Azara Blog: Latest IPCC report on climate change

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Date published: 2007/02/02

The BBC says:

Global climate change is "very likely" to have a human cause, an influential group of scientists has concluded.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said temperatures were probably going to increase by 1.8-4C (3.2-7.2F) by the end of the century.

It also projected that sea levels were most likely to rise by 28-43cm, and global warming was likely to influence the intensity of tropical storms.

The findings are the first of four IPCC reports to be published this year.

Nothing that new here, and well trailed in advance of publication. Meanwhile, the BBC also published a related "viewpoint" by Oliver Tickell:

I have drafted a set of proposals under the name Kyoto 2, departing significantly from the ineffective framework of the existing Kyoto Protocol.

Key features include:

Taken as a whole, these measures offer a new approach which would achieve the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas production in a way that is economically efficient, fair and equitable.
Burning a barrel of oil produces about 0.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide, so a $20 (£10) price for Rights (per tonne of CO2) would put about $8 (£4) on a barrel of oil - or 5 US cents (2.5p) on a litre of petrol.

This proposal makes more sense than most. But there are still problems. What if companies are willing to buy more "Rights" than would be deemed to be good for the planet. Who is going to decide who gets what? Or is the price just going to be allowed to rise and rise? In either case, the consequence will be that rich people can do what they want, and poor people will lose out. And, for example, it does not get around the issue that instead of properly disposing of waste, companies in some countries will just dump it in the nearest river or elsewhere, and this is an externality which in the end represents a carbon subsidy. And unless there is some global agency with the power to enforce proper accounting, the whole scheme is rather meaningless.

And the average UK motorist would just laugh when seeing the figure of 2.5p on a litre of petrol. The UK fuel duty is already 48p per litre, and much of that is allegedly a carbon tax. So the UK motorist is already paying a carbon tax way over what is being proposed. And no other consumer of energy in the UK is, including train passengers and domestic energy consumers. But of course in the UK one of the two main targets of the so-called environmentalists for an even bigger carbon tax are car drivers. Go figure. (The other target being airline passengers. But never train passengers, who in fact pay a negative carbon tax since their journey is subsidised.)

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