CSC: NZ must not volunteer for another Kyoto


by Hon Barry Brill

There are implications for New Zealand arising from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will get down to business for the 16th time in Cancun, Mexico next week [this week – Ed]. While packing their bags for their departure on Monday, the New Zealand Ministers, Tim Groser and Dr Nick Smith, need to pause to consider what will be in the best interests of we Kiwis whom they will represent. They know already, in advance, that no decisions of any consequence will emerge from Cancun. Rather than seeking to bask in international acclaim by supporting tiny steps toward an uncertain and not yet fully understood destination, they should lead a call for a review of the science to determine, once and for all, whether there are valid grounds for the computer-modelled hypothesis of dangerous warming being caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Unless and until science can definitely confirm that hypothesis, there is no point in allowing money to continue dominating the agenda, as the 193 countries in attendance try to reach consensus on a Long-Term Co-operative Action (“LCA”) agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions.

More importantly for New Zealand, the meeting will also address a proposal that the Kyoto Protocol Annex 1 nations (“Kyoto Countries”) be charged with financial responsibility for further emission reductions after the Protocol expires in December 2012.

Of the 38 Kyoto countries which originally ratified the Protocol, the European Union signed collectively on behalf of itself and its 27 members. Six of the remaining ten are also from Europe. Only a handful of non-European countries volunteered – Russia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

Unusually, the Protocol allows all 27 full members of the European Union to be treated as a single bloc or ‘bubble’, so that the allocation of country commitments is an internal EU matter. The Protocol represents the high-water mark in achievement of the EU’s slogan of “ever closer union” and has special political importance. The EU also operates the region-wide ETS, which is one of its most important governance functions.

How Al Gore got carbon trading

The selection of 1990 as the Base Year for calculating allowable emissions ensures that Kyoto obligations rest very lightly on Europe. In 1990-91, Soviet-style governments were deposed all over Eastern Europe, leading to closures of vast swathes of inefficient high-emission industries. At the same time, the coal industries of Western Europe collapsed in the “dash for gas” made possible by the 1991 arrival of pipelines from the North Sea gasfields. Because of these historical happenings, a 1990 Base Year allows Europe to bank ample carbon credits to carry them through the original Kyoto Protocol commitments.

The Protocol was the outcome of a mammoth negotiation in Kyoto in December 1997. The breakthrough came when US Vice President Al Gore agreed to 1990 being accepted as the Base Year in return for the EU withdrawing its opposition to trading of carbon credits. Russia was also a party to this “Grand Bargain”, when assured of its right to sell the massive volume of “hot air” carbon credits earned by its industrial closures in the early 1990s.

As the three parties – EU, USA and Russia – accounted for more than 70% of global emissions in 1997, it was agreed that the Protocol would come into effect when it was ratified by countries responsible for 55% of global CO2 emissions.

After the US Senate voted 95-0 for a resolution opposing any Kyoto agreement, President Clinton did not pursue US ratification. Australia also declined (until it changed its position in 2007). But the 55% target was reached in early 2005, and the Protocol’s 2008–12 commitments then came into effect.

No-win situation either way

Helen Clark’s Government ratified the Protocol in 2003, on the basis of calculations by the Hon Pete Hodgson that New Zealand would earn a windfall of about a billion dollars during the 2008-12 Commitment Period. Five years later, a subsequent Minister announced forlornly that we would lose approximately a billion dollars. The current Minister, Hon Nick Smith, having paid out $1.6 billion dollars from ETS taxpayers to forest owners, believes the country will be in credit at the end of 2012, but could be in trouble if there should be any future Kyoto commitment taking us beyond 2020.

Is there any reason why New Zealand should support “Kyoto Two”?

First, let’s be clear that this is a “no-win” negotiation. If we accept future commitments, we add real contingent liabilities to the New Zealand balance sheet – but, in return, we will not receive any assets (contingent or otherwise) or income of any kind.

The NZIER-Infometrics modelling undertaken for the ETS Select Committee made it quite clear that future Kyoto commitments could only be met by buying foreign carbon credits, and the sole issue is whether the financial pain will be lethal or merely excruciating.

Secondly, if we were to sign up again, we would be the only Kyoto Country outside of Europe. The USA’s chief negotiator, Todd Stern, has stated repeatedly that Kyoto has no future, and the USA won’t touch it. Canada, Japan and Russia have all made it very clear that they won’t be there next time, and they will probably be joined by Australia.

