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We pay for Indian CO2 cuts

Robert Peston | 08:14 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2007

One of the less visible consequences of Government policy on climate change is that it would lead to a massive transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world.

David MilibandI was nudged in this direction during a chat with the Environment Secretary, David Miliband - and he made the point explicitly in an article he recently wrote for the international edition of Newsweek.

The transfer results from the mechanism laid down in the draft Climate Change Bill for achieving a 60 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

It allows the purchase from abroad of “carbon credits” to hit the five-yearly targets for CO2 cuts along the way. What this means is that if the UK invests in projects in China, or India or Africa - for example - which would reduce their emissions, than those reductions in CO2 can be counted in an assessment of whether the UK has met its targets.

As an example, if carbon sequestration became a viable technology, then a British power generator could capture and bury the CO2 produced by a Chinese coal-fired plant and then count that CO2 against is own CO2 “budget” for carbon cuts.

There are issues about auditing whether CO2 is actually being reduced all those thousands of miles away. But the logic of allowing these credits is impeccable: CO2 is fungible; if you believe in climate change, then CO2 is harming all of us, whether it’s spewed in China or here.

In practice, it creates a massive incentive for gas-spewing UK businesses to invest in the developing world, and therefore achieve their individual budgets for carbon cuts by importing reductions.

How much capital could flow to the developing world in this way? Miliband cites United Nations research, that if all industrialised countries took on emissions-reduction commitments of 60 to 80 per cent, and if they purchased half of their reductions in the developing world in the way I’ve described, then the financial flows would be $100bn per annum (assuming a carbon price of at least $10 per ton – which may be massively too low).

The UK would contribute perhaps $5bn a year of this capital transfer, based on its share of developed countries’ emissions.

To be clear, these numbers are a bit flaky. But they contain an important truth - that the flows from developed world to developing world would be huge.

However, this would not be dead money, handed over with no prospect of any financial return. If UK businesses were for example financing low-carbon power generation in China, those businesses would expect a share of the profits and dividends generated by the power generation.

We’re talking about compelled philanthropy that would in fact yield future financial gains, quite apart from its impact on the environment.

That said, it is redistribution on a grand scale and there will be costs for British businesses and for you and me - since those businesses are likely to pass the expense of reducing carbon on to consumers.

So don’t be fooled into thinking that Tory proposals to tax aviation to reduce their emissions is for example somehow worse for you than Government plans to set targets for airlines’ emissions and to include them in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (which has generated a price for carbon credits by allowing European gas-spewers to buy and sell the right to produce carbon). Both approaches would push up the cost of flying - which is presumably what matters to you.

But both main parties can perhaps be accused of not being quite explicit enough in explaining the impact of the Climate Change Bill. There’s the increased price we’ll pay to heat our homes, drive our cars and so on. And there will be a torrent of cash flowing from the wealthier economies to the poorer (but faster growing) ones.

Comments   Post your comment

Transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world is not the key point here.

The point is to reduce global CO2 emissions for the lowest cost. For example, a £100 investment in energy efficiency in the UK may reduce CO2 emissions by 1 tonne per year. Investing that same £100 in India may reduce CO2 emissions by 3 tonnes per year. Surely it makes sense to make the investment where it will achieve the best bang per buck!

That's the whole point of emissions trading, to enable the market mechanism to minimise the cost of reducing emissions.

  • 2.
  • At 08:56 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Mathur Kohli wrote:

The heading of the article mentions India only, and yet Chna and Africa are mentioned later in the article. We know of BBC bias agianst Gujarat but bias against India is coming though as well!

  • 3.
  • At 09:11 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • David Magee wrote:

It all seems too complicated, surely we should be investing in low carbon technologies rather than pushing the problem around. There's both a challenge and an opportunity to develop the technologies that will make the whole world a better place to live for all of us.

  • 4.
  • At 09:12 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • look4truth wrote:

Climate change is NOT caused by CO2. Stop peddling this false science. Anyone who disagrees should have watched that channel 4 documentary recently or should look at the evidence which is either wrong or does not exist.

