Kopenhagen fiasco


Er is geen bindend akkoord. Het is een soort convenant geworden. Zelfs als alle beloften uitgevoerd zouden worden, zal de aarde waarschijnlijk nog steeds meer dan 2 graden opwarmen. Hoe de toekomst hierover zal oordelen laat zich raden.

Op de ECN website zijn er de laatste dagen dagelijks nieuwe berichten uit Kopenhagen te lezen geweest van medewerkers die ter plekke aanwezig zijn/waren. Daar komen vast nog wel wat naschriften te staan.

Update: Zie hier een goede analyse van de Copenhagen onderhandelingen (hoe komt het dat het is mislukt, en hoe zou het wel kunnen?) van Heleen de Coninck (ECN), verschenen als opiniestuk in NRC, 21 dec.

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3 Responses to “Kopenhagen fiasco”

  1. Heiko Gerhauser Says:

    I’ve got a fair idea of where the 2C target comes from, thanks to Tol:

    Click to access science

    Europe’s long-term climate target: A critical evaluation
    Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 424-432
    Richard S.J. Tol

    (In summary: The 2C target cannot be justified by peer reviewed cost benefit analyses, which give carbon prices of below 50 Dollars [with a discount rate of 3% or higher] that are likely to be insufficient to meet such a target. It’s based on fairly subjective assessments of what constitutes danger.)

    I know the paper the one trillion tonnes of carbon figure is based on, but have had some difficulty working out how they took account of aerosols and non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

    Would you know?


    On Copenhagen:

    Why does there need to be an agreement?

    What is the added value compared to purely national action?

    I see it a bit for sectors of the economy affected a lot by trade. Taxes on carbon are easy to implement for petrol or domestic electricity, but for steel there is the danger that a tax merely displaces production from Europe to China. So, you might agree on a common tax to prevent Chinese companies from gaining an unfair advantage. Though even then there are purely national solutions, namely instead of punishing European steel producers with taxes they can be handed subsidies with CO2 reduction strings attached.

  2. Vincent van der Goes Says:

    “Why does there need to be an agreement?

    What is the added value compared to purely national action?”

    The point of international agreements is to avoid the “tragedy of the commons” problem. The problem is this: without an agreement, if each nation acts purely on self interest, no nation will take the lead in action against climate change. Instead, each nation will hope for the others to reduce their emissions, so that they can get a free ride.
    After all, what is the point of national action when there’s no guarantee that any other nation is going to do the same?

  3. Heiko Gerhauser Says:

    I tried to include the “tragedy of the commons” point and then decided I couldn’t put it well enough without waffling on too much, so deleted that bit of my comment.

    I know the theory and the basic psychology experiments (eg 4 people with 10 Dollars each may either keep the money or give it to a common pot where it is redistributed and doubled in the process; if all 4 participate they double their money, if 1 chooses to free ride he gets 25 Dollars and the others only get 15; with lots of variations on this theme).

    I don’t think nations are at the stage of agreements including formal punishment of free riders according to commonly agreed rules. I think there is largely a willingness to act, because it is the right thing to do, and not so much out of direct self interest.

    What does get people worked up is China exporting cheap steel and US steel workers losing their jobs as a consequence without any appreciable climate gain.

    Voters worry rather less about high carbon taxes on electricity or petrol are in other countries. If Venezuela wants to dole out subsidies on petrol of a hundred Euros per tonne of CO2, US or European voters couldn’t care less.

    For taxes on electricity or petrol I just don’t think this “tragedy of the commons” effect is much of a factor. It’s too indirect. For emission reduction targets, it’s just too abstract.

    For carbon leakage in traded sectors, it’s a real issue. But it’s not like China balking means the EU couldn’t make its steel sector more efficient, or would require trade war inducing tariffs. It could still be done in the absence of an international agreement using subsidies to the steel sector, which is of course what the free allowances and so forth of the EU ETS are about.

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