Even the EU itself is equivocating, saying it was taken for granted at Copenhagen, and won’t agree to a second Kyoto unless developing countries offer something in return.

Thirdly, another Kyoto would be a red herring – little more than a distraction from the serious issue of a universal LCA. The future Kyoto Countries include none of the top ten current emitters, and none of the top ten fastest-growing emitters. Why would New Zealand invest serious money in a treaty which leaves 84% of global emissions untouched?

All pain, no gain

What can Kyoto 2 offer from a ‘greenhouse mitigation’ viewpoint? Kyoto 1 held the promise that it might slow global warming by four years out of the next hundred (with very favourable assumptions). As New Zealand’s emissions amount to only 0.2% of global totals, its voluntary acceptance of further financial commitments could buy the planet less than a day’s grace – next century! How could the Minister justify this?

Finally, Kyoto was always a grossly unfair arrangement. It is based on the assumption that “rich” countries should carry the whole burden because they can well afford to absorb higher energy costs. Flattered at being thought rich, New Zealand was fitted with much more onerous commitments than Germany, UK, Norway, etc. Many other richer countries – such as Singapore, UAE, South Korea, and Hong Kong (not to mention USA) – have no commitments at all.

By almost any measure, this country has already gone way beyond its “fair share” of the global cost of mitigating greenhouse emissions. The cabinet paper presented by Hon Nick Smith in September 2009 stated that New Zealand should have much lower reduction targets than most other developed countries on an “equal cost” basis:

“This is because the equal cost approach reflects New Zealand’s higher population growth rate, lower mitigation potential and lower GDP per capita, when compared with the average Annex I country. Based on the current targets announced by Annex I countries, of 15% below 1990 levels, the equal cost approach would imply a target for New Zealand of 15% above 1990 levels”.

Successive governments justified ETS legislation by reference to our Kyoto obligations, and there is now a temptation to use our ETS to justify further Kyoto obligations. Thankfully, governments are too smart to be caught by that sort of circular reasoning. Aren’t they?

Hon Barry Brill, OBE, is a former Minister of Science & Technology and former Minister of Energy. He is currently chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

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If you can see this so clearly, Barry, why can’t other politicians see it equally clearly? Or do they get a kick out of ‘bigging themselves up’ (as my English friends would say) by chucking mountains of the Revenue dollars at the UN for no good purpose, Revenue dollars that hard-working Kiwis had to pay? The Japanese have walked away from Kyoto (as far as we can tell at this moment), the Canuks have dumped the whole AGW idea and some American senators are petitioning Miz Clinton to get back the money they have chucked at the UN to pay for goodies in ‘developing’ nations so it is obvious to me that the wheels are at last falling off the alarmist trolley. We are freezing here in the UK, up to our knees in global warming, but the Coalition politicians here seem hell-bent on economic suicide and madly in love with wildly unproductive windmills. Thank God the Brits cancelled our British identity back in the sixties, so being British in the wider world doesn’t have to embarrass us over this fiasco, although it seems that those who ratified the Kyoto thing on our… Read more »


Interesting comments, and thanks for your support.

We watch Britain’s woes and shake our heads in wonderment. The country we once called “mother” is self-destructing, with obscenely inadequate power generation plans, ridiculous, dogma-driven, long-term forecasts from the Met Office and an adolescent attitude to spending all possible present and future cash to feed the global warming myth, knowing it supports only carbon trading (like the lottery, under a spell of striking it rich) and a dreamy emancipation of the third world. All paid from the efforts of hard-working ordinary people. You’ve had strong hands at the tiller for a while; now you need sensible ones.

Mike Jowsey

Thanks Barry for a good clear outline of the Kyoto history and issues. Especially revealing about Gore’s involvement early on, setting the foundation for his current exorbitant wealth.

Here is Smith’s response to a question in the House on 27th October:
9. Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green) to the Minister responsible for International Climate Change Negotiations: Will New Zealand support a legally binding agreement to cut global greenhouse gas emissions at the Cancun climate change conference this December; if not, why not?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Acting Minister responsible for International Climate Change Negotiations) : Yes, that is this Government’s ambition. This was the position at Bali, at Copenhagen, and it will also be so at Cancun. However, all indications are that this is unlikely to be achieved at Cancun, but New Zealand is ready and willing to make as much progress as is possible.