SORT YOURSELF OUT BBC, with top gear gone ther is nothing left.

  • 5.
  • At 09:27 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Ryan Fugger wrote:

The wealth transfer to poorer countries seems fair. We have gotten rich in large part by polluting the atmosphere that we share. We must share the wealth we have generated with those who will also suffer the consequences of the climate change that we have caused.

Oil and coal in the ground may not be a shared resource, but the atmosphere's ability to absorb the byproducts of burning those fossil fuels certainly is, "owned" equally by each human being on the planet. To refuse to pay for its use is theft.

  • 6.
  • At 09:31 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Said wrote:

The Global Warming debate, wherein CO2 causes rises in temperature is complete and utter nonsense! Do any of you think that the human race has reached a technological level where we are more powerful in controlling our climate than the sun, or the ocea, or even the clouds! Volcanoes and cattle each produce more C02 per year than all of human activity! I hope that humans will one day climb down from their high horse and abandon their arrogance for reason! Have any of you considered that the sun, the oceans and the clouds control our climate, rather than the other way around! For millions of years the earth's temperatures have fluctauted far more wildly than anything we have seen without any human help. Care to explain that? If you build theoretical models with the assumption that CO2 drives temperatures upwards then that's obiously what you're going to find! We have to tweak our theories to fit the evidence, not tweak the evidence to fit our theories!

  • 7.
  • At 09:41 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Robert, aviation tax is not equivalent to requiring emission permits for air travel. Taxes are decided by politicians, emission charges are decided by a market, subject to total supply. In the latter scenario, air lines will be competing with other sectors for their emission permits, and the whole economy can adjust to make the reductions where they are cheapest, and therefore maximise economic benefits. With taxes and regulations, the politicians decide where the cuts should happen, based on who will complain most, not to maximise economic benefit. For this reason, not only air travel, but all transport and heating emissions should be in the same scheme, to allow trade off between car travel, heating, electricity, and (currently the smallest contributor) air travel. And the total amount emitted should be subject to permits, not only the amount above what politicians deem to be the "correct" level of emissions (another finger in the pie).

Similarly, the ability to invest in emission reductions in developing countries allows a trade-off between low-cost, "dirty" countries and high-cost countries where industry is already cleaner. The emission cuts can be gained at a lower cost, with better effect. It is not redistribution as much as foreign investment. And in an environment where everyone pays for each ton of emitted co2, this particular mechanism is not a cost to consumers, but a gain. Carbon credits earned in China will increase the overall supply in the UK, and lower the price of CO2 emissions. Just like cheap t-shirts.

  • 8.
  • At 09:47 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Richard Woollaston wrote:

Would it not be simpler, fairer and more effective in terms of reducing rather than redistributing CO2 emissions to levy a tax on goods sold according to how much CO2 was used in their manufacture, irrespective of where this took place?

The science behind global warming looks fairly convincing. However the alacrity with which our politicians have jumped on the bandwagon is indicative of the expansion they see in the politicians' share of our GDP!

  • 9.
  • At 09:55 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Brad Arnold wrote:

I commend the Blair government for achieving such ambitious CO2 goals. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that everyone will significantly cut their emissions in the short term.

A growing and developing population is likely to increase emissions (expected to double by mid-century), not so severely cut them so fast as to avoid runaway global warming.

Nature now soaks up about half of mankind's CO2 emissions, but that is expected to reduce 30% by 2030. Furthermore, as the world heats up, carbon sinks will become carbon emitters.

In other words, whatever reasonable cuts we can expect mankind to make in their emissions, they will be overwhelmed by nature.

In particular is melting methane hydrate. Incredibly, hydrate contains twice the carbon of all fossil fuel, and whereas fossil fuel needs to be burned to emit GHG, hydrate needs only to melt.

Briefly, carbon in the soil is "eaten" by microbes, and in the absence of oxygen the microbes emit methane (CH4). Some of that methane gets trapped in ice called hydrate.

