The UN’s summit on global warming, where they hoped to sign world leaders up to more green measures to combat carbon dioxide, is not proving to be a popular affair. The USA, China, Canada, Australia, Japan and Russia want no part in more targets to cut carbon dioxide. China’s President, Xi Jinping has more pressing matters to attend to, as does Mr Modi of India. More surprisingly, Angela Merkel the German Chancellor and leading representative of the world’s last bastion of anti carbon dioxide enthusiasm, the EU, is also unavailable to come.
Mrs Merkel would be well advised to stay at home and with her energy advisers to try and work out how to keep the German lights on and the factory wheels turning at acceptable cost. Germany is very dependent on unreliable renewables, and also on Russian gas. As a result, ironically, Germany is turning more and more to depend on coal, one of the worst fuels if cutting carbon dioxide is your main aim. Germany’s anti carbon dioxide policy turns out to be both dearer and less successful than America’s. By going for self sufficiency in oil and gas, and relying more on domestic gas for energy production, the USA has done a better job in curbing carbon dioxide than Germany. The USA refused to join in global target driven approaches. The EU did join in but simply failed to hit the more exacting targets.
The Kyoto agreement ran out in 2012. The planned extension to 2020 agreed at Doha has so far only been ratified by 11 out of the 144 countries involved. It looks as if green is the last decade’s colour when it comes to the main countries of the world. It would be a good time to have an audit of what has worked and what has not when it comes to keeping the lights on, keeping the bills down and producing power that does least environmental damage. We might find that conventional wisdom about who has got it right and wrong is not correct.