standards were already delayed once from 2012 to 2015
  • Annex I countries are ditching Kyoto standards in favor of economic development
  • The current “pause” in global warming is sapping enthusiasm for the cause

None of the Non-Annex I countries restrict their ‘carbon pollution’ under Kyoto. That covers 68% of global CO2 emissions. The reasoning… restricting their CO2 output would stifle economic development and ruin emerging nation economies.

That wouldn’t be so bad except that Non-Annex I China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Saudi Arabia produced 40% of global ‘carbon pollution’, yet have stronger economies than most of the industrialized world!

China is the proverbial bull in the… welll…  china shop. In 2012 China produced 28% of the earth’s ‘carbon pollution’, almost twice as much as the United States. It is the 2nd largest economy. If anyone should be helping save the world from global warming, it’s China.

As 2012 approached it became apparent that no country would meet it’s Kyoto commitments, so they were delayed three more years until 2015.The commitments will not be met by 2015 either.

The problem for Kyoto is that by the time it was ratified in 2005 most countries were producing 10+ percent more ‘carbon pollution’ than they were in 1990. Kyoto literally set standards impossible to meet.

To make matters worse, Canada dropped out of Kyoto completely in 2012. Japan changed its binding commitment into a ‘goal’ and said it would not participate in phase 2. Russia grumbled to. A few months ago Australians, fed up with burdensome costs imposed to meet their ‘carbon pollution’ commitment, voted in a new government and got rid of it.

Today, the New York Times says that even the European Union is now backing off on its ‘carbon pollution’ commitment for economic reasons.


Obviously, when only 10.9% of the world’s ‘carbon polluters’ are participating in Kyoto and the remain countries are backing off their commitments; it’s clear that greenhouse emissions won’t be reduced much for decades to come.

That is why, as shown in the graph at the top of this article, CO2 is still rising. Expensive global efforts haven’t even put a speed bump into the rise. The 400ppm barrier will be smashed this year and it will keep on going up.

The ‘carbon pollution’ wars are lost. They can’t be won. Kyoto is to little, to late. to expensive and has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

The only logical choice is to re-purpose efforts to anticipate, respond and mitigate the effects of climate change as they occur. Apply more drastic Geo-engineering later if that becomes necessary.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jan 23, 2014, in Climate, climate change, culture, economics, Economy, Energy, environment, Global Warming, Government, Kyoto Protocol, news, Opinion, Politics, science, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. FEAR of the powerful source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945:

    1. Prevented humans from developing the source of energy Lord Francsis William Aston described in the last paragraph of his 1922 Nobel Lecture as “powers beyond the dreams of scientific fiction,” [1], and

    2. Caused the “fuel poverty” that has been fashionably disguised as “AGW” (anthropogenic global warming induced by CO2).

    Here’s the rest of the story [2]


    1. Francis W. Aston, “Mass spectra and isotopes,” Nobel Lecture (12 December 1922)

    2. Oliver K. Manuel, “A Journey to the Core of the Sun”
    _ Chapter 1: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Chapter_1.pdf
    _ Chapter 2: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Chapter_2.pdf

  1. Pingback: How The Carbon Wars Were Lost | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

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