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What the summit achieved on CO2

Mark Mardell | 14:55 UK time, Sunday, 16 March 2008

What should we watch for after this summit?

Probably how the Germans mitigate the pain involved in cutting greenhouse gases.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
They, and of course other countries, are worried about their heavy industry and their cars, and how they will fare if Europe has tough rules, but no one else does.

So Mrs Merkel got agreement on this form of words:

"The European Council recognises that in a global context of competitive markets, the risk of carbon leakage is a concern in certain sectors such as energy intensive industries particularly exposed to international competition that needs to be analysed and addressed urgently in the new ETS directive so that if international negotiations fail, appropriate measures can be taken."

"Carbon leakage" is rather loaded jargon for companies or production going from a country with tight environmental rules to one with lower regulations, so the net effect of tough legislation is more carbon dioxide in the world's atmosphere.

It means that before the European leaders negotiate at the 2009 Copenhagen summit on climate change, they will have a fallback position.

The European Union would still go ahead with proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions but there will be plans in place either to impose tariffs on carbon intensive goods from countries that won’t sign up, or to exempt certain industries from the general EU rules.

One would outrage the free traders, the other would annoy environmentalists.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:24 PM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

The EU wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants effective CO2 reductions without the enormous economic impact it knows that would entail no matter how much environmentalists deny it. The consequences of the sub prime mortgage fiasco which have rippled out from the US and the looming recession is barely a taste of what real CO2 reductions would entail as consequences of industrial and agricultural output cutbacks necessary to achieve them. This is why the US Congress unanimously rejected Kyoto. Europe has hardly used its time since Kyoto wisely to invent alternative energy sources on a sufficiently large scale to replace the fossil fuel burning plants which now supply much of the world's electrical power and all of its motor vehicle power. The wind trubine and solar power science fair-like projects are a laughable pretense at a serious effort to solve what is a very serious problem. The notion of scaling them up as a significant energy source ludicrous. Instead it has wasted its precious scientific and industrial resources developing ego boosting redundant technologies such as a super jumbo airplane, an alternative to GPS, a space program, and a super conducting super collider atom smasher. The world could just as well do without all of these.

The weasel words of Angela Merkel are just the beginning of the coming sham of a climate change CO2 reduction treaty in which the US will be expected to bear the brunt of real reductions while China, India, Russia, and a lot of other so called developing countries skate free. It won't happen. If it does, you can count on a world wide economic depression almost immediately from which we will never recover and massive starvation in the developing world as the carbon cost of the agricultural output in North America which feeds many of them will be too high to sustain. How will the EU reconcile its past words with its past performance and its own economic and internal political pressures? We will see but if the so called EU Constitution is any measure, it will be with obfuscation, ambiguity, and lots of lies.

BTW, when the Govrnator's hair brained scheme to reduce California's CO2 output by making sacrifices to an already weak California economy whose government is about 40 billion in debt all by itself and whose real estate market is all but dead, expect the voters to throw him out of office like an old shoe and revert back to their ME-ME-ME AND ONLY ME mentality. How do I know they think this way? I was a Californian myself for five years. Besides, just about everyone in the world thinks that way even if they won't admit it.

  • 2.
  • At 04:11 PM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • brian whittle wrote:

what a load of of EU rubbish once again

  • 3.
  • At 10:21 PM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • brian whittle wrote:

once pro eu brown is voted out at the next election and the tories get one more chance the eu will be shaking at the fact a sceptic party is in power ready and willing to cause eu trouble bring it on ,i can wait 2 years for it.What could they do , firstly break the treaty not a impossible thing to do.Its only a treaty at the end of the day whats the Eu going to do declare war on us for breaking it.The euro rulled out for good lets face it we are better off with sterling,even mosts germans want their currencey back.And for the icing on the cake the exit out of this next soviet union.

Your headline ( "What the summit achieved on C02" ) just reminds us how little science you beebers know.

You have spelled it see-zero-two. It is actually see-ow-two as in Carbon Oxygen Two.

That's the difference between science and politics. Science is all about facts and truth - not opinion, feelings, majorities.

  • 5.
  • At 08:10 AM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Daniel wrote:

I become increasingly exasperated at Europe's leaders' duplicity and outright mendacity. Is it not at least worthwhile to be *honest* in one's dealings, if not effective?


  • 6.
  • At 02:45 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Iain Connochie wrote:

This debate is just so unrealistic & deceitful.

The Eu wants to use 1990 Euro emissions figures as a start point to meet 20% reduction by 2020. Since 1990 many many EU businesses have actually moved production to China or other Asian countrys, hence reducing EU emissions though increasing total relevent EU emissions via more harmful production methods & production of Asian energy, be it in another sphere outside of the EU.

It is totally unrealistic and imoral for ANY EU country to force collection of green taxes on EU citizens when the taxes are NOT used for environmental projects that lower total emissions.

The EU should OUTLAW any such green environmental tax abuse. If a country wishes to increase tax income then it MUST do so without the green banner.

The EU MUST ban/stop ALL biofuel production that has been acquired from food production crops & from protected forest/jungle/other areas that have been destroyed to grow biofuel crops.

The sumit has already passed over these items, hence as far as I and millions of EU citizens are concerned, the EU invalidates itself by continually taking wrong/little or no action to remedy growing problems.

It is imoral, unreasonable, unrealistic & uneconomic to only take drastic needed measures as a result of war, and evidence itself suggests that the greater despair there is the more likely war is to happen. With growing despair at a magnitude of political failures within the EU, full, frank and realist action needs to be taken before despair rips Europe and the world apart once again.