There is about 400 billion tons of methane trapped in permafrost hydrate (20% of the land on earth is permafrost). 50% of the surface permafrost is expected to melt by 2050, and over 90% by 2100.

A sudden release of less than 30 billion tons of methane would be like doubling the CO2 in the air.

Worse, there is an estimated 10,000 billion tons of methane hydrate under the ocean. Substancial quantities of this has melted before with catastrophic results (55 million years ago-the PETM ushered in the Age of Mammals, and 250 million years ago-the "Great Dying" killed most life on earth).

In other words, the carbon cycle has been upset before (possibly by volcanic eruptions), causing a chain reaction. Mankind's GHG emissions are over 30 times stronger a trigger than past severe runaway global warming events. This means the chain reaction will happen sooner, unfold faster, and therefore be much, much more severe.

Therefore, the only meaningful solution is to remove the CO2 from the air after it has been emitted. Nature already does this but we are overwhelming her ability to cope.

I suggest improving nature's ability to absorb CO2 with genetic engineering. Perhaps seeding a GMO into the ocean.

Large international wealth transfers are necessary in order to save carbon at the lowest cost. The advantages and disadvantages of doing the transfers by carbon trading, rather than by domestic taxes and explicit grants, is thoroughly discussed in the Stern report chapter 23 - all online here
"The incremental costs of low-carbon investments in developing countries are likely to be at least $20-30 billion per year."
"There are opportunities now to build trust and to pilot new approaches to creating largescale flows for investment in low-carbon development paths."

  • 11.
  • At 10:26 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Lou Gold wrote:

You make a good point here. Too bad that a parallel point has not been made about the way the developed world has in the past transferred the environmental costs of industrialization and cheap consumer goods to the less developed world. The political issue really is about how to distribute the costs of pollution and it's reduction.

  • 12.
  • At 11:04 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

I think the author has one point wrong. There would be no expectation of participation in foreign profits by British companies if the environmental accords do not require the foreign process to be "clean". British participation in cleaning the process only benefits the Brit, not the foreign entity, negating any motive for the foreign entity to part with profits.

  • 13.
  • At 11:42 AM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

This is just another way for our morally bankrupt Government to fund their illegal war in Iraq.

The Government want to tax flights to stop us flying so much.

The same Government is overseeing the biggest expansion of UK airport capacity in history as they anticipate demand to rise.

Do they not see the hypocracy?

Also, the UK is just a small island off the coast of Europe. We are too small to make any impact whatsoever, we are just sitting here watching the incompetent Goverment wasting our money.

Im glad that schools, hospitals, crime, transport and housing are in such a great situation that we can afford this latest farce of a policy.

And shame on all non Government parties for not providing an alternative voting choice

  • 14.
  • At 12:03 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • samuel kelen wrote:

There would be no wealth transferred to the developing world with this process. Only to countries where there is a current industrial boom, like China and India. How could you buy/get significant CO2 reductions from subsaharan Africa for example? This would only further the trend of turning Asia into the global industrial center, Europe and North America into the global suburb and Africa into the global ghetto.

  • 15.
  • At 12:13 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Joseph wrote:

All just ways to get more money. Now more money will be moved to other developing parts of the world just to be spent on their own ambitions. I don't agree with any of it. Its all a scam.

  • 16.
  • At 12:21 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

Why should they get rich off our backs? We should tear up all these international agreements, keep our money for ourselves, and compel the so-called "Developing World" to cut their carbon emissions through sanctions or military intervention.

  • 17.
  • At 12:25 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Lossaversion wrote:

Agree with Said on this and good to see someone taking forwrad the discussion using the CH 4 programme last week.

We need to avoid the Groupthink and delusion this issue has encouraged - market mechanisms re CO2 need to be constructed carefully to ensure perverse incentives and disincentives are minimised - guess what the current price of carbon is in EU ETS - the EU carbon market for Phase 1 (ending this year) it has collaposed to about EUR 1, while Phase 2 permits are traduing at around EUR 12-14 - the carbon market is not developed enough and is very volatile and weather dependent. There is also the issue of the huge amounts of carbon credits Russia and Ukraine have whioch also has the poitential to destabilise the market. With prices so low why not buy the carbon and emit away.

