The EU Spring Council 2007 set out its stall for a new international agreement, committing the EU to a 20% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990, but also to a further 10%, i.e. to 30%, if comparable efforts were put in place by other nations.
This is then supported by Article 28 of the revised EU Emissions Trading Directive (as of December 2008) and paves the way for deeper reductions than the 20% by 2020 already catered for. In addition, the Directive also says:
“In its resolution of 31 January 2008 on the outcome of the Bali Conference on Climate Change (COP 13 and COP/MOP 3), the European Parliament recalled its position that industrialised countries should commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and by 60-80% by 2050, compared to 1990 figures. Given that it anticipates a positive outcome to the COP 15 negotiations to be held in Copenhagen in 2009, the European Union should begin to prepare tougher emission reduction targets for 2020.“
All of the above has been broadly interpreted to mean that a successful outcome in Copenagen will result in a shift of the EU target from 20% to 30%. But this throws up some difficult issues and even leaves the EU in something of a Catch 22 bind.
For starters, the Obama administration has clearly said that the US will move decisively to reduce emissions, but to a 2020 level equivalent to 1990. Given that US emissions have risen by 20% since 1990, this then reads as a 20% reduction in US emissions from current levels. By contrast, EU-27 emissions have remained flat since 1990 (actually a very slight decline), so the EU pledge of a 20% reduction since 1990 could also read as a 20% reduction in emissions from current levels.
The plateau in EU emissions comes largely from big reductions in eastern Europe, including the eastern part of Germany, following the collapse of the old Eastern Bloc. The rest of the EU has seen emission rises not dissimilar to the USA; 20+% from Austria, 10% from Denmark, 50% from Ireland, 12% from Italy and so on, with the UK being one of a very few to register a decline.
The EU situation is such that if it agrees to something in Copenhagen but then doesn’t trigger the 20% to 30% shift, it will effectively be saying that it doesn’t agree to what it has already agreed to. But equally, there is almost no possibility for the US to agree to a 20% reduction compared to 1990, let alone a 30% reduction. Even the former would represent a 40% reduction in emissions in just 10 years, hardly a plausible scenario.
The issue is “compared to 1990”. But even if it comes off the table and everybody starts to talk more sensibly about what to do from where we are now (or say 2005), Article 28 of the Directive hard wires the “compared to 1990” into the EU position. It specifically links the shift in the EU target to an EU international commitment to reduce emissions by an amount exceeding 20% compared to 1990.
This means that the EU can’t put its 20% to 30% target shift on the table as a carrot for developing countries (i.e. space in the ETS for large scale project mechanism credits), since it will not be able to trigger it because nobody will be deemed to be taking comparable action. This in turn could undermine the very process the EU is trying to encourage. Hence the catch.
Is this all legal semantics, or a real stumbling block to a solid outcome in Copenhagen. We shall see in the months to come.
It appears Shell & Hone agree with the the IPCC. That means you agree with weak to bad, non-peer reviewed, politically driven “science” and I find that hard to understand from a strong science-based firm like Shell. (I do understand the need for Shell to be politically astute in order to survive, but that is no reason to ignore good science.)
The problem is not that some people think the activities of man can change the climate of the earth; the problem is that some think that by changing the activities of man, the climate of the earth can be changed.
This is utter nonsense, and has been soundly debunked by real science.
The so-called consensus put forth by the IPCC and Al Gore and his acolytes is false on its face; first, there is no consensus in the science community, and second, consensus is not science.
I don’t know if the earth is presently in a long term trend of increasing or decreasing temperature. And, I do not know if the earth’s temperature is in a short term up or down trend that is a perturbation within a long term trend. And neither does anybody else!
As you review anything from the IPCC, please keep in mind that their charter was NOT to investigate climate change, but to support the efforts of the Framework Convention on Climate Change which has the basic mission of eliminating the threat of global warming. If your charter is to eliminate a threat, you must start with the belief that there is a threat, and the IPCC did just that. Shell should start with a scientific approach, not a political approach.