  • 7.
  • At 08:38 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Boris, Germany wrote:

EU is not the biggest producer of CO2 in the world. It doesn’t help the nature if European industries will move to China or India and will produce CO2 there. We need worldwide decisions in this sphere, but the Green populists are too strong in some countries.

How does the closing of collieries help the nature if we produce same CO2 of import oil and gas and are more and more dependent on suppliers? What prevents to increase share alternative energies due to reduction of import

  • 8.
  • At 08:41 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

Come on BBC, if you must comment on a subject vaguely scientific then at least spell the molecule in question right.

Think about it - carbon dioxide CO2. How can it possibly be C02?

These careless errors are prevalent on your website and really make you all look very silly.

  • 9.
  • At 02:22 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • oscar carballo wrote:

France has made an enphasis on nuclear energy, thus avoiding fossil fuel's emissions. It's not as environmentally friendly as solar energy or wind turbines, but it produces lots of energy to satisty demands in great scale.

This entire conversation should be titled "a liberal's guide to attacking Capitalism and human progress". This course of action, based on a flimsy agenda-driven theory, will result in a decline of quality of life across the globe. No one will be exempt from being taxed, directly and indirectly, by high-minded left wing organizations such as the impotent and corrupt UN. The best example I can cite is the "human tax", proposed by the new (quasi-socialist)Australian government, which would "assist in offsetting each newborn's forecasted carbon footprint". Who is in charge of watching over and allocating these confiscatory funds? Some elite world body composed of crackpot dictators and concensus-based "scientists"? Here it comes, people! Hold on to your wallets as we decend into the liberal abyss. They always succeed in punishing prosperity in hopes of advancing some unattainable utopian ideal. Prosperity is the enemy to these people, and the main weapon is some form of global carbon tax.

  • 11.
  • At 02:54 AM on 21 Mar 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

How about building some new atomic power plants in Germany, Ms. Merkel, rather than shutting down existing ones under pressure from Commies (Links) and ecoterrorists (Gruens) which forces you to kow-tow so embarrassingly to president/premier/whatever Gasputin and his KGB/FSB thugs?

  • 12.
  • At 01:56 PM on 22 Mar 2008,
  • brian whittle wrote:

why should the eu tell us what to do.It is the beginging of the end of the EU with this treaty they dont know it yet.The roman empire did not fall in one big go ,it just vanished over a long period of time just like the EU .This will turn to fact

  • 13.
  • At 04:24 AM on 23 Mar 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

How about building some new atomic power plants in Germany, Ms. Merkel, rather than shutting down existing ones under pressure from Commies (Links) and ecoterrorists (Gruens) which forces you to kow-tow so embarrassingly to president/premier/whatever Gasputin and his KGB/FSB thugs?

P.S. I see that ecoterrorists have already started to protest planned British-French cooperation in designing, building and exporting next generation of atomic power plants.

I guess they prefer to build more windmills to fight.

  • 14.
  • At 03:59 PM on 24 Mar 2008,
  • bricmpt wrote:

So carbon emissions control might be tough on economics. Failing to control environmental degredation will br tough on ALL LIFE ON THE PLANET. Tough choice there, money vs. my grandkids. Hmm. WWJD?

I have to admit the number of Americans saying all europeans are blind to the politicians lies made me laugh a little.

The number of Europeans who take the carbon footprint excusee to climate change seriously can easily be compared to the number of Americans who followed the WMD fiasco.

anyone with an ounce of sense will look into teh climate change problem will see that everything the carbon footprint groupies use as evidence has been disproven over teh last 20 years, especialy their predictd tempratures. Surprise surprise the rise in carbon that follows any natural global waming (Due to solar cycles etc) is nearly exactly inline with the carbon/temprature rises of the Medieval and Roman periods. (CLimate change believers will show graphs that there was no carbon increase during these times, however their graphs also say their was no warming during the roman/medieval periods...Genius!)

Personally I wish that teh environmentalists would focus on the real environmental issues, say the amount of industrial waste china i s pumping into the sea that may kill off the great barrier reef. It would be fairly ironic if th environmentalists spent so long chasiong a false cause to publicise themselves that they misseda natural disaster that could remove a major percentage of the earths natural oxygen production.


Rant over.

  • 16.
  • At 12:01 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Hameln wrote:

If we don't find alternatives to oil, we shall suffer far worse economic impacts. It is running out.

The wind and solar energy are just one drop in the ocean. The gasification is currently used with fossil fuels, but we can use carbon neutral biomass as well. It isn't economically viable to use ethanol in the large scale in the combustion engines in the long run. The second generation diesel fuels are good alternatives. Tide and sea current factories are locally good way to produce electricity. Earth heat pumps are the Earth friendly way for warming the houses. Nuclear energy is also good, but overestimated energy source. "Super jumbo airplanes" also helps reducing the fuel usage, but fast trains are better.

I think I offend the forum policy when I talk the ways the EU is actually solving the problem instead of using strawmans or mindlessly bashing it:)

  • 17.
  • At 02:27 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Zac wrote:

CO2. What a con.
Global Warming. What a con.
Seems like it's April fools day every day for some people.

A new way to raise taxes.

I've got a good idea. Let's all work close to where we live, then we won't need cars.
I am seriously concerned about CO2 burying. Is it really safe? Sounds pretty explosive to me. Is it definitely safer than going to nuclear energy? Does research confirm this? Has anybody done any research on this or are they just touting it as a convenient stop-gap to cut a country's CO2 level by any means possible - a aort of international competition to see who can get the best score.

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