The improvement that can be obtained by spending just $31 million on incinerators could cost developed nations as much as 750 million euros ($986 million) through the elaborate trading mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, and even then only two-thirds of the problem would go away, Wara estimates.
China and India are getting a prize for producing lots of hydrofluorocarbon-23, one of the six greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. One ton of it is considered the equivalent of 11,700 tons of carbon dioxide.
Six Chinese companies have consented to be paid to destroy this toxic byproduct of a gas used as a common refrigerant and a Teflon feedstock. Their total commitment is more than 43 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. India, with two registered projects, is second with about 7 million tons. Thus, barely eight chemical plants in China and India control about 44 percent of the existing annual supply of emission credits.
That’s a very high level of concentration, considering there are 506 projects in more than 40 nations that are currently registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s trading system, known as the Clean Development Mechanism.
The Chinese and the Indians have been accused of a lot of things, but being stupid in not one of them. They will comply with any environmental regulation that guilt-ridden Westerner’s are willing to pay for.
They’re not greedy, exactly. But if we’re willing to give them free money, they’re willing to take it. But I’m willing to bet that they’ll draw the line at destroying their own economies.