TCS Daily

TCS COP11 Coverage: Home of Le Whopper

By Christopher C. Horner - December 6, 2005 12:00 AM

MONTREAL -- In "Animal House", Dean Wormer pleaded, "Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween the trees are filled with underwear. Every Spring the toilets explode." The alpha Omega, Greg Marmalard, replied, "You're talking about Delta, sir."

If the UN were Faber College, those fun-loving Deltas would be the European Environment Agency (EEA). Every December the EEA litters the trees of the Kyoto Protocol talks, such as those going on this week in Montreal, with increasingly absurd reports of its superior performance on the cadaver that is the "global warming" treaty. This year's stunt, however, takes the cake.

An EEA press release touts:

Climate change: EU on track to reach Kyoto targets, latest projections show

The EU is well on its way to achieve its Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases on the basis of the policies, measures and third-country projects already implemented or planned...The latest projections from member states indicate that a combination of existing policies and measures, additional initiatives which are already in an advanced state of planning, and credits gained through the protocol's mechanisms for promoting emission-saving projects in third countries will reduce combined EU-15 emissions to 9.3% below 1990 levels by 2010. This clearly fulfils the 8% reduction target from 1990 levels that the protocol requires the EU-15 to achieve during 2008-2012.

A credulous Reuters took it one step further, claiming "Europe ahead of Kyoto targets". The Ireland Online news source said "the European Union is comfortably on track to reach gas emission targets required under the Kyoto Protocol."

So is Europe really on its way to Kyoto compliance?

Press releases and press accounts notwithstanding, the actual EEA report itself suggests no such thing. On the first page, first paragraph of the report we learn that:

"[e]ven with planned additional domestic policies and measures, the target will not be reached. The target will only be attained when Kyoto mechanisms are taken into account."

By "mechanisms" the EU refers to buying greenhouse gas "credits" from countries whose economies collapsed after Kyoto's 1990 baseline, and receiving credit for jointly building clean projects in other countries. The latter are still mostly mired in UN bureaucracy. The former is remarkably expensive, given the emissions gap to be filled and that "credits" currently sell in the €22-26 range ($26-31). It is by no means certain sufficient credits will exist for the EU, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and others projecting emissions well above their Kyoto quotas to buy their way into compliance.

For years, Europe touted a future downward trajectory for its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Yet Europe's GHGs not only are a far cry from their looming (2008-12) quota; they are rising. This according to the EEA itself.


After fifteen years of old school command-and-control schemes failing to bring down emissions as promised, Europe's new Kyoto tactic recalls the classic Soviet joke of Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev sitting on a train when it suddenly stops. After some time, Lenin says that he will encourage the train to its inevitable destiny and makes a rousing speech to the rail workers. They cheer, raise red banners and go off. The train refuses to move.

Stalin sends out his guard to shoot the driver, fireman and assorted conductors. The train refuses to move.

Brezhnev pulls down the blinds in the carriage and announces, "The train is moving."

Europe's emission-reduction train is moving, faster and further than before, but only backward. They've just pulled the blind down on their emissions.

Peering behind a louvered slat, however, reveals what constitutes this assumed reduction. The new report's summary plainly states:

"Existing domestic policies and measures will reduce total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions by only 1.6 % from base-year levels by 2010. When the additional domestic policies and measures being planned by Member States are taken into account, an EU-15 emissions reduction of 6.8% is projected. However, this relies on several Member States cutting emissions by more than is required to meet their national targets, which cannot be taken for granted." (emphasis added)

Another thing we should not take for granted is mainstream media outlets reporting all the facts as it relates to climate change. Europe is not meeting its emissions requirements under Kyoto. There is no way to spin this fact.

Having been dealt a setback in their efforts to browbeat America into joining their failed energy rationing scheme, the EU has successfully duped a compliant press into reporting their confession as a triumph.

Christopher C. Horner is Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, covering the 11th Conference of the Parties climate talks in Montreal.

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