Peak & Trade: German PIK Scientists Propose Per Capita Climate Quota

Rudolf Kipp of http://www.science-skeptical.de/blog/deutsche-klimaforscher-starten-neuen-rettungsversuch-fur-ein-globales-klimaabkommen-die-klima-kopfpauschale/002480/  reports on the latest German plan to save the planet: Peak and Trade. This is my summary in English.

Without a doubt the Copenhagen Climate Conference last December was a major flop. A treaty for reducing CO2 emissions could not find the support it needed. The conference was such a disaster that a climate agreement is all but ruled out for 2010 as well. So, what to do?

Policy Shift in Germany
The Potsdamer Institute for Climate Impact Research, which includes alarmists Stefan Rahmstorf and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, has been the primary advisor for chancellor Angela Merkel, and have arguably lost much clout since the embarrassment that was Copenhagen.

To get things back on track, PIK has come up with a new position paper that outlines a whole new approach that could lead to a breakthrough in climate treaty negotiations. It’s dubbed New Strategies for Reaching the 2°C max Climate Target, a scheme which the PIK calls Peak and Trade. It calls for a so-called per capita climate quota, see here (Abstract written in English). http://www.pik-potsdam.de/research/publications/pikreports/.files/pr116.pdf

The PIK scientists call for allocating a quota of 5 tonnes of CO2 to every inhabitant on earth. Should an earthling exceed the quota, then payment would be made into a fund (a yet to be created World Climate Bank). If the quota is not reached, then money would come out of the fund as a reward.

This of course becomes very attractive for the poorest of countries, and very expensive for industrious nations. For example the average American emits 16.9 tonnes of CO2 – more than three times the quota. Yet, some European countries with high amounts of hydroelectric or nuclear power are well-positioned. For example Sweden and Switzerland emit on average 5.6 tonnes, the French 6.3 tonnes. The financial punishment of Peak & Trade would be mild and thus bearable.

The per capita climate quota is very attractive for developing countries
Before anyone writes this idea off as crazy, take a close look at the numbers and who the potential winners and losers would be. But first, where does the 5.1 tonnes of CO2 per earthling number come from? The authors of the paper simply have taken the projected 2015 CO2 emissions figure of 35 billion tonnes and divided it by the current world population of 6.9 billion. Copenhagen failed in part because of resistance from the developing countries, especially Brazil, China and India. They just didn’t see enough incentives. These countries however are well below the magic 5.1 tonne quota – especially Brazil and India, and so now they have ample reason to enthusiastically support Peak and Trade.  It’s reasonable to think this is the instrument to get them back on board.

The per capita climate quota is also an incentive for population growth (and poverty)
Poor developing countries now stand to rake in the cash. The more inhabitants and the poorer the standard of living, the more money a country stands to pull in. That could be an irresistable incentive for many countries. The humanitarian problem with this German Meisterwerk of a plan now becomes clear: governments and regimes in poor countries would have no incentive to improve living standards for their citizens, and thus keep CO2 emissions at low levels. The funds earned by falling below the 5.1 tonne quota of course would never be seen by the poor citizens. Most likely these funds would flow into in the hands of corrupt government officials and into anonymous bank accounts in Switzerland.

Readers may think this is some far-fetched idea. It is – and that’s the danger. These things are often hatched by social engineering experimentalists here in Europe and they always seem to grow legs. Don’t underestimate it. Peak and Trade has to be killed.

Explore posts in the same categories: Climate Politics

One Comment on “Peak & Trade: German PIK Scientists Propose Per Capita Climate Quota”

  1. Brian H Says:

    Seems to me a little bit of elementary bookkeeping would deflate this. The transfer payments would necessarily be a small fraction of the benefits available from actual development and living standard improvements for the poorer countries.

    I keep getting the feeling that this sort of nonsense is only going to be killed when the Alarmists are not granted the kind of wiggle room that saying, “Well, CO2 undoubtedly has some warming effect, but …” allows them.

    The whole hypothesis has to be disproven. I think the physics is there to do that. “Signature” absorption and re-emission is not any kind of forcing mechanism, not least because the hydrological cycle is such a powerful negative feedback mechanism for ANY warming.


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