Saturday, May 19, 2007

Leading the global effort?

Anonymous spokesperson for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, G8 climate change talks, May 14, 2007:

"There is consensus that the Earth is warming, and we are working with our G8 partners as well as developing nations to identify the promising new technologies that will help the whole world address the long term challenges of climate change.

"The US continues to lead the global effort on climate change."

Harlan Watson, US chief climate change negotiator, on being asked about caps on US emissions or participation in a global emissions trading system, Bonn summit, May 19, 2007:

"That's not our agenda... We don't believe targets and timetables are important, or a global cap and trade system. It's important not to jeopardise economic growth."

So much for "leading the global effort".

Meanwhile, poor Tony Blair. Having made himself a war criminal and put himself at risk of spending the rest of his life in a cell in The Hague for the sake of Britain's "special relationship" with the US, he was hoping for a payoff in the form of a US move towards supporting a post-Kyoto treaty to provide him with a legacy. Instead, the Bush administration has just given him the finger. So much for quid pro quo as well...


I/S Augie Auer makes an argument that human carbon dioxide emissions are only 3.6 percent of 3.2 percent of the greenhouse effect, and so cannot affect global temperature.

Can you point me to any discussion of this issue? Is there a direct evaluation of this point? Or is the rebuttal indirect, by appeal to the success of the climate models that predict temperature changes?

Posted by Malcolm : 5/20/2007 08:44:00 AM

I'd suggest people check out the New Scientist list of 26 most common climate myths and misconceptions before taking seriously anything emanating from Auer or his fellow basement-dwellers.

In this case Auer is deliberately conflating the greenhouse effect with anthropogenic global warming. It is true that water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas - its why we're not an icebox. But there are other greenhouse gases too, and we've dramatically increased their concentration in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. These gases are providing increased warming, over and above the natural greenhouse effect we get from the natural composition of the atmosphere (and that increased warming is then amplified by more water vapour - a nasty example of positive feedback in the climate system).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/20/2007 10:58:00 AM


Posted by Malcolm : 5/20/2007 01:23:00 PM

Am I the only one who reads that as "the US is leading the effort to change global climate"? It makes sense when they say that :)

Posted by Moz : 5/20/2007 05:29:00 PM

"That's not our agenda... We don't believe targets and timetables are important, or a global cap and trade system. It's important not to jeopardise economic growth."

And indeed it is the correct answer as we see from the statements of the Combined academies of science for the G8+5......

Major investments and successful technological and institutional innovation will be needed to achieve better energy efficiency, low- or zero-carbon energy sources and carbon-removing schemes. A clear area for increased investment is energy conservation and efficiency. This has immediate and long-term benefits for local and regional health and environment, security of energy services and climate change, while having potential for local economic development and build-up of local technological capabilities

Against this background it will be necessary to develop and deploy new sources and systems for energy supply, including clean use of coal, carbon capture and storage, unconventional fossil fuel resources, advanced nuclear systems, advanced renewable energy systems (including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy), smart grids and energy storage technologies. Research focused on the energy field must be enlarged significantly. The InterAcademy Council (IAC) is preparing a report on these challenges, which will be available later this year.

It is urgent to increase efficiency in the global production and use of energy. Energy efficiency has been a major field for the G8 countries since the 2003 Evian Summit.
Concentrating on energy efficiency is an effective contribution towards meeting the global energy challenges The implementation of measures to increase energy
efficiency will depend to a decisive extent on financing options and technology knowledge. A sound financial and technological framework and improved global investment conditions will therefore be vital.

A consensus statement that leaves you in denial.

Posted by maksimovich : 5/20/2007 09:29:00 PM