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The cost of Kyoto

20 April 2005
A lot of hooey is talked about the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol. Opponents bandy around figures in the many hundreds of billions of dollars, with no reference to reality.

Investments in more efficient capital stock to meet the modest goals of the Protocol will probably cost about ten billion dollars. A key word here is "investment". When you install a new heating system it may cost you a thousand dollars, but save you twelve hundred. Your investment has yielded a 20% return at virtually zero risk.

Opponents of Kyoto ignore the payback on the investment and multiply its magnitude many times.

A new report from the US Energy Information Administration provides ammunitition for the pro-Kyoto camp. As the Financial Times reports (subscription only), reducing US emissions by 7% by 2025 would cost 0.15% of gross domestic product. The costs of implementing the Kyoto sized cuts under these calculations would be considerably lessthan 0.5% of GDP. And the investment in efficiency would yield a return too

The report, from a conservative, non-partisan body, supports many existing studies, and strenghtens the case of a European delegation visiting Paula Dobransky, US undersecretary for global affairs. Will the US administration ignore it?

For more on the US and Kyoto, see this classic openDemocracy interview with Benito Mueller

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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