How are the Kyoto signatories—chiefly the European Union (EU), Japan and Canada—doing at meeting their emissions targets? Emissions from the EU-15 have dropped by 1.5 percent since 1990, which is still well above their agreed target reduction of 8 percent below what they emitted in 1990. A report last year from the European Environment Agency projected that the EU-15 would not likely reach their 2012 Kyoto Protocol emissions target unless they adopt more stringent policies. Nevertheless, the EU jauntily declared that it would cut its GHG emissions by 20 percent below its 1990 level by 2020.
Canada committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 6 percent below its 1990 level, but as of 2004, Canada emitted 27 percent more GHG than it did in 1990. Japan is supposed to cut its GHG emissions by 6 percent, but recent projections suggest that it may emit 2 percent more than it did in 1990. For comparison, U.S. GHG emissions are up over 16 percent of what they were in 1990.
At the U.N. meeting on Monday, the EU, Canada, and Japan all came out in favor of a binding target of cutting GHG emissions by 50 percent below their 1990 levels by 2050. The Bush Administration is against binding reductions targets, preferring to focus on research to develop clean energy technologies that do not emit GHGs—e.g., nuclear, wind, solar and carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Carbon sequestration means burying carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels by injecting it into underground reservoirs. At the U.N. climate confab, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice declared, "Ultimately, we must develop and bring to market new energy technologies that transcend the current system of fossil fuels, carbon emissions and economic activity. Put simply, the world needs a technological revolution."
Embarrassing. Canada has got to get its act together on this.
As for the U.S. "solution", they are hand-waving in order to justify inaction. Instead, we need to a) reduce emissions now and b) work towards the development of cleaner technology. It's not an either/or scenario.
Related article: "Canadian shame at the UN's conference on global warming (2006)."