Even if the science was reliable (which it isn’t), we should not force the world’s poorest countries to cut carbon emissions
Exactly a fortnight from today, the United Nations climate change conference opens in Copenhagen. Its purpose is (or was) clear: to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Under Kyoto, all those developed nations that ratified the treaty (all, in practice, except the US) agreed to cut their carbon emissions to 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The successor treaty, to be agreed at Copenhagen, was intended to secure a cut in global emissions, from the developed and developing world alike (and China has now overtaken even the US), of 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, leading to more or less total decarbonisation by the end of the century.
As Gordon Brown declared in his Guildhall speech only a week ago, Copenhagen must “forge a new international agreement ... [which] must contain the full range of commitments required: on emissions reductions by both developed and developing countries, on finance and on verification”.