Death of Kyoto – a Scottish view

Dear fellow followers of the Climate debate,

As a result of finding out that the Kyoto commitments technically comes to an end on the 31st December, the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum have been investigating the likely consequences of this both in terms of what is likely to happen to the protocol and the wide implications when (as it seems) the protocol effectively ends operation on the 31st December.

We have written this up as a report. The main intention of this report has been to try to find the actual facts and having sorted the chaff from the wheat, ascertain what this might mean (with particular emphasis on Scotland).

The report has been produced to coincide with today which is 100 days to Kyoto Ends, and it is available on the website (pdf).

For obvious reasons, the report is biased toward Scotland and we can only really speak with authority about the Scottish context. We will welcome any comments on the report, criticism or suggestions for improvement.

Mike Haseler

Summary of main conclusions

  1. Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol cease as of 31st December.
  2. The 3rd October 2012 is the latest date at which any amendment to the Kyoto protocol could have been passed for it to be operational by 1st January 2013.
  3. With no meeting planned, and huge delays for members states to ratify, there is no practical way for an amendment to be presented and ratified by the 143 members (3/4 of members).
  4. When the commitment ceases on the 31st December, all operational Articles stop being effective. The only active clauses appear to be 5 & 19 (estimate of greenhouse gases), 8 (review of national inventories) & 11 (financial obligations to undeveloped countries). Administrative functions such as meetings and procedures for amendments remain active.
  5. There is talk of bypassing domestic procedures for ratification by amending articles 20 & 21 to allow the amendment to enter into force before it is ratified by the parties. This will allow it to enter into force earlier than otherwise but will not stop the commitment ceasing on 31st December.
  6. In an almost unprecedented move, there is talk of a last minute extra-Kyoto-protocol agreement where some countries (particularly the EU) intend to agree to Kyoto-like commitments after the Kyoto protocol commitment ceases.

Political Impacts

  1. The practical effect of Kyoto has been marginal even possibly counter-productive.
  2. Kyoto was a symbol of a global political consensus. That political consensus has come to an end.
  3. It is most likely the Nov/Dec Climate talks will not agree any substantive extension to Kyoto or that it will be changed in any other way. If the goodwill was not there to change the commitments in the last 3 years it is not there to hurry through other changes which would reduce state influence.
  4. Europe, the main proponent for Kyoto, is likely to try to induce enough other states to assent to a form of political deal to give cover for the lack of Kyoto Commitments.
  5. Sometime over the next year, green groups will realise Kyoto has ended and start campaigning vociferously for a replacement to Kyoto. But their main impact will be to raise public awareness that Kyoto has ended and undermine emissions reduction policy.
  6. Anti wind & anti EU Parties like the UK Independence Party, will start campaigning in opposition to the European policy on climate. As wind opposition is growing, this will have knock on effects. In the UK it will push the Conservatives to become anti-wind potentially destabilising the UK coalition where the Lib Dems are strong advocates for climate policy.
  7. Scotland is in for a storm: historical accident; impending solar minimum; a government heavily committed to wind subsidies, needing to prove its economic credibility as oil runs out; these will make energy & climate a critical issue in the independence debate.

Mike Haseler, Chairman of Scottish Climate and Energy Forum
Tel: 0845 10 88 500
Address: 7 Poplar Drive, Lenzie, E.Dunbartonshire, G66 4DN, Scotland

Views: 406

8 Thoughts on “Death of Kyoto – a Scottish view

  1. Andy on 23/09/2012 at 4:39 pm said:

    Things are getting rather interesting in Scotland, with Alex Salmond apparently on a mission to concrete over the Scottish Highlands with windfarms, creating “100% renewable” energy whilst sacrificing the tourist industry in the process.

    He also wants independence from England, yet seems unaware that his loony scheme depends entirely on subsidies from England.

  2. Australis on 23/09/2012 at 5:47 pm said:

    The EU enthusiasm for Kyoto has always been based on its massive 1997 coup, when it had 1990 fixed as the base year for calculations of emission volumes. This gave EU countries a competitive benefit against the rest of the world.

    1991 was the year when North Sea gas came ashore in both the UK and the continent, and there were wholesale closures in the coal industry. In the East, 1991-3 was the period when scores of ex-Soviet heavy industries (mostly coal-powered) closed down.

    The other driver was that Kyoto is the only international treaty ever entered into by the EU itself, with all E27 countries sharing the costs and benefits internally. This is seen by many Eurocrats as a major unifying force.

    Non-EU countries are unlikely to buy the “1990 base year” in any Kyoto replacement. So Europe wants to hang on to what it’s got, and keep hoping for some opportunity to benefit.

    All that’s understandable enough. But I’m damned if I can understand what’s in it for Alex Salmond.

  3. Beyond unthinkingly merely stating that the “consensus has come to an end”, there is no appreciation for the demonstrated fact that the scientific consensus is not only wrong, but incompetent, and has been all along. I must consider this statement rather an “ignorant view”, and just more avoidance behavior on the part of the current generation of leaders and authorities. It is all a waste of time and human effort now, designed at best only to cover those leaders’ and authorities’ rear ends. Bad cess to them all.

  4. Andy on 24/09/2012 at 8:15 am said:

    Also on Scotland, Andrew Montford writes of Alex Salmond’s wind farm delusion

  5. Alexander K on 24/09/2012 at 1:19 pm said:

    About half of my genetic inheritance is Scots and I am proudly aware of the contribution that the Scots made to the advancement of science and engineering which, in its turn, paved the way for the modern world as we know it. The Scots were pioneers in so much of the technology we take for granted now, but what happened to that wonderfully optomistic spirit of enquiry? I suspect that a tremendous number of adventurous and innovative Scots exported themselves to the New World, damaging the remaining gene pool and leaving the timorous and weak behind.
    Salmond and his ilk appear to firmly believe in a bizarre mix of nationalistic, engineering and scientific myths, dooming their tartan fairyland to a reliance upon the vagaries of medieval technology, a bleak future indeed.

  6. Flipper on 24/09/2012 at 7:43 pm said:

    Hi Richard et al…
    I sent your helpful Scottish piece to my good friend Rupert Wyndham, in the UK.
    His response, just received:

    ” No, I hadn’t; thanks for sending. Time will tell, but I think the Scottish drive for independence is running on a punctured tyre and Salmond is increasingly seen as a bit of a blow-hard.

    In my estimation, there will be no follow-up to Kyoto. The 3rd World, so termed, has finally cottoned on. Climate change is just a device to keep them in subjection. Don’t get me wrong. The world is not a fair place, and it may be necessary that they should be kept in subjection for as long as possible (ie for our own comfort’s sake), but don’t let’s insult them as well by pretending that it’s being done for their own good.

    Wonderful how pinkoes and watermelons so easily adopt the mantle of good, honest, old imperialism!



    Ouch !!!!

    • Andrew W on 24/09/2012 at 8:19 pm said:

      I’m neither a pinko or a watermelon, but if your friend Rupert Wyndham thinks “Climate change is just a device to keep them [third world] in subjection”, maybe there is something to Lewandowsky’s claim about climate change “sceptics” being flaky conspiracy theorists after all.

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