TEMPERATURE OF EARTH
The temperature of earth has been changing for billions of years. It has never been stable and the temperature today is about at the average of the past 3000 years, based on Sargasso Sea data, a widely accepted indicator of the temperature of the earth.
(See Keigwin, L. D., (1996) Science 274, 1504-1508. ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/keigwin1996 )
(Note: Data extended to 2006 by adding 0.25 degrees C which is the change in sea temperature between 1975 and 2006)
We are not on the verge of unusually high temperatures and the slope of the current trend line is no steeper than other temperature changes over the past 3000 years. The same is true for any period longer than 1000 years that one wants to review.
The core of the IPCC view is that by using hydrocarbons man is increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and an increase in greenhouse gas causes a warmer earth.
CO2 is 3.618% of total greenhouse gas. Of that total CO2, 3.225% is man-made. Therefore man-made CO2 is 0.117% of total greenhouse gas.
(Water vapor is 95% of greenhouse gases.) (See http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html )
The rise in CO2 in the atmosphere does not precede a rise in temperature; it lags behind a rise in temperature by several hundred to 1000 years. (See “The Inconvenient Truth About the Ice Core Carbon Dioxide Temperature Correlations”, by Nir Shaviv, http://www.sciencebits.com ; and The Deniers by Lawrence Solomon, page 93; and Zibigniew Jaworowski, “Climate Change: Incorrect Information on Pre-Industrial CO2,” adapted from statement written for the hearing before the U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, March 19, 2004, http://www.john-daly.com/zjiceco2.htm )
To put atmospheric CO2 in perspective, the oceans contain about 41,000 billion tons of CO2, while the atmosphere contains about 780 billion tons. (See Schimel, D. S. (1995) Global Change Biology 1, 77-91 and Houghton, R .A. (2007) Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 35, 313-347)
As the earth atmosphere warms, the oceans warm, but they lag the atmosphere warming because they are a much larger mass. As the oceans warm, they release CO2 to the atmosphere.
There can be no correlation between man-made CO2 and the temperature of the atmosphere, because a rise in CO2 in the atmosphere always follows a rise in temperature.
The computer models used by the IPCC and the man-made CO2 doomsayers are wrong.
The Kyoto treaty aimed at reducing CO2 is based on nonsense.
Glaciers lengthen and shorten in delayed correlation with atmosphere warming and cooling. Some glaciers are still in the process of shortening following the little ice age (1500-1800). Those glaciers started shortening about 1800 and that significantly preceded the man’s use of hydrocarbons. Further, the shortening of these glaciers did not accelerate with the increase in hydrocarbon use. (See Oerlemanns, J., Bjornsson, H., Kuhn, M., Obleitner, F., Palsson, F., Smeets, C.J.P.P., Vugts, H. F., and De Wolde, J. (1999) Boundry-Layer Meteorology 92, 3-26; and Greuell, W., and Smeets, P. (2001) J Geophysical Res. 106, 31717-31727, and Marland, G., Boden, T. A., and Andres, R. J. (2007) Global, Regional, and National CO2 emissions. In Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, TN, USA,
There is no relationship between glacier shortening and man’s use of hydrocarbons.
GLOBAL SEA LEVEL
Global sea level is unrelated to man’s use of hydrocarbons. Recent (past 150 years) sea level increases started in about 1850 (well before man’s increased use of hydrocarbons) and the rate of rise has not increased with the increased use of hydrocarbons. (See citations for use of hydrocarbons above and Jevrejeva, S., Grinsted, A., Moore, J. C., and Holgate, S. (2006) J. Geophysical Res. 111,2005JC0003229, http://www.pol.ac.uk/psmsl/author_archive/jevrejeva_etal_gsl/ and Leuliette, E. W., Nermem, R. S., and Mitchum, G. T., (2004) Marine Geodesy 27, No. 1-2, 79-94,
There is no relationship between global sea level and man’s use of hydrocarbons.