Here lies the irony of using market mechanisms - prices need to be kept high to mnaintain the incentive to reduce CO2 emissions but what will keep the price high - if govt intervenes than it is not a pure market - (however this hasn't stopped them from intervening in the foreign exchange market over the years)? as cited above carbon prices have collapsed this year so where's the incentive to cut emissions

As usual the politicos are taking forward an agenda that probably has more to it than meets the eye and as always overlooking the reality of climate change - the focus is on CO2 when the most significant greenhouse gas is water vapour and of course climate change is influenced by as Said says the big yellow thing in the sky - but politicians are unlikley to let uncomfortable evidence get in the way of a course of acxtion that has little to support it, again

  • 18.
  • At 12:26 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Michela wrote:

This article is a tower built on a foundation of falsehood.
Firstly, CO2 emissions don't cause climate change. It is the other way around, as was spelt out (slowly and clearly for those who have forgotten their A level science classes) in the Channel 4 documentary.
Even if you read beyond this glaring mistake, then comes the question of the UK government "earning Tax credits abroad" for meeting emission criteria.
A convoluted logic that completely misses the point, to say the least. If you created a benchmark for yourself, and then went over to achieve the goals (that you set) in an area where you made new rules for yourself, and then added this achievement to your personal list of credits - tell me, wise friend, who is gaining?
The "capital flow" that is described here is nothing more an accounting gimmick. In the true tradition of BBC's twisted news reporting, this title stands the risk of becoming the cornerstone of future British research into global warming.
It is indeed deplorable that BBC slips further down the messy murky slope with these misguided, misleading titles and articles.

  • 19.
  • At 12:28 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Ian Kemmish wrote:

Targets have a way of falling hostage to the law of unintended consequences. If capital starts flowing out to the developing world, it will in pretty short order end up in the bank accounts of first world companies _operating_ in the developing world. The EU's quotas on Chinese textiles resulted in textiles being made in Lesotho, but in the long term that did more harm than good to the people of Lesotho after the Chinese pulled out almost overnight.

Ironically, as time goes by, and despite the myopia of their arguments, the CO2 refuseniks may start getting to be more and more right. How so? Murphy's Law suggests that once all the politicians start singing from the same hymn sheet about averting climate change, then it's already too late to avert it - the causal machanism becomes almost irrelevant. Somebody needs to start thinking about developing old fashioned survival strategies. For example, how are we going to cope with an influx of new diseases (human, animal and crop)?

  • 20.
  • At 12:35 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • The Economist wrote:


There you go again.. In your attempt to create a newsworthy story to exaggerate until the truth has disappeared altogether from your stories.

It is true that investment in India and China is good for India and China. But it is also good for the UK as well. Investment is not a zero sum game. there are winners and loosers fro sure but there are more winners than losers. What does the Uk get under the Climate change Bill from this investment? A social good that it wants called a better environment. The question you should be asking is whether we want a better environment or not.

Second,investment is not a transfer of wealth - the investor continues to own the assets and earns a return on it. When you buy M&S shares you are not transferring wealth to others. Its still yours..

Thirdly it is wrong to think of other people's assets as if we own their assets. We don't. So the decision of some people to invest in China is not a transfer of wealth from you and me to the Chinese. It was never our money in the first place.

What on earth is "compelled philanthropy"? No one is forced under the Climate change Bill to do anything. the mechanism simply imposing costs on people who pollute and creates incentives to reduce emission but you are free if you want to pollute to do so and pay the cost. Simimarly no is force to buy M&S shares but you might to do if you thought the incentives (the returns) were higher than the costs (the risk you run that thr shares fall in price).

get with it Mr Peston.. If you want to be taken seriously as a financial journalist then at least approach these subjects in serious way.

The Economist

  • 21.
  • At 12:40 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • David Wood wrote:

What is the real aim of the governments strategy on the management of carbon emissions, the strategy will pave way for the government to rail road through legistration for the construction of nuclear power stations.

