Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, September 24, 2004

Beyond Kyoto? jeez, these guys arent quite there yet. Blair's trying hard though.

POLITICS


Election 2004 _ Kyoto, global warming split candidates

By JOAN LOWY
Scripps Howard News Service
September 14, 2004

- As the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States is under increasing international pressure to curb global warming. British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Tuesday that "time is running out" and called for a "green industrial revolution" to avert catastrophe.

Here is where President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry stand on the issue:

Bush: Promised in the 2000 presidential campaign that if elected he would curb power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. He backed off that pledge shortly after taking office and withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, the international climate-change treaty.

Bush unveiled a plan in 2002 to encourage U.S. industry to voluntarily restrain the growth in greenhouse-gas emissions. The administration has earmarked $4 billion for climate research, including the development of a Global Earth Observation System. A recent White House report to Congress on climate change acknowledges that human activity is causing global warming.

Kerry: Has a long history of participating in international climate negotiations and championing action to address global warming. He says it is no longer possible at this late date for the United States to meet the timetables of the Kyoto Protocol, which requires developed nations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. He advocates renegotiating the treaty and reasserting U.S. leadership on the issue.

Kerry's energy plan includes proposals that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, including raising the average fuel economy standard for cars and trucks to 36 mpg by 2015 and requiring power plants to generate 20 percent of the electricity they produce from renewable energy by 2020.

Background: Bush has said that mandatory reduction of carbon dioxide emissions would hurt the U.S. economy. He has criticized the Kyoto treaty for requiring industrial nations to reduce their emissions before China, India and other developing nations are required to act. He has questioned whether scientists really know whether global warming is the result of human activity or natural climate variability. Critics say his voluntary emissions reduction plan is a sham that would have virtually no impact.

Kerry has accused Bush of "abdicating" leadership on the climate issue. However, the auto and energy industries fiercely oppose raising fuel economy standards and setting mandatory renewable energy targets. They have repeatedly succeeded in stymieing congressional action.

More information: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - www.ipcc.ch; National Academies of Science - www.nationalacademies.org/environment


(Contact Joan Lowy at LowyJ(at)SHNS.com.)

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1 Comments:

  • At 5:33 am, October 13, 2004, Blogger Blair J Anderson said…

    Climate Fear as Carbon Levels Soar

    Scientists bewildered by sharp rise of CO2 in atmosphere for second year running

    By Paul Brown

    October 11, 2004, Guardian/UK

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1324276,00.html

    An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming.

    Scientists are baffled why the quantity of the main
    greenhouse gas has leapt in a two-year period and are
    concerned that the Earth's natural systems are no longer able to absorb as much as in the past.

    The findings will be discussed tomorrow by the government's chief scientist, Dr David King, at the annual Greenpeace business lecture.

    Measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere have been continuous for almost 50 years at Mauna Loa Observatory, 12,000ft up a mountain in Hawaii, regarded as far enough away from any carbon dioxide source to be a reliable measuring point.

    In recent decades CO2 increased on average by 1.5 parts per million (ppm) a year because of the amount of oil, coal and gas burnt, but has now jumped to more than 2 ppm in 2002 and 2003.

    Above or below average rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been explained in the past by natural events.

    When the Pacific warms up during El Ni�o - a disruptive
    weather pattern caused by weakening trade winds - the amount of carbon dioxide rises dramatically because warm oceans emit CO2 rather than absorb it.

    But scientists are puzzled because over the past two years, when the increases have been 2.08 ppm and 2.54 ppm respectively, there has been no El Ni�o.

    Charles Keeling, the man who began the observations in 1958 as a young climate scientist, is now 74 and still working in the field.

    He said yesterday: "The rise in the annual rate to above two parts per million for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon.

    "It is possible that this is merely a reflection of natural events like previous peaks in the rate, but it is also possible that it is the beginning of a natural process unprecedented in the record."

    Analysts stress that it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions.

    But the fear held by some scientists is that the greater than normal rises in C02 emissions mean that instead of decades to bring global warming under control we may have only a few years. At worst, the figures could be the first sign of the breakdown in the Earth's natural systems for absorbing the gas.

    That would herald the so-called "runaway greenhouse effect", where the planet's soaring temperature becomes impossible to contain. As the icecaps melt, less sunlight is reflected back into space from ice and snow, and bare rocks begin to absorb more heat. This is already happening.

    One of the predictions made by climate scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that as the Earth warms, the absorption of carbon dioxide by vegetation - known as "carbon sink" - is reduced.

    Dr Keeling said since there was no sign of a dramatic
    increase in the amount of fossil fuels being burnt in 2002 and 2003, the rise "could be a weakening of the Earth's carbon sinks, associated with the world warming, as part of a climate change feedback mechanism. It is a cause for concern'.'

    Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, and a former special adviser to the former Tory environment minister John Gummer, warned: "We're watching the clock and the clock is beginning to tick faster, like it seems to before a bomb goes off."

    Peter Cox, head of the Carbon Cycle Group at the Met Office's Hadley Center for Climate Change, said the increase in carbon dioxide was not uniform across the globe.

    Measurements of CO2 levels in Australia and at the south pole were slightly lower, he said, so it looked as though something unusual had occurred in the northern hemisphere.

    "My guess is that there were extra forest fires in the
    northern hemisphere, and particularly a very hot summer in Europe," Dr Cox said. "This led to a die-back in vegetation and an increase in release of carbon from the soil, rather than more growing plants taking carbon out of the atmosphere, which is usually the case in summer."

    Scientists are have dubbed the two-year CO2 rise the Mauna Loa anomaly. Dr Cox said one of its most interesting aspects was that the CO2 rises did not take place in El Ni�o years. Previously the only figures that climbed higher than 2 ppm were El Ni�o years - 1973, 1988, 1994 and 1998.

    The heatwave of last year that is now believed to have
    claimed at least 30,000 lives across the world was so out of the ordinary that many scientists believe it could only have been caused by global warming.

    But Dr Cox, like other scientists, is concerned that too much might be read into two years' figures. "Five or six years on the trot would be very difficult to explain," he said.

    Dr Piers Forster, senior research fellow of the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said: "If this is a rate change, of course it will be very significant. It will be of enormous concern, because it will imply that all our global warming predictions for the next hundred years or so will
    have to be redone."

    David J Hofmann of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration centre, which also studies CO2, was more cautious.

    "I don't think an increase of 2 ppm for two years in a row is highly significant - there are climatic perturbations that can make this occur," he said. "But the absence of a known climatic event does make these years unusual.

    "Based on those two years alone I would say it was too soon to say that a new trend has been established, but it warrants close scrutiny."

    � Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

     

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