Planet Gore

Reality Check

Benny Peiser’s indispensable CCNet update today carries the following bits, one translated from the original German:

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called for punitive duties on imports from polluters if India and China do not move to slow the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. He was asked what would happen if the European steel or aluminium industry collapsed and production moved to China because of laxer carbon-dioxide emissions rules. ‘We’ll tell them, you have to pay up on your products at the border to the European Union, to the United States and to Japan,’ he replied.

Deutsche Presse Agentur, 16 June 2007
Europe is failing to keep its promise to cut carbon emissions, new figures reveal. The European Commission disclosed that since the Kyoto treaty targets for cutting emissions were set in 1997, the EU has achieved a 2 per cent reduction. This means that at its average rate of reduction it would be impossible to achieve its Kyoto obligations to reduce emissions by 8 per cent by 2012.

The Age, 16 June 2007

What is most important from the first excerpt is that Gabriel didn’t just fail to lump the US in with the rogue emitters, but listed us as those who would team up with the EU and Japan against them! Close observers of EU climate hyperbole will note the stark contrast from the norm. One is tempted to think that maybe the actual numbers are getting around and he’s figured out that not only does the EU not have clean hands, the US of late is actually performing better, thus dimming their hopes of a WTO complaint against the US for failing to curb its emissions (it would instead be for the playground complaint that the US failed to promise to do so, that is, to make the promise that the EU is breaking, and that’s not fair).
One is tempted to think that the actual facts are circulating, that is, until one reads the second paragraph, from The Age. You must be kidding me. See the below (the most recent EEA chart, reflecting emissions through 2004), and then remind yourself that 2006 appears to have seen an increase twice as big as the 2005 down-tick that Brussels will trumpet this month.

So, EU claim in “The Age” is literally false, as emissions quite clearly have not dropped 2% since Europe made its promise in 1997 as stated; but even the intended claim — that there has been a 2% reduction from 1990 levels is not found in the EU’s (non-)performance.
So, it seems that there are days when the EU just can’t come to terms with its reality; even when they’re pretending to be sadly informing us of something, the best they can muster is “well, we’re not as spectacular as you all think, just mildly groovy.”
We call those days “weekdays”.


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