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News What would it take the US to sign a protocol?

  1. Apr 25, 2006 #1
    I believe it was world something or other day in the US yesterday so with that in mind:-

    What would it take for the US to sign an agreed protocol to help combat climate change? I read recently that the US has a population of 298 million roughly yet produces more CO2 than Europe population 450 million or so by about a billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Now I don't want to start *****ing at the US for it's backward approach to ecology, sure you get plenty of that already.

    A simple question, what would it take for the US to take golobal warming seriously or at least seriously enough to sign a Kyoto like protocol? I know trillion dollar defecit and all that? But really is at a matter of never or just when?
     
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  3. Apr 25, 2006 #2

    Astronuc

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    I believe one is referring to Earth Day, April 22.

    As for ratifying and signing a protocol, that would take an act of congress and signature of the president on behalf of the US. This would require different people in congress and a different president.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2006 #3

    Gokul43201

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    An argument oft repeated is that the US shouldn't have to ratify Kyoto until China and India do so. On the other hand (and ignoring the rationale behind the above argument), I haven't heard any guarantees that the US will sign if China and India do (but I may just be misinformed).
     
  5. Apr 25, 2006 #4

    Pengwuino

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    We don't sign it because as even Clinton realized, it's a meaningless treaty and signing it would give the thumbs up to nations like China to pollute all they want. Signing such a treaty is simply vote-pandering.
     
  6. Apr 25, 2006 #5

    russ_watters

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    What it would take is for the treaty to actually be a step in the right direction instead of punishing the US while sidestepping the issue it is meant to address.

    China now has roughly twice the coal output of the US, and is headed to three times by the end of the decade, while the US's output will remain nearly flat. The treaty utterly fails to recognize the environmental threat that China poses.

    Gokul, China has ratified the treaty and under it, they are now bound to do.... nothing (except gain free pollution reduction technology that they don't have to use). :rolleyes: (as is India)
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2006
  7. Apr 25, 2006 #6

    Gokul43201

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    Correct, I misspoke. They are under the treaty, but are not counted as countries that are required to reduce (or trade) emission levels. The treaty requires only industrialized nations* to participate in reduction of emissions.

    Under the Clinton administration, the policy was that the US will not ratify the protocol unless developing countries are also included in the list. Under the Bush administration, the primary reasons I've heard are that it will hurt the economy and that it is unfair that China be excluded. But seeing that the administration doesn't really believe there is a correlation between greenhouse emissions and global warming, I can imagine no reason why they should want to ratify the protocol.

    * The reasoning behind requiring the responsibility to lie with only the industrialized nations is based on the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility. The crux of this argument is that :

    (i) The developed countries have been contributing greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere for the last century or so, compared to developing countries which have only been getting in the act this last decade or so;

    (ii) So the developing countries should also be allowed a similar time-frame (or cumulative emission volume) before being asked to cut down (or at the very least, they shouldn't be asked to cut down at the same time as the developed countries).

    In short, the net contribution to global harm comes from the cumulative emissions rather than the emission rate. The developed nations are responsible for over 99% of the cumulative emissions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2006
  8. Apr 25, 2006 #7

    russ_watters

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    Right, so one must ask: what is the goal of the protocols, based on this reasoning? Since if the protocols are followed, the greenhouse gas situation in the world will continue to get worse, it works out to punishing developed countries for developing, looking the other way while developing countries do the same things (or worse), and failing to address the problem for which the protocols were supposedly created to address.

    The flaw in the logic is that the question/problem and the answer are talking about two different things. The problem moving forward is how much CO2 is being dumped into the atmosphere and the solution presented in the protocols is based on how much has already been put into the atmosphere. The problem and solution don't match and as a result, following the protocols won't help solve the problem.

    Why base them on the past? How does that help solve the problem? Whether intentional or not, the protocols as currently structured amount to enviroblackmail/economic warfare.

    When a plan is developed that actually attempts to improve the greenhouse emissions situation in the world, then, the US should sign on.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2006 #8

    russ_watters

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    Here's a question: since per capita CO2 production was one of the bases for the protocol, does that mean that China and India should be given the opportunity match the US's per capita CO2 production?
     
  10. Apr 25, 2006 #9
    Russ is exactly right.

    Kyoto is worthless. The idea of differentiated responsibility doesn't work if you want to actually stop CO2 emissions. If you want to punish those nations whose economies have done the polluting, it works well, but that has nothing to do with stopping the pollution, and will do nothing as far as CO2 emissions. So when there is a meaningful protocol that will actually help, then you can complain about the US government not signing it.
     