But the big danger to the UK will be impact on the UK economy, we are losing enough industry to foreign soils, most of which will be outside of the EU, to locations that will not be the slightest bit interested in carbon emissions and more than likely controled by multi-nationals with ex-ministers raking it in.

Our Government simply can no longer be trusted to look after the interests of the man in the street.

  • 22.
  • At 12:41 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

Here we go again.

What these idiots forget is that we can throw them out at election time.
And we will.

By then we will all be thoroughly sick of the pretence that we can have any effect on a natural phenomenon.

This is all about greedy government.

  • 23.
  • At 12:55 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • A. Tomany wrote:

Yes the world is getting warmer, but human created CO2 does not cause global warming, let's stop wasting everyone's money on this nonsense.

  • 24.
  • At 01:21 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Stephen Watson wrote:

look4Truth might like to read todays' Independent which has a full page article showing that how the Channel 4 "Swindle" programme was itself a swindle based on faked graphs and out of date data.

One of that programme's points was that green action prevents development in the 3rd world - Robert Preston's article clearly shows that is not necessarily true.

I must say I find it hard to understand how me using my car less is going to cause African poverty. Quite the opposite in fact since climate change is likely to devastate Africa.

  • 25.
  • At 01:33 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • David Thomas wrote:

To all those who insist that "CO2 does not cause global warming" because of one deeply flawed polemic from Channel 4: you are gullibly falling into the lazy trap of believing what you want to believe, not the science. The science says that man-made CO2 emmissions are almost certainly (over 90% probability) causing climate change. They simply wheeled out a few scientists (who are NOT experts in the field) to peddle some discredited arguments. If you try hard enough you can find scientists who deny the existence of evolution as well - do you latch on to their 'analysis' in the same way? Pathetic.

  • 26.
  • At 01:34 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Stefanie wrote:

I take issue with the comment posted beginning with “the global warming debate" as this person is effectively calling all those who have spent time gaining an understanding of the science of global climate change morons! I would suggest the debate is not that simple. I recommend they watch David Attenborough's Planet Earth series in which one programme shows the difference between natural climate change or fluctuations and what we are experiencing today as a result of our behaviour.

  • 27.
  • At 02:03 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Dick wrote:

Firstly it's important to appreciate that the real impact of climate change is perhaps 50 years away but that the impact of energy shortages - particularly liquid fuels - is probably just around the corner.

So - whether you do or do not believe in climate change caused by CO2 or other man gases is completely irrelevant because the problem of energy shortages demand the same if not actually even more radical action.

The Govt does however need to put over their proposals as if they are a response to climate change otherwise they'd have to admit to their complete failure to begin acting perhaps as long as ten years ago to solve the impending energy problems.

Regardless of all this I welcome the opportunity - particularly the commercial and industrial opportunities - that are the consequence of the Govt's decision except of course that given the UK's appalling record in investing in new technology the market that the Govt has just created is more likely to be exploited not by UK companies but by American and European ones. The Americans after all invested nearly $2.5bn in clean technology companies in 06. The British invested about three shillings and sixpence.

  • 28.
  • At 02:06 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

This whole article is a waste of time and license money.

CO2 is not the cause of global warming, get your facts right!

  • 29.
  • At 02:27 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Karambo wrote:

In the short term, what I want to know is, if the Govt. fail to reach its targets, can we claim all our environment related taxes back?

  • 30.
  • At 02:33 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Peter Moran wrote:

This just adds insult to injury.

For who are this Government and Parliament working for, the British people or the Chinese, Indians and Russians?

I now consider the British Government and other Parliamentary parties a seriour threat to the British people and our children.

By the time they have finished with GB it will be an empty vessel in ruins.

British Governments are in power to work for British citizens not actively undermine us and threaten our childrens futures.

God only knows where salvation from these foolish utopian individuals will come from! Revolution?