Richard C (NZ)

“By almost any measure, this country has already gone way beyond its ďż˝fair shareďż˝ of the global cost of mitigating greenhouse emissions” Also misdirected research methinks. Andy has, on the Energy and Fuel thread, discovered that the spectroscopy of methane has been misinterpreted so funds pledged at COP15 have been applied to animal research when instead they should first be 100% sure of the heating effect of methane by intensive spectroscopy and physics study (yeah right). See There is also still the problem of Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, chief science advisor to Prime Minister John Key. From Scientists warn of climate future shock Sat, 04 Dec 2010 9:00a.m. – TV3 [Snip] An obvious example is climate change, a major focus of the conference. Mr Lowe explains that as the world’s temperature creeps up, melting Arctic ice releases methane, a greenhouse gas – causing more warming. As the ice caps get smaller and more of the world’s surface becomes ocean, less solar radiation is reflected back into space, and more of it is absorbed – causing further warming, and so on. Scientists refer to such sequences as ‘feedback loops’, and the particular complexity… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Blam! Kapow! Climate Scientists in Verbal Brawl

December 03, 2010

Blam! Kapow! Smack! The bell has rung for the latest round of climate talks, but the battle continues among climate scientists too, making only one thing truly clear — the science of global warming simply isn’t settled.

Continues………(featuring Prof Don Easterbrook)


Maybe Dr Vicki Pope (of the UK Met Office) will sort it all out when she arrives at Cancun.
That’s right, the same Met Office that was forecasting a mild winter for the UK.

But wait, there’s more. Dr Pope is stuck at Gatwick Airport, snowbound!

Richard C (NZ)

So now we can add

“unusually dry and mild winter”


“barbecue summer”

This is too much fun.

Richard C (NZ)

“CSC: NZ must not volunteer for another Kyoto”

Delicious irony isn’t it – that Japan is bailing out.

Should invoke morosity on “The Climate Show” and Hot Topic.

An opportunity for schadenfreude just too good to pass up.

Richard C (NZ)

James Delingpole is not letting the chance go by. Signs that show Man Made Global Warming is Definitely Still Happening As your boiler breaks down, your pipes freeze, your car won’t start, your Ocado delivery fails to arrive, your train is cancelled, your neck is broken after slipping on black ice and you lie in an emergency ward waiting for a doctor to turn up only to learn that they’re all off today because of the weather, you might be forgiven for thinking that all this has something to do with global cooling, changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the decline in sunspot activity perhaps auguring a new Maunder minimum. But you couldn’t be more wrong. “It’s all actually a sign that man made global warming is very much a live issue and that there’s more of it happening than ever,” says a top scientist, who holds the British record for securing grant-funding for global warming research projects so he must know what he’s talking about. “Look at the Met office,” the scientist goes on. “They’ve just told us that 2010 is the hottest year since records began in 1850 and even… Read more »

val majkus

The BOM’s David Jones (he of the BOM that NZ is getting NIWA’s audit done by) Reader Tony picks up another line of Jones suggesting that the weather is like a Rorschach blot to him that he always interprets as “warming!”: From the quoted World Today transcript: DAVID JONES: You know, the huge fires in Russia for example clearly have a climate change component to them. Oh really? The following historical correspondence is a translation from the original Russian-language source (found via a comment at WUWT) which shows there is nothing new, or climate change related, about fires and droughts in Russia (apologies for length): 1298: There was a wholesale death of animals. In the same year there was a drought, and the woods and peat bogs burnt. 1364: Halfway through summer there was a complete smoke haze, the heat was dreadful, the forests, bogs and earth were burning, rivers dried up. The same thing happened the following year . . . 1431: following a blotting out of the sky, and pillars of fire, there was a drought – “the earth and the bogs smouldered, there was no clear sky for 6… Read more »


I found out via Delingpole’s Facebook page that the UEA are taking a Press Complaints Commission case against him for an article he wrote recently.


It looks like the wheels are really falling off the wagon now.

