Some interesting info I encountered, which I bet 95% of people are ignorant about regarding the climate change facts. This is regarding the famous Kyoto Protocol or Kyoto Treaty.
In case you aren’t up to speed about the Kyoto Protocol, from wikipedia:
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3–14 June 1992. The treaty is intended to achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
The treaty was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, opened for signature on 16 March 1998, and closed on 15 March 1999. The agreement came into force on 16 February 2005 following ratification by Russia on 18 November 2004. As of May 2008, a total of 181 countries and 1 regional economic integration organization (the EEC) have ratified the agreement (representing over 61.6% of emissions from Annex I countries).
The rather trivial bit I researched is that the Kyoto Treaty, negotiated in 1997, used 1990 as its base year for measuring increases or decreases in CO2 emissions amongst countries. This doesn’t strike a raw nerve? Well, not until you delve deeper into the facts and see why 1990 is significant.
Well as it turns out, between 1990 – 1995, for various reasons CO2 emissions had been declining, especially amongst Kyoto Treaty ratifying countries. The following excerpt from Climate Skeptic:
CO2 Emissions Changes, 1990-1995
EU -2.2% Former Communist -26.1% Germany -10.7% UK -6.9% Japan 7.2% US 6.4%
In the above, the categories are not mutually exclusive. Germany and UK are also in the EU numbers, and Germany is included in the former communist number as well. Note that all numbers exclude offsets and credits.
As you can see, led by the collapse of the former communist economies and the shuttering of inefficient Soviet industries, in addition to the substitution of British gas for coal, the European negotiators knew they had tremendous CO2 reductions already in their pocket, IF 1990 was chosen as a base year. They could begin Kyoto already looking like heroes, despite the fact that the reductions from 1990-1997 were almost all due to economic and political happenings unrelated to CO2 abatement programs.
You can also check the statistics for yourself to see how the countries stacked up against each other. What’s even more interesting than the use of 1990 as a base date to benefit Kyoto Treaty ratifiers, is the performance of those same countries AFTER the treaty. This is echoed both by Climate Skeptic and Tom Nelson’s blog:
Between 1997 and 2004, carbon dioxide emissions rose as follows:
Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%;Emissions from countries that ratified the protocol increased 21.1%;
Emissions from non-ratifiers of the protocol increased 10.0%;
Emissions from the US (a non-ratifier) increased 6.6%;
Emissions from the US increased less than 75% of ratifying countries.
With respect to the last point, the following are the percentage rises in emissions for a list of selected countries which have ratified the protocol (or which were exempted from targets): Maldives, 252%; China, 55%; Luxembourg, 43%; Iran, 39%; Norway, 24%; Russia, 16%; Italy, 16%; Finland, 15%; Mexico, 11%; Japan, 11%; Canada, 8.8%.
Not only did the Kyoto folks set the base date unfairly, but all of them fared worse than non-ratifiers AFTER the treaty was signed.