  • 31.
  • At 03:07 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Jeff Parry wrote:

So we don't need to reduce our own emissions. There is no need for us to insulate our homes or turn our TV off. We can all fly as much as we like. All we need to do is by get some Asians to build a wind turbine or 5 to reduce their emissions. We then look as though we're cutting ours by importing the credits.

Does it mean that the credits can be counted twice? India would have Xm turbines and thus less emissions. They meet their target. We import carbon credits for Xm and claim the figures a second time.

I think this government needs to realise that we should reduce our emissions and not just carry on polluting at someone else's expense.

It sounds like Gordon Brown's addition and subtraction methods to meet his mythical spending targets by putting the money into off balance sheet PFI schemes.

  • 32.
  • At 03:24 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • J. Althauser wrote:

The problem of excess greenhouse gases is not a scam. In the west, our industrial advances have built a healthy, comfortable life but there is a heretofore hidden cost. We now find there is a shortage of 'good atmosphere,' not enough to go around. The way to deal with scarcity is through economics. But our current system externalizes these costs. We need to adjust the system so it reflects the true costs, whether this is with taxes, cap & trade or something else.

Those who are already familiar with the science recognize the names, faces and tired arguements of the "Climate Confusionists" who wasted viewers time on CH4.

  • 33.
  • At 03:43 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • AP wrote:

When will we stop falling for this global warming line.

This is just a cover for the governments to use to duck serious issues like 1m children dying each year from lack of clean water or the butchering in Darfur.

These things are happening today, now, right now as I type this and while Brown and Cameron bask in the reflected glory of a few solar panels.

It takes no balls to put up a few windmills on your roof but it does to step in an tackle the real issues.

  • 34.
  • At 04:52 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • WXM123 wrote:

to david thomas who says "you are gullibly falling into the lazy trap of beliving what you want to belive" and the scientists on the channel 4 programme dont no what they are talking about, who says that any other scientists are correct , may be they are saying that co2 emissions are to blame just to keep there job. people belive what they want to belive , as for the government blaming car emissions they just want more money from us by blaming the motorist.

  • 35.
  • At 04:52 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Stephen Challen wrote:

Okay, let me get this right. CO2 is 0.054% of the atmosphere. Of which 90% is produced by the sea. Of the remaining 10% the majority is produced by decaying matter (e.g. leaves, and dung etc), the next largest group is animals and plants, with the next being volcanos. The remainder which for arguements sake we'll say is 5% or less of the total CO2 produced each year is down to us humans. Of this the UK has promised to reduce it's 2% contibution by 60%. This will be done by getting tax payers and non-tax payers alike to contribute to a bill of £4bn.

WOuld anyone agree that this seems a little odd? Especially as history and science has shown that the Sun has a much more significant and direct impact on global temporatures that such an insignificant quantity of an insignificant gas which scientifically is more likely to reduce the world temporature as in the period between 1944 and 1975 when the BBC said we were heading for an Ice Age.

  • 36.
  • At 10:09 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Alex Desilva wrote:

If human beings are responsible for global warming, who then was responsible for the ice ages in the past?

Remember the over-population nightmare scenarios of the 70's. Scientists of the same ilk as the global warmers of today had us tripping over each other by now and scavenging for food and a square inch to stand on!

  • 37.
  • At 10:32 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Keep to posting the blogs and stay off the news with the amatuer sensational presentation please: slang phrases, little content - made it sound like you were reading a front page paragraph from The Sun. Last night's 2200 news was emabarrassing and merely reinforces the continued "dumbing down" of content. Something I'm sure (I hope) the BBC would refute.

  • 38.
  • At 12:31 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

It seems very obvious to me that the real problem facing the planet is over population not C02. More people means more cars, more factories, more cattle which all means more C02. If we can halt and ideally start to reduce the global population and at the same time reduce the amount of forest that is destroyed for cattle which produce methane (a more potent greenhouse gas) we might just stand a chance. Anything else will fail as all the good work we do in the developed world will be destroyed by population growth elsewhere.

