FRANKFURT (AFP) — The president of Germany's respected Ifo research institute, Hans-Werner Sinn, said Wednesday that the European Union's environmental policy would have "zero" effect on global greenhouse gas emissions.
"The effect is not only small, it is actually zero," Sinn told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview.
If the EU curtailed demand for fossil fuels, as proposals currently seek to do, the prices for oil and coal would drop, Sinn explained.
At some point, the lower prices would result in decreased demand from Europe being compensated for by other countries such as the United States, China or India, he added.
"We must take into consideration that the Kyoto accords effectively only limit 29 percent of global energy consumption," Sinn stressed.
Ifo is an economic research institute that has close ties with the German business community.
The United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Brazil, China and India have, but they are not required to meet specific targets for the time being.
Countries that adhere to Kyoto have committed to reduce their 2012 emissions to a level that is five percent lower than in 1990.
What happens after that is to be determined by a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference on the Indonesian island of Bali in December, when 191 member states are to thrash out a fresh pact.
EU proposals to curb carbon dioxide emissions have run into stiff opposition from the European aviation, automobile and energy sectors.
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