Kyoto approach has no effect – changes necessary?

A report from researchers at Oxford University and LSE is suggesting a new approach that is more practical.

“Many governments in major economies seek to cut their carbon emissions by large percentages. The question is how to do so deliberately. Efforts over nearly two decades to reduce emissions have thus far borne no fruit.”

“Between 1990 and 2000 the carbon intensity of the global economy was 0.27 tonnes for every additional $1,000 of GDP. In the period 2001 to 2006, that intensity rose to 0.53 tonnes for every additional $1,000 GDP. Therefore during the period in which the most concern has been expressed about the need to reduce emissions, the world has become more carbon intensive.”

If countries really aspire to cut emissions, the authors suggest that the motor of an effective mechanism be a direct approach to the decarbonization of the global energy system, rather than an indirect approach via manipulation of the economy.

The logic behind this direct approach is explained by the Kaya Identity which shows that there are only four macro-scale policy levers – population, wealth, energy intensity (meaning units of energy per unit of GDP), carbon intensity. Each of these entails a definite policy.

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