The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty designed to lower global temperature by having industrialized countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That the United States (US), the largest energy consumer, has not ratified the treaty frustrates climate control advocates. They do not understand our failure to embrace such a climate change hat trick: empower globalism (i.e., increase the power of the United Nations (UN)), augment environmentalism (i.e., enrich environmentalists) and, of course, regulate capitalism (i.e., punish free enterprise). Itís a win-win-win proposition, except for one problem. The scheme wonít work. World population guarantees stark failure.
This is not to say we are on the verge of Malthusian collapse. But no matter how zealously the apostles of climate control push their questionable emissions reduction schemes, there is no doubt that anthropogenic demography will trump anthropogenic temperature. Any possible emissions reduction goals achieved will be negated so readily that only colossal incompetence and irresponsibility can explain why global warming scientists proposed them in the first place.
To quantify this folly, letís take a look at how Kyoto would play out with full US participation. Donít be alarmed by the math. Remember, mathematics is the language of science (although the verdict is out on the global warming variety). In any case, itís only middle school algebra and all of the terms and numbers are from UN sources.
Annual global energy consumption (GEC) can be estimated by
GEC = n1*c1 + n2*c2,
where n1 is the population of the industrialized world (North America, Europe and Oceana) and c1 is its per capita energy consumption; n2 and c2 are the corresponding parameters for the developing world (Asia, Africa and Latin America). According to 2010 UN population figures, n1 = 1.12 billion and n2 = 5.79 billion. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), c1 = 4720 and c2 = 976, where these values are measured in kilograms of oil equivalent (KGOE). Thus, without Kyoto, the current GEC would be
Let r be the emissions reduction rate for industrialized countries. Since developing countries are not required to reduce emissions, annual GEC under the Kyoto scheme would be given by
GEC = (1 Ė r)* n1*c1 + n2*c2.
Initially, a 5.2% emissions reduction below 1990 energy consumption levels was set for industrialized countries. But for this simple, illustrative analysis, letís assume a 10% reduction from 2010 levels. Then, with US participation, the current GEC would be
GEC = (1 Ė 0.1)* 1.12*4720 + 5.79*976
= 10,409 billion KGOEs.
Thus, if the US joined other industrialized countries in reducing their emissions by 10%, a GEC of 10,409 billion KGOEs would be achieved Ė a level that would eventually reduce global temperature by a degree or so Ė they hope. That is, we must continue at this level until the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us that environmental catastrophe has been averted Ė at least until 2050. However, in 2050, n1 = 1.19 billion and n2 = 7.96 billion. Then, GEC will be
GEC = (1 Ė 0.1)* 1.19*4720 + 7.96*976
= 12,824 billion KGOEs.
Oops! Thatís a 2,415 billion increase over the planet-saving 10,409 level. Scientists at the IPCC apparently forgot to take into account the 37% population increase in developing countries. No problem. The emissions reduction rate required for industrialized countries to bring world GEC back into alignment can be easily found by solving for r:
r = (GEC Ė n2*c2)/n1*c1
= (10,409 - 7.96*976)/1.19*4720 = 0.47.
Oops, again! And, this time, itís a very inconvenient oops. At 47%, weíll have to try 4.7 times harder than before. If you have turned your thermostat down three degrees to save Mother Earth today (e.g., from 75 degrees to the Obama-recommended 72 degrees), plan on turning it down over 14 degrees by 2050. At 47%, the Prius of 2050 might be the ten-speed bicycle; the Energy Star clothes dryer, the clothesline.
It gets worse Ė much worse. With their cheap labor and emissions reduction exemption, developing countries will become the manufacturers of the most energy-intensive products used by developed countries. Among other products, they will, no doubt, produce all of our windmills and solar panels. Their factories will use more energy and their, now wealthier, employees will increase purchases of products (electrical appliances, automobiles, etc.) that consume more energy. Therefore, assume, quite reasonably, that developing countries increase per capita energy consumption to, say, 1300 KGOEs Ė a 33% increase, but still a small fraction of what people in developed countries consume. In this case, the 2050 GEC would be
GEC = (1 Ė 0.47)* 1.19*4720 + 7.96*1300
= 13,325 billion KGOEs.
Oops, again! And, this time, itís a fatal oops. Even with the industrialized world complying at a 47% emissions reduction rate, a slight 324 KGOE increase in developing world energy consumption results in a 2916 billion increase over the 10,409 level needed to save the planet. Luckily, solving the above equation for a new planet-saving emissions rate is unnecessary. Noting that 7.96*1300 = 10,348, energy consumption by developing countries alone effectively breaks the planet-saving energy budget of 10,409. That is, under UN-projected population growth and a reasonable estimate of energy consumption growth in developing countries, the emissions reduction rate for industrialized countries required to make the Kyoto scheme work is 100%.
The Kyoto Protocol is a parasitic scheme in which the population of developing countries acts as an inherent flaw, bounding its effectiveness to a level well below that required for its own success. This bound depends, ultimately, on a determination of the corresponding economic hardship industrialized countries would be willing to tolerate. But it canít be 100%. And, given the energy-intensive standard of living of industrialized countries, itís probably well below 47%. Itís one thing to propose a stupid plan. Sometimes, even a stupid plan has a chance of eventual success. Itís quite another to propose one that defies middle school algebra.
Congratulations! If you made it this far, you are smarter than a global warming scientist.