Political Climate
May 04, 2007
U.N. Climate Plan Called Unrealistic

By Alan Zarembo, LA Times Staff Writer

A United Nations panel on Friday released its m ost comprehensive strategy to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming, but experts said political and economic realities likely doom it to failure. Although more than 100 countries backed the report, experts said its call for a global, multi-trillion-dollar effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is unrealistic.  The strategy to cap greenhouse gas emissions could cost 3% of the world’s GDP.

“It’s not realistic from a political standpoint, and it’s not realistic because those targets are incredibly expensive,” said Robert Mendelsohn, an economist at Yale University. The Bush administration quickly denounced the restrictions as too expensive.  “It would cause a global recession,” said James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Our goal is reducing emissions and growing the economy,” he said during a news conference in Bangkok.  See full story here



May 03, 2007
Beyond Kyoto: As European Climate Policies Crumble, the U.S. Approach is Finding Vindication

By Mark Bergin, World Magazine

European company Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steelmaker warns that restrictive government caps on greenhouse gases may soon force the closure of two large factories in France. The resulting dip in production from such a move would press Arcelor Mittal to import steel from far less efficient factories in the Third World, where CO2 emissions restrictions are not enforced.

Hardly an isolated incident, businesses throughout Europe are laying off employees, outsourcing production, and reining in innovation as a luxury no longer affordable. Michel Wurth, president of Arcelor Mittal France, calls the situation “absolutely ridiculous.” Spanish steelmaker Acernex and Dutch silicon carbide manufacturer Kollo Holding, are choking on the continent’s skyrocketing cost of electricity. Acernex has transported production overseas and closed several factories. Kollo Holding must shut down its plant for hours each day and has lost customers to competitors in China.

Despite such economic costs, EU emissions levels continue to rise, illustrating Kyoto’s failure on both economic and environmental fronts.  Many British environmentalists blame politicians for the failures, but recent polling throughout the EU suggests public opinion has turned against overly optimistic Kyoto-like requirements. Benny Peiser, a researcher at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, expects that greater economic costs will further unravel the continent’s once strong green consensus. He suggests that Europe’s stubborn unwillingness to admit failure may be the only force preventing an all-out abandonment of Kyoto: “A political failure of the Kyoto process would, without a shadow of doubt, cause incalculable trauma to European pride and standing.”
See full story here



May 03, 2007
Czech President Klaus: Our Planet is Blue Not Green

Radio Prague

Czech president Vaclav Klaus, an economist by profession, is preparing to do battle with environmentalists. In his latest book called “Our Planet is Blue - Not Green”, which is to be released shortly, the president challenges the conclusions reached by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change namely that climate change is caused by human activity. The president on Wednesday presented his views to students at the Prague School of Economics, where he argued that environmentalists were not only misleading society - they were actually a threat to further development.

President Klaus is not just disgruntled - he is downright disbelieving. The president sees the threat of global warming as a myth created by “ambitious fundamentalist environmentalists”.  Artur Runge Metzger from the European Commission who recently chaired an international conference on global warming in Prague, says that with due respect to the Czech president, he is more inclined to believe the IPCC.  See full story here



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