CancĂşn climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

• Latin America outraged at foot-dragging by rich
• Wealthy countries say little chance of deal now

Richard C (NZ)

Andy, have you contacted Adrian Vance? I’m on a mission to get some graphics, plots, articles that describe in laymans terms the spectroscopy and heating effect (or lack of) that Adrian points out. on November 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm Adrian Vance The IR wavelength range thought to heat the atmosphere is between 0.7 microns and 15 microns. In that range methane has negligible absorption, that on the order of nitrogen a gas classified as “transparent” to atmospheric heating IR. Thomas at HT made a bland statement re methane. The science must be settled in his mind. Thomas December 5, 2010 at 9:19 am Hydro plants are not such a clear cut thing. Drowning a valley will release vast amounts of CO2 as plants and topsoil decompose. Later these lakes become Methane emitters. The key to communication of the obscure heating mechanism of CH4 (or CO2) is simplified graphics. Trenberth has shown that oversimplified graphics are even better. Searching Google Images with – “atmospheric absorption bands” turns up some plots The best I can think of is a graphic similar to the H20/CO2 “window”, which I haven’t got ready access… Read more »


Andy, have you contacted Adrian Vance?

Short answer, no.

But it is on my list to do so. I need to read up on CH4 first. This is a very interesting avenue, of special interest to NZ.

Richard C (NZ)

After looking at methane (and carbon dioxide), I’ve made this conclusion:-
Nick Smith advised the Cancun conference that “New Zealand has no objection in principle to a second commitment period”

“That is why in Copenhagen we launched the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and why we welcome the 29 countries who have joined us.”

Except MAF (Alliance Secretariat) won’t divulge the research allocations and spending so far – “a matter for domestic processes at the moment” apparently, so we don’t know where the $45m pledged at COP15 is going.

And now that CH4 levels have plateaued, methane emissions are no longer an issue worth considering.

Baring Head CH4

NZ Ministry for the Environment (NIWA – Baring Head CO2 CH4)

Global tropospheric methane

Carbon dioxide levels are no longer in lockstep with temperature so CO2 isn’t a problem either.

So there’s no need to extend the Kyoto Protocol Nick Smith.
And I’m posting it everywhere I can – every commentable post at NZ Herald, Pastural Farming and here for starters.

I’ll put it up where ever else there’s the chance it will get read, so any tips as to a topical blog post or news article Andy? Anyone?


The methane graphs that you posted, Richard, are very interesting, because they show strong intra-annual cycles.

Is this due to the effects of warmth or sunlight? I am not sure.

We clearly have an issue to deal with here, because NZ seems to have manufactured a problem (CH4) that no one else is even considering a this stage.

Richard C (NZ)

I’m wondering whether the first tranche of the $45m is being directed at animal nutrition (yield) with lip service to CH4. That would explain MAF coyness.. I restrained myself from pointing out to the MAF contact that from the outside, all we can see is MAF officers on travel junkets (Banff, Canada – nice) with no accountability. I’ll give it some time, but questions are begging. Re the CH4 plots. The Ministry for the Environment has the audacity to display the CO2 and CH4 plots on their website. The important thing is not the strong intra-annual methane cycles (Mauna Loa shows the same for CO2), but that CH4 has plateaued (it’s not a problem) and CO2 is not correlated to temperature (it’s not a problem either). From CO2 Science:- “we feel confident in suggesting that if the recent pause in CH4 increase is indeed temporary, it will likely be followed by a decrease in CH4 concentration, since that would be the next logical step in the observed progression from significant, to much smaller to no yearly CH4 increase.” “So what has been responsible for the recent dramatic slowdown — and possible ultimate… Read more »

val majkus

Global Warming… no Global Cooling… no Global Warming…NO, IT’S COOLING! Global Cooling: “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age.” Time Magazine, September 10, 1924. “MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age” The New York Times, September 18, 1923 “The possibility of another Ice age already having started… is admitted by men of first rank in the scientific world, men specifically qualified to speak.” The Los Angeles Times, June 28, 1923 Global Warming: “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer.” Time Magazine, Jan. 2, 1939 “America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise” The New York Times, March 27, 1933 “Permafrost in Russia is receding northward up to 100 yards per year.” Time Magazine, 1951 “Winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing.” U.S. News and World Report, Jan. 8, 1954 Global Cooling…. Again? “Scientists Ponder Why World’s… Read more »


What possible outcomes are likely for NZ?

It looks quite likely that the Cancun talks will fail to come up with any agreement. The EU block is in total financial and political disarray. Who knows where they, or their carbon schemes will be in a year or two.

Will Australia push through an ETS?

Does NZ’s ETS have any political mileage on a world stage?

My guess is that we’ll be saddled with this thing forever, as it’s too hard to undo, with a truckload of complex legislation for no financial or environmental gain.