  11. Apr 26, 2006 #10

    Gokul43201

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    Hmm...sounds like you're waiting to pull out your trump card. In any case, I'll take the bait.

    My opinion : I think the per capita number is more relevant than the gross number (when comparing emission rates)*. After all it takes roughly** twice the amount of steel, cement, processed foods, and cloth to provide shelter, food and clothing to twice the number of people. And this means roughly twice the emission rate.

    * I don't think, however, that it is the emission rate (gross or per capita) that should be thing that decides when a country be asked to cut emissions. I think the fair number to use is the cumulative emissions (area under the emission rate*** vs time graph), but I don't think we can afford the luxury of being that fair. Far sooner than the time it takes for a developing country to reach the cumulative levels grossed by the US to date, we will have to pull the plug on it.

    ** The gross production of a developed country does not scale linearly with its population, but it certainly isn't independent of the population either. If I had to guess a power-law fit, I'd say the exponent would be much closer to 1 than to 0.

    *** Which emission rate - gross or per capita ? Again, I think the per capita number would be fairer, but like I said, even using the gross number is a luxury we can't afford.

    Franz : Why will asking the US to cut down CO2 emissions do nothing to cut down CO2 emissions ?
     
  12. Apr 26, 2006 #11

    russ_watters

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    I wonder how emission rate scales per $$ of gdp...?
     
  13. Apr 26, 2006 #12

    Nice miswording of what I meant.

    Basing your cuts on past emissions will not help, well at least not necessarily. Past emissions are not necessarily present emissions, and present emissions are the problem that we actually can address. We can do nothing about past emissions, that is already done. Basing the cuts on past emissions is nothing more than economic punishment. It does not address the problem of present emissions, except possibly by coincidence. Now, if you base cuts on current GDP in a way that reflects the current emission rates from various countries, then that actually addresses the problem we can deal with.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2006 #13

    Gokul43201

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    I completely missed this post before.
    To curb the rate of greenhouse emissions globally.
    Not worse than without the protocol. So, I see that as an improvement. And what do you mean by "the greenhouse gas situation in the world will continue to get worse" ? Can you rephrase using well-defined terms? In terms of global numbers, what does it take to make the "situation" better. I honestly don't know enough of the science involved here to determine this even approximately.

    No, it's punishing developed countries for emitting at high rates after having developed. If you're a developed country and your current emission rate is low, you are not punished.

    My above argument negates this.

    No russ (and I'm repeating stuff I've said above), that's not true.

    Q : Will the protocol cause a reduction of the global emission rate ?
    A : Yes, it will.
    Q : Will it cause the maximum possible reduction ?
    A : No. That will require every factory, combustion engine and other inanimate emitter to be shut down. This, however, will cause a large fraction of the world's population to die in a very short time.

    How about punishment ? I'm okay with that; it's a bonus !

    And I'll repeat : the crime here is not emitting all the stuff you emitted while you were developing (ie: what you repeatedly refer to as "the past"). That's natural (the only civilizations that can be really low emitters are the technologically unaware and the technologically advanced). The crime is in continuing to emit at high levels when you are developed and have the ability to incorporate lower emitting technology.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2006
  15. Apr 26, 2006 #14

    russ_watters

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    Don't those two statements contradict each other, or, at best, not discuss the same thing? I guess it really depends on what you mean by "curb".
    Well hey - you too.

    Anyway, what I mean is that the greenhouse gas situation is based on the total quantity of CO2 in the air. Ie, more CO2 into the atmosphere=getting worse. If implimented, the Kyoto treaty will merely decrease the rate of increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere - and even then, not by very much.

    Think of it like a ship with a few holes in it. The Kyoto treaty forces some countries to plug small holes while simultaneously allowing other countries to punch much larger holes in the ship. The flooding situation is getting worse because the rate that water is pouring into the ship is rising.
    Ehh, yeah, I'll accept that.
    You mean about cutting emissions after developing? Not really - it doesn't change the root issue. The root issue is that dumping CO2 into the atmosphere is a bad thing.

