There are three types of countries that signed up to the Kyoto Protocol (the US is outside and now Canada is too):
- Annex 1 countries: Those that commit to reducing their emissions, covering both "industrialised countries" and "countries in transition". New Zealand and the UK are in this category, along with all other EU Member States, Russia, Japan and others. Total of 41. So they all bear the costs of reducing activities that reduce emissions, or must buy emissions allowances, or mitigate their emissions.
- Annex 2 countries: A subset of Annex 1 countries that also include New Zealand and the UK. They not only are obliged to reduce emissions, but their taxpayers are required to subsidise the likes of others to reduce emissions. This includes the "rich" EU Member States, i.e. Greece and Portugal, not Poland and Slovenia.
- Developing countries: That is everyone else. They are not obliged to reduce emissions at all, unless Annex 2 countries pay for them to adopt new technologies to allow it. They can "volunteer" to become Annex 1 countries when they have developed.
The environmental movements don't challenge this. Yet let's look at who is in the category of developing countries. These are countries the New Zealand government, both the Clark and now the Key governments, have committed to helping subsidise to gain new technologies.
Qatar - Which has 6.8 times the per capita emissions of New Zealand and 6.2 times that of the UK, with per capita GDP (Purchasing Power Parity basis) 2.5 times that of the UK and 3.3 times that of New Zealand. Bear in mind Qatar basically earns virtually all of its income from exporting oil, so it can earn money from "selling CO2 emission" then emit as much as it likes, and get money from poorer countries to buy new technologies. Nice.
UAE - Has 4.4 times the per capita emissions of the UK, 4.5 times the per capita emission of New Zealand, with per capita GDP 1.4 times that of the UK and 1.8 times that of New Zealand. A similar economy to Qatar.
Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait all have higher per capita emissions that the UK and NZ, and all but Bahrain have higher per capita GDP. All richer more polluting economies, all making money from selling CO2 emitting energy, all expected to do nothing, all entitled to get taxes from NZ and British taxpayers to dabble in being more environmentally friendly. Nice that.
China, Brazil and India of course are all classed as developing countries being poorer per capita, despite having significant foreign exchange surpluses and rapidly growing emissions. You might ask quite why China is owed subsidies from Western taxpayers when it sits on a growing mountain of money it earns from exporting to those people.
A few other countries are classed as "developing" and deserving of subsidies, and able to emit all they wish, yet have HIGHER per capita incomes than New Zealand, such as Singapore, the Bahamas and Israel.
You might ask yourself quite why these little details are seen as acceptable by a government claiming to be looking after your interests. Why you might have to pay more, whilst the descendants of oil sheikhs and Chinese millionaires need not face anything, and your taxes might even subsidise their dabbling in green technologies.
You might even wonder why nobody asked any of the major political parties those questions.