OUR COMPLEX CLIMATE
We probably don’t yet know all the variables that impact earths very dynamic
Climate. We know they include high clouds; low clouds; moisture in clouds; solar activity; the interaction of clouds, water vapor and other greenhouse-gas emissions; the variable tilt of the earth on its axis; ocean currents; el Niño; the cycles within cycles; ocean temperatures; the solar system’s changing center of gravity; the back and forth flow of CO2 between oceans, atmosphere, plants, animals and soil; the role of the 90% of the earth’s ice that sits on Antarctica; precipitation area shifts and variable amounts; the amount of dust and particulates in the air; the growth and death circumstances of plants on farms, fields and forests; the amount of asphalt, concrete and buildings in various areas; population levels and shifting population locations; vapor trails of jet planes; cosmic ray flux; and on; and on; and on.
THE PROBLEMS WITH THE CLIMATE CHANGE MODELS
The climate change models are all wrong. None of them are predicting what is happening. There is just no way there is enough knowledge of our complex climate system to yet be able to build models that work, long term or short term.
Yet the doomsayers, the politicians trying to use the issue for political purposes, the economic opportunists, and the IPCC summary (the only part that most people read, and which is not supported by the body of the report) rely on climate models to make their case! And they do that even in the face of observable facts in the present and valid determinations of the past that contradict the models.
The climate models simply contain too many fudge factors or free parameters to be valid predictors. They are useful for scientific study of variables “all other things being held constant”, but they can’t deal with the facts that not all, or even most, of the important known variables are built into the models and that none of the variables are ever constant in the real world.
WHAT IS THE REAL RISK
The real risk is that if we adopt the doomsayers/IPCC/Gore unscientific, political conclusions, the world will waste trillions of dollars to no mankind-serving effect, and divert scarce resources from real human needs.
If we do that in the face of real, present, verifiable needs, we are fools. And that foolishness will reduce our standard of living and slow or stop the development of poorer nations. And for all those dollars and all those missed alternate opportunities – we will alter the climate of the earth not one measurable twit! To do that would be a crime against us and all our progeny.
Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg, once a committed environmentalist, came to realize that much of what that movement preached was based on bad science. Besides writing The Skeptical Environmentalist he assembled some of the top Nobel Laureates to form the “Copenhagen Consensus” to rank the world’s most pressing problems. In 2004, they ranked global warming at the bottom and concluded the most pressing problems were combating disease, stopping malaria, securing clean water and building infrastructure to help lift developing nations out of poverty. (See http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Default.aspx?ID=953 for the 2008 list and note that global warming is labeled “mitigation only”.)
Those needs would be useful places for funds while the absolute futility of trying to change climate would not.
Besides the economic risk and waste of economic resources there is the risk of taking useless efforts to thwart natural cyclical climate change and miss the opportunity to gradually adapt. In the history of all earthly climate change, every species impacted has either adapted or become extinct. No species that survived ever wasted time “tilting at windmills”.
(An interesting little side story is that Eric the Red could never have established colonies in Greenland except that he was lucky enough to do so during the medieval warm period! As the warm period declined, the colonies disappeared.)
(Another interesting thought – much more long-term – is to consider the adaptations and evolving that penguins have gone through as, over a few billion years, the continent of Antarctica moved from the warm southern tip of Africa to its present location.)
Most non-scientists, and that includes most politicians and their advisors, do not want to go through the steps to understanding the science. But politicians and their advisors really must if they are to take on decisions that will greatly impact our future. They must not fall into the trap set by the doomsayers, the politicians trying to use the issue for political purposes, the economic opportunists, and the IPCC who are attempting to establish truth not by science but by repetition and by pillorying those who disagree.
SO WHAT MUST WE NOT DO
We must not consider CO2 evil or a pollutant. CO2 is necessary for life on earth and there would be many benefits from increased CO2 today, just as in past times of warming when plants were larger, more productive and consumed less water.
