Articles containing the tag ‘Kyoto’

1 June 2009: Canada must do much more on climate change

Canada is responsible for only 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and also 2% of the historic contribution. However, it uses a third more energy per unit of GDP than the USA, has per capita annual emissions of 23 tons and is developing tar sands – a wasteful way (from the point of view of energy and water) of getting oil from tar, which is notable for being an even more polluting energy source than coal.

read more »

1 October 2009: Indonesian government bold on climate

I was preparing the statistics page on Indonesia yesterday, when I heard the dreadful news about the two earthquakes in Sumatra. Earthquakes are not caused by climate change and, obviously, dealing with the consequences of these ones is currently more important than anything else. However, because the speech on Tuesday by President Yudhoyono, in which he announced plans to cut his country’s emissions by more than a quarter by 2020, was bold and progressive, it deserves to be highlighted.

read more »

14 December 2010: How good was Cancun?

The Cancun climate summit made some progress in three important areas: forests, funding and CCS. None of these was dramatic, but at least the direction was right.

read more »

15 October 2009: Acting locally, thinking globally

“Think global; act local” – the phrase often used by of Friends of the Earth – is an excellent philosophy. Since most of us do not have the power to influence international events, we should focus more on taking practical steps in our own localities. Climate change is the ultimate global issue and it does not matter where greenhouse gases are emitted. So global thinking is needed. However, practical measures are more important than yet more thought and discussion or international targets. Copenhagen is important, but must not be the only focus at the moment.

read more »

16 December 2011: Was Durban a significant step forward?

Durban was better than Copenhagen and a bit better than Cancun. However, it was basically just an agreement to keep talking. Policy makers must not allow international negotiations to exclude progress on national and regional measures.

read more »

17 August 2009: Japan and green growth

Japan seems to have come out of recession and its economy is, once again, growing. This is potentially bad news for the climate, but need not be.

read more »

2 July 2009: Sweden leads

Sweden has taken over the six-month presidency of the EU. It was also president when Bush withdrew the US from the Kyoto Protocol and was central in rescuing this treaty. Therefore, the arrival of Swedes is good news for the Copenhagen Conference later this year.

read more »

20 October 2009: Major economies talk money, not targets

Most international discussion about climate change this week has been about finance, not targets. This is good news. Targets are important, but mainly for focussing attention.

read more »

21 December 2009: Was Copenhagen worth it?

Yes, just. The Copenhagen Accord is vague and, having been negotiated by a small number of countries led by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, was only “noted” by the Conference, not formally adopted. Some progress was made on finance and some on forest protection – though not nearly enough on either. None was made on targets.

read more »

22 April 2010: Earth Day – what have we achieved in the last 40 years?

Today is the fortieth Earth Day, so it is an appropriate time to consider what the environmental movement has achieved globally over the last four decades.

read more »

22 September 2009: A crucial week for the climate

Today, there is a UN Climate Summit, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called to inject momentum into the Copenhagen negotiations. And later this week, there will be intensive climate discussions between developed and rapidly developing nations at a G20 meeting. So, by the weekend, we will have a clearer idea of whether world leaders are serious or not about controlling climate change.

read more »

23 October 2009: Dutch and Danish climate progress

On Thursday 22 and Friday 23, I went to Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute for International Relations, for a seminar on how to meet the EU 20% renewables target. It certainly felt ironic for an Englishman to be invited to go and tell the Dutch what to do about renewable energy.

read more »

5 June 2009: European election, climate and agriculture

The Netherlands and UK voted yesterday to elect new members of the European Parliament, and the other countries will vote on Sunday. The European Parliament has significant powers over EU legislation, shared with the Council of Ministers (that is the National Governments), and the EU has a good set of binding climate targets, to be met by 2020.

read more »

7 October 2011: Has Europe given up fighting climate change?

The EU has long prided itself on leading international efforts to control climate change. Today, the issue is nowhere near the top of the EU’s agenda, having been eclipsed by the economic downturn and the eurozone debt crisis.

read more »

7 September 2009: Will Australia make climate progress?

One of Kevin Rudd’s first acts on becoming Australian prime minister was to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which his predecessor refused to do. Now, he is trying to introduce a cap-and-trade system to help deliver up to a 25% reduction in Australia’s emissions by 2020. This isn’t enough, but it is certainly better than denying the reality of climate change, as many of his opponents still do.

read more »

Agriculture and forests


Agriculture is only directly responsible for a small percentage of carbon emissions, but it is responsible for a higher percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions due to emissions of methane (particularly from cows) and nitrous oxide (from the use of manure and artificial fertilizers). As far as forests are concerned, as well as being beautiful, vital for biodiversity and home to millions of people, they are crucial carbon sinks.

read more »

Antarctic Blog – 30 March 2009

Brown Base

LONDON, ENGLAND. I am sorry to report that I didn’t have access to the Internet on the ship, so I was unable to blog as promised. However, here is a summary of what I experienced and learnt.

read more »

Australian climate change policy


Climate change could soon trigger an early election in Australia.

read more »

Climate powers, policy and performance in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London

Green Union Jack

The Labour Party came to power in 1997 committed to devolving powers to Scotland and Wales, and re-creating a London-wide government. It was also determined to improve the political situation in Northern Ireland and was willing to use devolution to achieve this. Therefore, the last 12 years have seen considerable change to the constitution of the UK. Climate change was not a driving force behind any of this, but, nevertheless, the new tiers of government have had significant impact on what the UK is doing.

read more »

Offsetting: What is it and is it desirable?


Much has been talked about ‘carbon offsetting’ in recent years and it is now a well known expression. But what is it and is it desirable?

Well, it is easy to define in three distinct ways, but whether it is a good idea depends on what is actually meant.

read more »

Spanish energy policies

Spanish solar energy

Spain is a strong example of how government can shape the energy system in progressive ways.

read more »

The practical effect of Kyoto targets

Treaty signing

In 1992, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was signed at the first World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro. The Convention did not set targets, but provided the framework for negotiations about targets. These were agreed in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

read more »