Bjørn Lomborg writes on hisFacebook page about this story on WUWT: Newsbytes: Japan Stuns UN Climate Summit By Ditching CO2 Target
The last twenty years of international climate negotiations have achieved almost nothing and have done so at enormous economic cost. Japan’s courageous announcement that it is scrapping its unrealistic targets and focusing instead on development of green technologies could actually be the beginning of smarter climate policies.
Japan has acknowledged that its previous greenhouse gas reduction target of 25 per cent below 1990 levels was unachievable, and that its emissions will now increase by some 3 per cent by 2020. This has provoked predictable critiques from the ongoing climate summit in Warsaw. Climate change activists called it “outrageous” and a “slap in the face for poor countries”.
Yet, Japan has simply given up on the approach to climate policy that has failed for the past twenty years, promising carbon cuts that don’t materialise – or only do so at trivial levels with very high costs for taxpayers, industries and consumers. Instead, al…most everyone seems to have ignored that Japan has promised to spend $110 billion over five years – from private and public sources – on innovation in environmental and energy technologies. Japan could – incredible as it may sound – actually end up showing the world how to tackle global warming effectively.
Unfortunately the Japanese model is not even on the agenda in Warsaw. The same failed model of spending money on immature technologies remains dominant. That involves the world spending $1 billion a day on inefficient renewable energy sources — a projected $359 billion for 2013. But a much lower $100 billion per year invested worldwide in R&D could be many times more effective. This is the conclusion of a panel of economists, including three Nobel laureates, working with the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think-tank that publicises the best ways for governments to spend money to help the world.
If green technology could be cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone would switch, not just a token number of well-meaning rich nations. We would not need to convene endless climate summits that come to nothing. A smart climate summit would encourage all nations to commit 0.2 per cent of GDP – about $100 billion globally – to green R&D. This could solve global warming in the medium term by creating cheap, green energy sources, that everyone would want to use.
Instead of criticising Japan for abandoning an approach that has repeatedly failed, we should applaud it for committing to a policy that could actually meet the challenge of global warming.
Read the full article in Britain’s The Times:
More on Japan’s new climate policies: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-11-14/japan-sets-new-emissions-target-in-setback-to-un-treaty-talks
h/t to David Hagen