Thursday, November 15, 2007

"The Kyoto Protocol has proved totally ineffective on the practical side", says Italy's Enel / Endesa CEO

ROME, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The Kyoto Protocol that obliges rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions is not efficient, the chief executive of Italy's biggest utility Enel said on Thursday, urging all nations to join in fighting global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement on climate change. It ties 36 rich nations to caps on heat trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions until 2012.
"Kyoto has proved totally ineffective on the practical side," Enel CEO Fulvio Conti said in a speech at the World Energy Congress.

"Even a full achievement of Kyoto targets will produce a mere 1.5 percent reduction of global emissions. Much ado about nothing," he said.

Conti spoke ahead of a United Nations environment ministers' meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali early next month when they are to agree to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto treaty, which expires in five years' time.

Conti said the treaty makes the European thermoelectric power sector bear 90 percent of emission reduction costs, while it accounts for only 30 percent of emissions, creating major market distortions.

He also called for scrapping of limits imposed by the Kyoto Protocol on the the so-called flexible instruments -- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) -- which allow rich countries to carry out CO2 reduction projects in poorer countries at lower cost than at home.

(While Kyoto may be "totally ineffective", the Clean Development Mechanism is a boon to businesses like Enel: Global warming has a financial upside , Profiteering from Carbon Trading - How the Global Carbon Market will Destroy Patagonia, Chile , Kyoto ratification crucial in Australian plans for Chile hydro-development – Carbon Offsets purchased in Europe critical to dam construction. , Chile Environment Exploited to Offset European Pollution . )

Conti said CDMs and JIs are mutually beneficial as they allow EU countries to save money while cutting CO2 emissions in third countries and therefore globally. The post-Kyoto policy should involve all countries, be based on long-term and reasonable targets, be driven by market mechanisms and boost the use of flexible instruments, he said.

Here is the full article.