Why should the USA reduce greenhouse gas emissions when India says “no way”

In yesterdays’ Bloomberg Report, as well as heard on the tube, we learned that India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told local media that they will not comply with any treaty where they must reduce their level of greenhouse gas emissions.
Perhaps we might start this discussion by providing a brief definition of “cap & trade” and some background on the Kyoto protocol which is “ground zero” of this international debate.

“The Kyoto accord [protocol] is an international treaty whereby countries agree to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit if their neighbours do likewise.” It is “a ‘cap and trade’ system that imposes national caps on the emissions of Annex I countries. On average, this cap requires countries to reduce their emissions 5.2% below their 1990 baseline over the 2008 to 2012 period.

Although these caps are national-level commitments, in practice most countries will devolve their emissions targets to individual industrial entities, such as a power plant or paper factory. This means that the ultimate buyers of credits are often individual companies that expect their emissions to exceed their quota (their Assigned Allocation Units, AAUs or ‘allowances’ for short). Typically, they will purchase credits directly from another party with excess allowances, from a broker, or on an exchange.”

“Kyoto had a deceptively simple formula: Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent. Sounds easy, except that it refers to a 1990 base. By 2010, this would have meant a reduction of 30 to 40 percent for the United States by rationing fuels or by raising energy prices sharply. The developing countries, including China and India, would not have to cut energy use at all, and would receive financial subsidies to boot. Moreover, Kyoto’s scientific basis is shaky, and it would be quite ineffective in reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, even if it were carried out punctiliously. Kyoto was clearly unrealistic, costly, and politically risky.”

Gilbert note. Let the record show that the US did not sign the Kyoto protocol. Let’s fast forward to the Bloomberg report where I have provided the story link at the end of the post.

India Rejects Any Greenhouse-gas Cuts Under New Climate Treaty

By grizzleo
By Bibhudatta Pradhan

June 30 (Bloomberg) — India said it will reject any new treaty to limit global warming that makes the country reduce greenhouse-gas emissions because that will undermine its energy consumption, transportation and food security.

Cutting back on climate-warming gases is a measure that instead must be taken by industrialized countries, and India is mobilizing developing nations to push that case, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told the media today in New Delhi.

“India will not accept any emission-reduction target — period,” Ramesh said. “This is a non-negotiable stand.”

India, which has more than 800 million people living on less than $2 a day, is talking with Brazil, China and South Africa on taking a common stand in international negotiations that richer countries like the U.S. and Britain must reduce their emissions 45 percent by the year 2020 from 1990 levels.

That level of reduction worldwide may be enough to ensure the global average temperature rises no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, according to a United Nations climate agency, which suggested a 25 percent-to-40 percent cut over the same three-decade period.

The 27-nation European Union, promising a 20-percent reduction, Japan, pledging an 8 percent cut, and the U.S., committed to return to 1990 levels by 2020, all fall below the UN target for gases such as carbon dioxide.

“We are not re-negotiating the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Ramesh said, referring to the treaty that entered into force in 1994 and laid the groundwork for emissions cuts by richer nations. “There is no way India is going to accept any emission reduction target, period, between now and the Copenhagen meeting and thereafter.”

Per-Capita Offer

More than 190 nations are negotiating a global climate treaty to reduce gas emissions and replace the expiring 1997 Kyoto Protocol limits. Countries plan to wrap up negotiations and sign the new treaty in Copenhagen by late December.

Ramesh reiterated India’s previous offer to contain CO2 emissions per capita below those of developed nations.

India, the second-most populous nation, only emits 4.6 percent of the global carbon-dioxide emissions, while the U.S. produces 20.9 percent, he said. Asia’s third-biggest economy in June unveiled a plan to form eight commissions to improve energy efficiency and mitigate the impact of climate change.

The legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to impose trade penalties on nations that do not accept limits on global warming pollution is a concern for India, Ramesh said.

We reject the use of climate as a non-tariff barrier,” the minister said. “We comprehensively and categorically reject any attempt to introduce climate change” as part of World Trade Organization talks.


Gilbert closing comments. While president Obama told voters that he would not raise taxes for anyone earning less than $250,000 per year, shoving this “cap and trade” down our throats will surely deplete the few remaining bucks we have in our wallets. Note: I’ll take a wait and see on his tax pledge as he moves his Agenda forward.

Don’t think for a minute that those industries, who currently exceed pollution limits, will not pass on any increased costs to us, the consumer. While participating at a product cost reduction meeting at a Fortune 500 electronics firm, the CEO of a midwest corporation told those in attendance that he would “do anything in support of their wishes except go out of business.” The margins are simply not there in the private sector.

Utilities will simply go the to the state PUC and request a rate increase.
That increase will be passed on to each and every one of us regardless of how much money we earn or collect in Social Security.

About Larry Gilbert