Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guy on CBC says, just turning off a light..

will make help solve global warming. What is he smoking?

Let’s review the Kyoto proposition.

Some simple arithmetic can illuminate the scale of the Kyoto problem.

Roughly speaking, the Kyoto accord goal is to reduce our greenhouse emissions (GGEs) by 50% by 2050.

Let’s restate that in terms of people. Reducing each person’s output by 50% is one way of achieving this, this is the equivalent of reducing the population polluting at current levels by 50% or 16 million people.

According to IIASA – an NGO, http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/argu/trends/trend_10.htm
the Chinese population will increase by 260 million people in the next 30 years i.e. by 2037. Thus even if Canada achieves its Kyoto goal by 2050 it won’t mean a thing because, in terms of equivalent numbers of people, we will have reduced our population by 16 million people and they will have increased their population by 260 million, or 16 times our population.

Chinese are lesser polluters per capita you say? If the Chinese currently produce only a third of Canadian’s output, Canadian output from 16 million equals Chinese output from 48 million people, but that’s at today’s rates of output. Chinese industry and its economy is growing at great rates – China is bringing on line a new coal-burning electricity generation plant - every week, right now. By 2050 they will be equal with any developed nation. The comparison is equally valid with the population of India, which grew at 21% between 1991 and 2001, and is now more than a thousand million people and adds the equivalent population of Australia every year. Between 1947 and 1991, India's population more than doubled. Almost 40% of Indians are younger than 15 years of age.

Canada has 33 million people. China & India together = 2500 million people. At 2% growth per year, that’s 50 million more people every year.

Reducing pollution is generally a good idea in any case, but it is completely false to think anything we do, such as replacing light bulbs, switching off a light or driving a car one day less a week is going to have an impact on global warming. Canada is simply too small a population to matter.

Technological changes such as changing gas engines to hybrids are slow, long-term remedies.
In the short run, we can expect greenhouse gas emissions to be roughly proportional to economic activity. Were we to reduce GGEs by 30% in the next 5 years would mean a reduction of income and employment on a scale commensurate with the Great Depression. No government would inflict such disruption, nor should it.

No comments: