Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Ups And Downs Of Greenhouse Gases

The second Meeting of the Parties ("MOP2") to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ("FCCC") is currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya. In honor of MOP2, a quick look at the actual data on emissions of greenhouse gases ("GHG") by the Annex I parties to the Kyoto Protocol is in order.

Notice the striking differences in emissions changes from 1990-2004 by developed countries (mostly occupying the upper half of bar graph: increases in GHG emissions) and former members of the Warsaw Pact (mostly occupying the lower half of bar graph: decreases in GHG emissions). The increases of the developed countries (pink line) are roughly balanced (blue line) by the decreases of the former Warsaw Pact countries (red line).

These data strongly suggest that, if a GHG-trading system incorporating all Annex I countries were ever established, the former Warsaw Pact countries could benefit handsomely from the economic travails they have suffered since the fall of the Berlin Wall by selling unused GHG-emission credits to developed countries that emit more GHG than they should.

The COP2 is currently discussing just such an emissions trading system, in part because the potential gains from trade are so tantalizing.


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