Friday, May 25, 2007

Japan PM: Kyoto treaty's emissions goals far too modest

AP (via CNN), May 24:
The world should aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 as part of a new global warming pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.

Abe, who plans to present his idea at the Group of Eight summit in Germany in June, said the proposed climate change treaty must be flexible enough to draw all nations' participation.

"Global warming is an issue that should be addressed by the entire world," Abe said at a banquet in Tokyo. "It is indispensable to establish a new framework in which both industrialized and developing countries address this issue together."

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in Japan in 1997, requires some 35 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. Under the pact, Japan -- home to the world's second-largest economy -- was required to make a 6 percent cut.

How is Japan itself doing on the comparatively modest goals of the Kyoto treaty? Later in the article we learn:
Japan is struggling to meet its Kyoto commitments. The country currently emits 14 percent more greenhouse gases than it did in 1990. The government plans a major overhaul of its emissions reduction campaign to meet its targets.
Japan can't meet its Kyoto commitments, but its PM envisions the noble goal of halving emissions by 2050. From which year's levels? And at what cost?
Delegates from 120 countries endorsed a report earlier this year, stating the world has the technology and wealth now to act decisively in time to limit a sharp temperature rise that would wipe out species, raise oceans and trigger economic havoc.
Pure speculation, of course, from predictions of a "sharp temperature rise" all the way to predictions of "economic havoc". It doesn't take much imagination, however, to predict the economic havoc that would follow a 50% reduction in emissions.