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Sharp division over whether Kyoto Protocol is dead

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And just to yank on a few chains around here.... LOL

The Mercury News



The Kyoto Protocol has died. None of its members has cut carbon dioxide emissions, and their big Montreal meeting this month has failed again to agree on any future cuts.

With apologies to David Letterman, the Top 10 reasons to rejoice over the death of Kyoto are:

10. Wind farms are expensive and really ugly. They kill birds and bats. Nor do they produce much electricity when really needed, during daylight hours. Kyoto would have planted them over huge stretches of countryside.

9. None of the sanctimonious countries backing Kyoto have cut their carbon dioxide emissions since they joined the greenhouse club. Britain closed its antique coal pits and shifted to North Sea natural gas earlier, and Germany says it will cut emissions by half a percent. Smug Canada is 20 percent over its Kyoto allotment for carbon dioxide emissions.

8. Contrary to media reports, the ocean's coral reefs aren't dying from the heat. They bleach whenever the sea temperature changes, ejecting the algae partners that help them digest food, and picking new partners adapted to the new heat or cold. That's how they've survived ice ages -- and the Climate Optimum 7,000 years ago that was much warmer than today.

7. The Pacific islands aren't being flooded. More than 90 percent of the world's remaining ice is in Antarctica and Greenland -- where recent measurements show the ice sheets are growing, not melting. Sea levels have been rising at a slow 6 inches per century, with no acceleration in the past 150 years.

6. Kyoto wouldn't make any real difference to global warming. A 5 percent cut in greenhouse emissions is ridiculous if greenhouse warming is truly human-made and dangerous. Kyoto members would have to slash their carbon dioxide output by 70 percent to 80 percent to make a real difference in greenhouse gases.

5. Biologists can't find a single wildlife species that's gone extinct because of the warming of the past 150 years. In fact, the U.N. Environmental Program says we lost fewer major species in the latter part of the 20th century than in the latter part of the 19th. The big reason? We quit clearing First World forests for farming, thanks to high-powered seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.

4. The claim that global warming will create jobs is simple-minded. We would certainly create jobs if we threw away all our cars and appliances and rebuilt the gas stations to handle hydrogen. But we could achieve the same job creation by breaking all our windows and hiring people to replace them. We'd still be poorer.

3. If global warming isn't dangerous enough to warrant using safe, cost-effective nuclear power that generates no greenhouse gases, it isn't serious enough to tax trillions of dollars out of our pockets.

2. British grapes tell us the Earth is having its third warming in the past 2,000 years. The Romans grew wine grapes in England in the first century, but it was too cold for them during the following Dark Ages. The British grew wine grapes in the 12th century, but again it grew too cold for grapes during the ensuing Little Ice Age -- which lasted until 1850. Britain hasn't warmed quite enough to grow wine grapes today, but it's up to two good wine years out of 10.

1. You needn't feel guilty about changing the climate. The long ice cores brought up over the past 25 years show Earth has had 600 moderate, natural periods of global warming in the past million years -- due to variations in our sun.

Fossil pollen shows North America's trees and plants completely reorganized nine times in the past 14,000 years. Temperatures rise suddenly and erratically about 2 degrees Celsius above the mean, and fall 2 degrees Celsius below it during the cold phases. It's natural.

Goodbye, Kyoto. . . . Sayonara.


DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative public-policy research organization. He wrote this article for Knight Ridder.

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