Friday, July 29, 2005

Control freaks

After Kyoto, with EU member states determined to drive their economies into recession in pursuit of meaningless targets, the EU is at it again, seeking to frame more meaningless targets.

According to the BBC website, having learned of a voluntary agreement to reduce emission using on new technology, between the US and five Asia-Pacific, the EU has thrown a hissy fit and is demanding legally enforceable standards.

The newly signed agreement will allow signatories - currently the United States, Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan - to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions individually, with no enforcement mechanism. The core approach is to develop clean technologies, such as low-emission coal-fired power stations, which can be used in developing countries as their energy needs increase.

And, speaking at the announcement, which came during the Regional Forum of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) in Laos, US Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, said the six nations "view this as a complement, not an alternative" to Kyoto.

Both the US and Australia have refused to ratify Kyoto, which came into effect earlier this year - partly, they say, because big developing countries like India and China escape emissions limits. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says: "Our view is you really need to focus on technological change to solve the climate change problem... and you do have to involve the major developing countries, which are very substantial emitters." A Chinese spokesman called the pact a "win-win solution" for developing countries.

Needless to say, environmental groups argue that the new agreement undermines the Kyoto Protocol, and will make the process of agreeing a successor treaty more difficult. The Geneva-based NGO, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) says: "A deal on climate change that doesn't limit pollution is the same as a peace plan that allows guns to be fired."

Predictably backing the NGOs, EU commission's environment spokeswoman Barbara Helferrich says that the EU remains committed to further legally binding reductions in emissions. "If it is simply technology and clean coal, it is no substitute for agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and we do not expect it to have a real impact on climate change. There will have to be binding global agreements, but on what scale and what basis is yet to be decided."

They just can't stand the thought of anyone doing anything voluntarily, or get their heads round the idea that technology rather than crazy, economically damaging statutory emission limits might be the answer. These are not environmentalists. They are control freaks.

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