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Richard Morrison , 202.331.2273
Washington, D.C., June 22, 2006—Following months of closed-door sessions on the role of technology, not rationing, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the United States and the European Union have agreed to pursue a new emissions reduction initiative, targeting the development of new energy technologies and gains in efficiency and conservation.
Yesterday’s announcement in Vienna of the planned High Level Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development also emphasized diversification of energy sources, market transparency and global supply stability, avoiding any endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for mandatory reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“While this week’s agreement is short on specific commitments, it could be a useful vehicle for steering the Europeans away from their disastrous and failing attempt to go on an energy starvation diet,” said Director of Energy & Global Warming Policy Myron Ebell .
In addition to emissions reductions from efficiency gains and new technologies, Wednesday’s announcement included a reference to “market-based mechanisms to promote cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” a potentially more controversial element of the agreement.
“The Vienna announcement diplomatically avoids any definition of what legal structures can be considered ‘market’ based, how inexpensive emissions reductions must be to be considered ‘cost-effective,’ and, most importantly, who decides,” said Ebell. “Any commitment to truly cost-effective emissions reductions will limit them to voluntary actions undertaken in the market itself – not via a government-simulated ‘mechanism’”
“This initiative vividly highlights the European Union’s increasing realization that the Kyoto Protocol is a dead end,” said CEI Senior Fellow Christopher C. Horner . “With no countries willing to join their Kyoto project and greenhouse gas emissions actually increasing across the board in Europe since Kyoto – and overall nearly twice as fast as in the U.S. – it is not surprising that they would look to the U.S. to construct a face-saving alternative.”