The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s plan of prevention has been trialled by combining regulation under the Kyoto Protocol with the dissuasive powers of a carbon dioxide trading system, for instance in Europe. From this trial it is apparent that the CO2 reductions agreed to under Kyoto, even were all to be achieved, will make no measurable difference to future temperature. Also, the experience of early mover countries on carbon dioxide taxation, such as Norway, is that at reasonable tax levels of $15-25/tonne no reduction in emissions is achieved, Norway’s having increased 15% since 1990. Thus Plan A doesn’t work, can’t work and won’t work; it is already a dead parrot.
Meanwhile, Nature has delivered powerful messages recently as to the danger of natural climate change, via Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in USA, and devastating bushfires and floods in Australia in 2009. It is obvious that countries need to be better prepared to understand, cope with and adapt to the damaging effects of these and other natural climatic events and trends. Just like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, major climatic events are unpredictable long in advance and unstoppable once started.
The appropriate response – and climate policy plan B – is to adapt to such events when and as they occur.
This was the essence of Bob Carter’s presentation to the second international conference on Climate Change in New York. Professor Carter, compared the relative merits of the current policy of trying to “prevent global warming” by reductions of carbon dioxide emissions (Plan A), with the merits of adapting to climate change as and when it occurs (Plan B).
Professor Carter also argued that adaptation to climate events is intrinsically local or regional in nature, for climate risks vary widely with geography. Importantly, a country that has prepared to deal with the wide vagaries of natural climate change within their territory is, by that very fact, positioned to deal with any human-caused climate change if and when it occurs.
Read the complete summary of presentations from Day 3 at Quadrant Online.