This post was written by Richard Tol
As predicted, the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change did not bring much, despite the arduous effort of most of the 17,000 delegates in Doha. The Doha Gateway Package promises that a new treaty will be negotiated by 2015. The 2007 Bali Roadmap promised the same, only to fail two years later in Cancun. I predict that the Paris negotiations will not deliver either.
Doha did extend the Kyoto Protocol from 2015 (as agreed in Durban) to 2020. The Kyoto Protocol is now a European affair, with Australia as an honorary member. The emissions targets agreed in Doha are the same as the targets adopted a long time ago in Brussels.
Doha did agree to end the twin-track negotiations, with one track for Europe to do what it wants and another for the rest of world to be in deadlock. Europe will join the deadlock so.
At the moment, donor countries divert development assistance to climate aid, meant to reduce overseas emissions and help poor countries adapt to climate change. (By the way, development assistance also pays for the international travel of Ireland’s climate negotiators.) In Doha, there was much talk of changing these voluntary contributions to mandatory ones, based on some form of accountability.
Needless to say, the USA are dead against any admission of liability. China’s position will rapidly change once they realize that they are the greatest contributor to climate change since 1992, when climate change was internationally recognized as a problem.
Today’s editorial in the Irish Times paints a different picture. However, the EU did not take on further commitments to reduce emissions. Sandy and Bopha cannot be attributed, either physically or statistically, to climate change.
Climate policy does not need bureaucrats. A carbon tax would work just fine. I was therefore pleased that as of Budget2(0)13 solid fuels will no longer be exempted from the carbon tax. Let’s hope that the fiscal problems elsewhere will force other countries to follow Ireland’s example and introduce a carbon tax too. It would be even better if austerity would cull the excessive numbers of climocrats.