Introducing the Kyoto Escalator: did anyone sign the protocol in good faith?

Simon Johnson introduces the Kyoto Escalator chart (inspired by the Skeptical Science Escalator chart) and argues that New Zealand was just as complicit as the major European countries in negotiating the Kyoto Protocol so that it could be complied with while gross and net emissions continued to increase.

New Zealand's Gross net and Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions 1990 to 2012
The Kyoto Escalator: New Zealand’s Gross greenhouse gas emissions (blue) increase by 19%; Net emissions (brown) increase by 23% and ‘Kyoto’ emissions (red) are less than average 1990 gross emissions.

Professor Dave Frame is the new director of the Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a University of Canterbury-trained scientist who has worked for some years in Britain. He has just joined the climate change fray with a very interesting opinion editorial “International focus needed over climate” in the Dominion Post. Welcome to climate change issues back in New Zealand, David.

Frame notes that New Zealand does not want to be thought of as the country that reneges on international treaties.

“Reputationally, accepting commitments and then failing to deliver on them is not a look New Zealand likes. “Doesn’t honour the treaties it’s signed” is not one of the few sentences we want people to remember about us.”

So, yes, I agree, New Zealand should honour the treaties it signs. I hate to nitpick, but isn’t New Zealand a country that is remembered for a treaty that we didn’t honour? Is our record on international climate change treaties any better?

Frame goes on to describe some of the different motivations underlying the negotiations that lead to the Kyoto Protocol.

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