28 February 2007

Al Gore Rejects Kyoto

Others more qualified than I are doing a wonderful job ridiculing Al Gore for using twice as much electricity in a month than the average family uses in a year. Gore argues that his energy use is ok because he buys carbon offsets, and he is also getting in trouble on that score.

There is, though, an interesting fillip that I haven't seen pointed out. When Al Gore was negotiating the Kyoto accords, he argued on behalf of the Clinton Administration that the treaty should include three types of carbon offsets. First, so-called "hot air" trading so that the US could buy credits from Russia, which would receive credits because of the post-communist collapse of its industrial base. This would account for about one-third of the US "reduction" in carbon emissions. Second, carbon-sink credits for the carbon absorbed in US forests and through reforesting. The Clinton Administration hoped to get another third of US reductions in this way. Third, a "Clean Development Mechanism" in which the US would get credit for funding cleaner energy generation and use in the developing world. This would account for about 15% of the US reduction. In other words, like Al Gore today, the Clinton administration hoped to satisfy about 80% of the US commitment to reduced carbon dioxide emissions without actually reducing carbon dioxide emissions at all.

Environmentalists howled. Here's one typical comment:
If the US gets its way, environmental groups charge that greenhouse gas emissions in the US could increase by 18 percent from 1990 levels-while still technically meeting its reduction targets.

"Accounting gimmicks may fool bureaucrats, but they will not fool Mother Nature," said Alden Meyer, director of government relations for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "The climate treaty must make real cuts of real pollution or the severe storms and other impacts that we are already starting to see will only get worse."
The EU, which intended to use the economic decline of Eastern Europe and Russia to help meet its goals (which is why 1990 was used as the benchmark year) blocked must of these offsets. It's nice to see Mr. Gore sticking to his guns rejecting Europe and the environmentalists and decreasing his carbon footprint without actually decreasing his carbon use.


joe shropshire said...

Anvils, David, think anvils, not life preservers. Sheesh.

John Resnick said...

Perhaps Mr. Gore has stumbled into a CONVENIENT truth after all. What this environmentally doomed world really needs is guilt-free SUV fill ups. Simply swipe your credit card at the "Carbon Offset" keypad right next to the 92 octane button and. . . . [blissful harp arpeggio here].

So, who wants in on the IPO?

Duck said...

So how do you sell carbon offsets? If I lived like a Unabomber could I sell offsets to people like Gore? I think I've hit on a new career path.

Hey Skipper said...

From a post in the second link:

Mr. Gore (maybe) consumes more energy, but he is doing so whilst putting all his efforts into spreading a message of care and responsibility. In my books this counts infinately more favourable than people consuming 20 times less energy whilst spreading criticism and taking down those that dare stepping up.

Proving in triplicate AOG's contention that, for the Left, intentions trump consequences.