NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Glitches From Kyoto

September 22, 1999

Industrial nations aren't likely to meet the Kyoto targets for reducing carbon-dioxide emission, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, a branch of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The report claims that continued growth in the economies of industrial nations have slowed a long-term decline in the use of coal and other carbon-intense fuels. Experts who worked on the report suggest that the treaty's targets could be met more easily if they were stretched to 2020 -- rather than the period extending from 2008 to 2012.

  • The treaty calls for European nations to reduce carbon- dioxide emissions by 8 percent, the U.S. to reduce them 7 percent, and Japan to cut them 6 percent from 1990 levels.
  • But France would be penalized since the formula doesn't take into account that nation's earlier sharp increase in nonpolluting nuclear energy.
  • Similarly, Norway -- which has traditionally derived most of its electricity from hydro-electric power, which doesn't generate "greenhouse gases" -- will be hard pressed to make cuts in carbon emissions.
  • The treaty, which the U.S. has signed, isn't expected to be fully completed until late 2000 or early 2001.

After that, it will be submitted to the U.S. Senate which will have to decide whether to ratify it or not.

Source: John J. Fialka, "Industrial Nations Are Unlikely to Meet Targets for Reducing CO2 Emissions," Wall Street Journal, September 22, 1999.


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