Guest post by Willis Eschenbach
The upcoming Copenhagen climate summit, officially and ponderously named “COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009”, is aimed at reducing the emissions of the developed world. The main players, of course, are the US and Western Europe. There is a widespread perception that if the US and Western Europe could only get our CO2 emissions under control, the problem would be solved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To see the gaping hole in this idea, it is only necessary to look at the historical record of carbon emissions. Here is that graph:
While in 1970 the US and Western Europe combined to contribute about half of all CO2 emissions, at present this is far from true. In the past 35 years, the combined emissions of the US and Western Europe have risen only slightly. Globally, however, CO2 emissions have risen steeply, with no end in sight.
So it doesn’t matter if Europe signs on to a new Kyoto. It doesn’t matter if the US adopts Cap and Trade. Both of them together will make no significant difference. Even if both areas could roll their CO2 emissions back to 1970 levels, it would not affect the situation in the slightest.
These are meaningless attempts to hold back a rising tide of emissions. Me, I don’t think rising CO2 levels are a problem. But if you think it will be a problem, then you should definitely concentrate on adaptation strategies .. because mitigation simply isn’t going to work.