Meanwhile, we continue to borrow $250 million a week, and risk losing more of our skilled workforce across the ditch.

Richard C (NZ)

Loans on easy terms (up 75% forgiven) from EU

Insurance funds from UK

Get stuffed from JN

Baaa from NZ


Today, Nick Smith advised the Cancun conference that “New Zealand has no objection in principle to a second commitment period”. This was after every other non-European Annex 1 country (except Australia) had stated very clear objections.

He also pointed out that New Zealand was the only non-European country to adopt an ETS.

And this is from the Government elected on a promise to do no more than its “fair share”.

Richard C (NZ)

“That is why in Copenhagen we launched the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and why we welcome the 29 countries who have joined us.”

Except they won’t divulge the research allocations and spending so far – “a matter for domestic processes at the moment” apparently.

And now that CH4 levels have plateaued, methane emissions are no longer an issue worth considering.

Baring Head CH4

NZ Ministry for the Environment (NIWA – Baring Head CO2 CH4)

Global tropospheric methane

Carbon dioxide levels are no longer in lockstep with temperature so CO2 isn’t a problem either.

So there’s no need to extend the Kyoto Protocol Nick Smith.

Richard C (NZ)

“As a developed nation New Zealand has a responsibility to assist our Pacific Island neighbours who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

That is why we have refocused our Overseas Development Aid programme on the Pacific and are investing in a number of climate change-related projects such as cyclone-resistant buildings in the Cook Islands, upgraded jetties in Vanuatu and solar power support for Tonga.”

“refocused” ?

As long as it’s just the normal Overseas Development Aid budget – no problem.

They can even call it “climate change-related” for all I care.

Just keep the UN out of the loop and fulfill NZ’s Pacific obligations.


Jo Nova has some interesting news too.

The UN wants nothing less than 1.5% of our GDP.

That’s $212 billion from the USA every year ($2700 per family of 4).

That’s $32 billion from the UK every year ($2000 per family of 4).

That’s $13 billion from Australia every year ($2400 per family of 4).

Richard C (NZ)

Hey Groser – don’t give 1 cent to the UN Green Fund


Shub has another post up on REDD

We should remember that Nepstad, cited in the article, was the scientist at the heart of the Amazongate affair, the dubious science that underpins the WWFs claims to the Amazon.

WWF have stitched up about $60 billion in carbon credits by promising not to cut down the Amazon, so they are very keen indeed to see the REDD scheme go ahead.

Booker’s article on this is here:

Our “leaders” are stitching up one of the biggest scams on the planet, at our expense.

Richard C (NZ)

Look at those billions.

What we don’t see is a definition of “wealthy country”

If indebtedness and the ability to repay is taken into account, the list of wealthy nations would look entirely different to what’s generally accepted – USA would be at the bottom.

Those billions also make “Exxon gave $10m to the sceptics” look pathetically moronic.

If the UN and WWF can be cut out of the loop – fine, otherwise:-


Richard C (NZ)

Progress but agreement unlikely at Cancun – Smith 10:48 AM Friday Dec 10, 2010 – NZH Climate talks in Mexico won’t reach an agreement but significant progress is being made on core issues, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith says. New issues around fresh water and fossil fuel subsidies, the latter dialogue led by International Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser, are also now part of the mix at the United Nations talks in Cancun. The goal of the talks is a new 190-nation deal to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which obliges almost 40 developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Last year’s talks in Copenhagen made little progress. The major dispute is that developed countries want emerging economies to also commit to emissions cuts, while developing countries, led by China, insist the developed world must first deliver results. “There will not be a final agreement but there will be significant progress around many of the core issues,” Dr Smith said this morning. He was hopeful that a binding treaty could follow on from the talks. New Zealand will sign up to… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

“He was hopeful that a binding treaty could follow on from the talks.”

I’m not.

The only signing Smith and Groser need to do is the Hotel Register.


The talks are in a very constructive mode and recovering from the train wreck of Copenhagen

– Nick Smith

Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said the “knife-edge” talks in Mexico are in danger of becoming a “car crash” if countries cannot compromise.

continues Huhne

Next year ministers will not bother to come, they will send senior civil servants, then they will not bother to come they will send junior civil servants. What we will end up with is a conference which is a zombie conference where there is nobody at a senior enough level to make decisions.

If Chris Huhne is off this planet, then where is Nick Smith? Another universe?

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