  • 39.
  • At 03:16 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • james carr wrote:

Climate change fanatics will have us trying to stop the tide next like king canute.These canutist will ruin our economy all in the name of a gas called co2.When will people see that this emperor has no clothes.

  • 40.
  • At 05:37 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

My idle calculations, from data obtained from the web, suggest that the total annual CO2 production from burning fossil fuels (and making cement!) is about the same as that produced by the increased World population (since 1950)annually by simply breathing. Can someone, who knows what they are talking about, investigate?

  • 41.
  • At 05:51 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Parth Mehta wrote:

I am not quite sure why the pun includes just payment for Indian CO2 cut, whereas I could see China playing the major role in the article.

  • 42.
  • At 06:11 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Steve Powell wrote:

Perhaps we should all just move back into damp unlit caves, and farmers could use oxen again instead of those nasty polluting tractors. Or perhaps the BBC should just stop trying to get the phrase 'climate change' into every single news item except the sport coverage. It may be the buzzword at the moment from the fanatics who have been empowered by the media frenzy, but it just might be a good reason for people in 100 years time to look back and have a good laugh at our naivity and gullibility, when the so called climate 'experts' were all confidently predicting another ice age until the 1970s. What it undoubtedly will be is an excuse to raise all sorts of tax revenues.

  • 43.
  • At 06:43 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Ed Holloway wrote:

I think that this debate is proof of the irresponsible nature of that C4 documentary. One of the scientists featured (Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at MIT) has already complained to C4 that his comments were taken out of context, describing the programme as “as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War Two”. For more info see

Lets keep the climate change denial rants out of this blog, and focus the conversation on the real issues raised.

  • 44.
  • At 06:46 AM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • sumit wrote:

BBC and British govt. has some grudge against India, which is not healthy by any means.

In its efforts to make the story sell, it had to put India in the headline whereas any educated and aware person konws that it is china/America polluting more and it is west which has done all the emission during their era of "industrialisation".

May god help you grow-up.

  • 45.
  • At 06:43 PM on 16 Mar 2007,
  • Bhrat Kapur wrote:

Its just outsourcing of CO2 cuts. You can buy many times more CO2 credits for the same money in a developing country than a developed country. Why complain ? India is a Favorite destination for all outsourcing anyways.;-)))

  • 46.
  • At 10:27 AM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Steve Jones wrote:

I have a better idea for transferring wealth to poor countries. Basically, let them house and feed our prison population. We'll pay them £1000 a year per person to do it. They can set up and run the prisons in the same style as their local ones.

This simple measure would give a great boost to third world incomes, give our prisoners a taste of the punishment they so richly deserve and save us around £49K per prisoner per year. The reverse-immigration aspects would please the looney right, and we could transport them by ship, like the old days, to save on carbon.

It's a no-brainer - let's have transportation to Iraq and Afghanistan!


  • 47.
  • At 12:22 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Margaret Reardon wrote:

Some people seem to be hung up on the argument of what is causing climate change. Whether human-produced pollution is the cause of the change or not, it is certainly unhealthy and will only contribute to the problem of survival. The fact is that the climate is changing very quickly and we (citizens of the world) must learn quickly how to cope with it. Money (without which we have become unable to survive)must be spent on developing technology that can help us cope. Where and how that technology is produced is important because the question of the equitable distribution of wealth is important - as is the equitable distribution of health. Do we, as a species, want to survive? Maybe not. If, however, you're interested in the experiment, put your money where your mouth is.

  • 48.
  • At 10:01 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Julian Head wrote:

Is CO2 the main contributing factor causing climate change? As yet, I as an everyday member of the public have not been at all convinced this is the case. Indeed, the CH4 Documentary entitled 'the great climate change swindle' gave a very powerful argument against this notion.

To date, I am unaware of such a credible argument being presented to the contrary, in simple terms that does not rely on flawed models. Agreed, we as humans have / are causing massive impact to our global environment but I am sceptical that commercial / political gain is not at the heart of this contentious CO2 = Climate change issue.

Can anyone out there point to credible research that has not been 'encouraged' by contributions for political or commercial benefit?

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