Quoted by Reuters, Oxford University economics professor Dieter Helm said:
The price of carbon has had virtually no effect on the market so far and virtually no effect on climate change.(emphasis added)
People like me who think the price of carbon is important don't think it is the only thing that matters. There must be more focus on energy efficiency, more research and development and more renewable energy.
The truth is that Europe has performed less well on carbon dioxide since the late 1990s than the United States -- and Europe is inside Kyoto and has an emissions trading scheme.
Meanwhile, at the UN, British Environment Minister Hilary Benn spoke out:
Britain pointedly called on the United States yesterday to join other rich nations making binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as dozens of world leaders held a summit on the danger of catastrophic climate change.(emphasis added)
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, told the meeting at United Nations headquarters that "the greatest challenge we have ever faced as human beings" required action from every developed nation.
"That means all of us, including the largest economy in the world, the United States, taking on binding reduction targets," he said.
What matters is whether a country agrees to binding targets (even if, like our Kyoto targets, they are missed). Actual improvements are less important if they come about through the voluntary actions of free people..