Zapatero’s Kyoto charade

All last year industry and sections of the PP were saying that there was no way that Spain could meet its Kyoto targets, currently being overshot by more than 100% as a result of the PP’s fine economic record (see below). Economics minister Rato was mugged by a bunch of industrialists in early December in order to drive home this message, and a good article by PwC environment wonk Fernando Arlandis in Cinco Días at the beginning of February put numbers to the potentially devastating effects on Spanish industry.

Through all of this, Zapatero was saying that he would comply at any cost and that non-compliance would be bad for Spanish business. Then the PSOE won the elections and Narbona, his environment sidekick, immediately toned that down to “the lowest cost possible”. To add to the impression that priorities were changing, Spain failed to file anything remotely resembling an adequate national CO2 allocation plan by the Wednesday deadline, despite the PSOE having guaranteed that it would come up with a decent effort only days before.

Following the release yesterday of a PwC report by Juan José Toribio (which in general reiterates more dramatically and in more detail what Mr Arlandis had said two months previously), the PSOE it still flogging the Kyoto line in public but in private seems to be trying to comfort the power generators and others by distancing itself as quickly as possible from Kyoto. The red herring to be used for this purpose is called a programme of incentives to industry.

If this is straightforward old-fashioned state aid then Brussels will eventually come and whack Zapatero with a big stick; if it is not, then it will probably resemble the R&D-based solution advocated by the US, which some may find amusing. Either way it will get the PSOE through the rest of this year, by which stage even Kyoto’s few remaining fans – notably UN and EU bureaucrats reluctant to admit they have bet on the wrong horse – will have declared it dead in public. Then we will all be able to proceed in orderly fashion to Kyoto’s successor, which is known as contraction and convergence and is described in a good New Scientist article here.


For your amusement, here’s a summary from PointCarbon of progress on emissions up to 2001:

country

kyoto target

emissions in 2001

Austria

-13%

4.80%

Belgium

-7.50%

0.20%

Denmark

-21.00%

1.80%

Finland

0.00%

4.70%

France

0.00%

0.40%

Germany

-21.00%

-18.30%

Greece

25%

23.50%

Ireland

13%

31.10%

Italy

-6.50%

7.10%

Luxemburg

-28.00%

-44.20%

The Netherlands

-6.00%

4.10%

Portugal

27.00%

36.40%

Spain

15.00%

32.10%

Sweden

4.00%

-3.30%

UK

-12.50%

-12.00%

Total

-8%

-2.30%

]

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Comments

  1. The UK looks good. I don’t understand, though, why Blair et al were so keen to participate, unless it’s just to keep in Kofi’s good books.

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