We must recognize that man will need hydrocarbons until alternative energies can be developed and made practicable. While we are using hydrocarbons there is no need to sequester CO2, to tax CO2, to subject CO2 to cap and trade requirements, or to restrict exploration for and production of our hydrocarbon resources at a time when we seek energy independence. None of those things will improve the environment; they will only make hydrocarbon energy more expensive, and discourage exploration and production.
We must be forthright if our objective is to artificially raise the cost of hydrocarbon energy in an effort to speed the development of alternative energy sources. We can do that via taxes if we choose to as a society, but we must not use the false excuse of controlling climate or protecting the environment! And, if we do increase the cost of hydrocarbon energy by taxes and other world economies do not (China, India), we must recognize we are putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage in an increasingly competitive world.
SUGGESTED READING AND OTHER MEDIA (There could be many more citations on this list; it is but a sample.)
The Deniers, Lawrence Solomon (2008), Richard Vigilante Books
The politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming, Christopher C. Horner (2007), Regency Publishing
An Inconvenient Book, Chapter 1, Glenn Beck (2007), Threshold Editions
[Don’t be mislead by, or dismissive of, the Horner and Beck books; while they use humor and are, at times, irreverent, they are dead serious about the myths of climate change and the costs of taking a wrong path.]
CBC series at: http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/04/cbc-global-warming-doomsday-called-off.html
The Great Climate Change Swindle at: http://video.google.fr/videoplay?docid=-4123082535546754758
Exposed: The Climate of Fear (pt. 1) at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpv56A9yHrg
Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’ at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/11/07/weather-channel-founder-global-warming-greatest-scam-history?rid=10882724
Global Warming Tutorial Media Should be Required to Watch. Professor Bob Carter at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/11/04/global-warming-tutorial-media-should-be-required-watch This series is a “must see.”
“Global Warming” at a glance at: http://junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html See in particular the last section “A word on scale:”
Greenhouse Warming? What Greenhouse Warming? At: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton_papers/
“Global Warming” Proxies at: http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Proxies.html
The Global Warming Bubble at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,339831,00.html
How a Warming Earth Once Cooled Off at: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/04/14/ancient-global-cooling.html
U. S. Senator James Inhofe Senate floor speech at: US Senate and G. Warmingindex.cfm (application/pdf Object)
The Global Warming Debate from a local electric company at: http://www.intermountain-rea.com/GlobalWarming.html
An absurd list of things alleged to be caused by man-made global warming at: http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm
Friends of Science video at: http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=172
Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor (Hardcover) by Roy Spencer , Encounter Books (March 27, 2008)
The Global Warming Petition Project at: http://petitionproject.org/gw_article/Review_Article_HTML.php
A collection of Climate Movies and Clips at: http://www.magnusorerar.blogspot.com/2007/03/magnificent-global-warming-swindfe.html
No smoking hot spot, David Evans, July 18, 2008 at: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html
Scientists Predict Global Warming Will Reduce Number of Hurricanes at: http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results.html?artId=23558
India approach to global warming at: http://app.e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:22952.1227507433/rid:1e527a463c7319084cf896eff95df42b
Klaus Against the Greens by Susan Easton 09/16/2008 at: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=28542#c1
Lorne Gunter: Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof at: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/10/20/lorne-gunter-thirty-years-of-warmer-temperatures-go-poof.aspx
Please look at the science.
N W Botting
[…] Unfortunately criticism of the Australian system is coming from all sides. Many say it lacks ambition, with the government target through to 2020 somewhere in the range 5 to 15% relative to 2000. So we are back to the tricky issue of targets and baselines, which I have written much on in recent weeks. If we assume Australia settles on 10%, at least from an energy CO2 perspective, this is about the same as a 20% reduction from recent (2006 IEA) levels. So that puts it on a par with the USA and the EU, but that issue is far from settled with the EU still on its 1990 high horse. […]