Is Kyoto Dead?

Yvo de Boer, former secretary general of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in an interview with the German “tageszeitung”:

The spirit of the Kyoto Protocol vanished. The body is still being artificially held alive and maybe some organs can be transplanted. But we must recognize that the Kyoto Protocol is dead.

His proposal is to give up the idea of a “post-Kyoto” and try new ideas instead – for example the establishment of a world climate organization similar to the WTO – one that would formulate standards for economic actors and give the markets more weight in combating climate change. Continue reading


Cancún – Success or Failure?

Neither nor. The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico, had an end yesterday. It has achieved surprisingly much when you consider the pessimistic forecasts (success). It has achieved very little when you consider the actual needs (failure). With other words: we have not been dropped back, but we have not come further as well. We are standing still. It is sad that this is considered a success by many. Continue reading

The Good Example of ETS

One of the most intensively discussed subjects in the economics of climate change is the question of what is the best way of pricing carbon. The most common (and the only one that has been implemented so far) proposal is cap and trade. The idea is simple: constrain the amount of emissions permitted and let market agents decide whether they want to buy permissions or invest in technologies causing less emissions instead. Continue reading

Beyond Cancún

It is almost obvious that the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, with all its meetings, won’t bring much change. The US are considered incapable of action. To hope that the Chinese will take over the leadership is somewhat… naive. Perhaps they will do it rhetorically – but that is not enough. Unfortunately, the Chinese mentality seems to hinder them from engaging in anything that is really global (if there are any Sinologists out there who know better – correct me). In China, they are building up a world leading “green industry”, with all its wind mills, solar power stations and so on. But, unlike many environmentalists hope, it is not the same as wanting to build up a comprehensive framework for fighting the climate change. Do they avoid commitment? Don’t they understand that global warming is a global challenge? Do they just want to have leading role in another area of the global economy (viz., green technology)? I don’t know. But there is something that hinders them from taking over the leadership from the US and the EU. Continue reading