    Consider CFC's - the entire world has agreed to get rid of them, even developing countries. Yet Kyoto allows for completely unrestricted use of CO2 by countries like China. It doesn't even recommend a future cutoff when they should begin to start decreasing their emissions. That's my point above - if allowed to develop naturally (as you seem to be implying they should), China will rapidly surpass the rest of the world's CO2 production combined and the global greenhouse gas situation (the total quantity in the atmosphere) will get rapidly worse.
    No, Gokul, that's simply wrong. China's emission rate is rising much faster than the US's emission rate would fall if we implimented Kyoto. Over the course of this decade, ours will remain roughly flat (without Kyoto), while China's will double. The net global emission rate will rise. True, it will rise slower if the US signs and adopts it, but not really all that much.
    Heck, Gokul, Kyoto doesn't even call for China to slow its rate of increase in the rate of CO2 production. I'd settle for that.
    Well, ok. If you think it is good because it is punishment, that is up to you. I think it is bad because it condones the punching of more holes into an already sinking ship.
     
  16. Apr 26, 2006 #15

    Gokul43201

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    Okay, that was a boo boo.By 'curb' I meant 'effect a reduction to the current trend'.

    See attachment :

    y : global volume of greenhouses gases dumped into the atmosphere
    x : time
    dy/dx : global emission rate)

    Let y1(x) represent the curve of projected emissions if Kyoto was ratified by nobody (black). Let y2(x) represent the curve of real emissions since Kyoto took effect (red). Let Kyoto(x) = [dy2(x)/dx] - [dy1(x)/dx] = net change in emission rate due to Kyoto.

    Kyoto(x) < 0 => there is a reduction in the net emission rate due to Kyoto.

    Is this the best we can do ? No, we can, in the best realistic case, make the absolute value of the emission rate decrease (ie: d2y/dx2 < 0, blue line; this I think is what you, Russ, are calling for). But can this be achieved in a manner that will be fair to developing countries ? I think not. Is being fair more important than risking damage to the atmosphere, and hence to us ? For the short term I think it is.

    That depends on what you call 'much' (ie: compared to what). If you look at Kyoto's effect[/url] on CFCs and methane, it is significant, and looks like the blue line of my plot. The effect on CO2 and N2O is weak, like the red line in my plot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Major_greenhouse_gas_trends.png

    [/quote]Think of it like a ship with a few holes in it. The Kyoto treaty forces some countries to plug small holes while simultaneously allowing other countries to punch much larger holes in the ship. [/quote]Right now, no one is punching "much larger holes" than the US. The Chinese holes are tiny compared to the US holes (about one-sixth per capita; and the gross emissions is still what, about half the US level ?)
    Clearly, that can't be allowed to go on indefinitely.

    So what ? Your breathing dumps CO2 into the atmosphere. No one's asking you to stop breathing. Why not ? Because that would would rob you of a fundamental right.

    Did you mean to say "CFC's" in the second sentence ? I'm the first to admit that it's a dangerous stance, yet I don't see it as being unfair to the US.

    That, I agree is bad, but perhaps not completely disastrous. I refer you to http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/background/items/1362.php [Broken] :

    The point is that the Kyoto Protocol (including the list of countries under Annex I), as of now, is still only a first of several steps. If you can't get the most technologically developed countries (particularly those emitting several times the global average) to agree to cut down/trade emission levels, what hope is there to enforce emission cuts in countries where the majority of the population eats less in a day than you or I eat in a meal ?

    On the other hand, I see no reason to not set down clear criteria (subject to change by a vote from some overwhelming majority) for future inductees.

    I only imply that that would be the fair thing to do. I expect that China will soon be required to jump in as well. And then India after that and ...

    I agree. It certainly will getting worse, and we will need changes to the Protocol when it does. But the US contributing to the mess doesn't help any. And during the most part of the late 1940s, the US was emitting more greenhouse gas than all the rest of the world put together. Enforcing restrictions on them then would have been unfair (though no one in Europe would have complained).
    I agree with most of this, except for one little bit. The US emission rate is certainly nothing like flat.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_Emission_by_Region.png

    In fact, the growth rate last year was more than double the growth rate for 10 years ago....it's only increasing. Since 1990, the US emission rate has increased by over 25%. If it stays at about a 2% per year increase (the present level) and rises no further (unexpected, but possible), then it would have increased by nearly another 25% over the next decade. China would still have not exceeded the US gross emission rate (but it will be pretty darn close) and both the per capita (as well as per GDP dollar) emission rates.

    That sounds more reasonable to me (even if still a little unfair).

    I don't think the best solution for the atmosphere can be fair to all countries. I do believe, however, that there may be a point soon, when the fair solution will be disastrous to the atmosphere, and will have to be ditched.

    What I don't see is this being unfair to the US. You punched nearly half the holes in the ship; you start patching them up.
     

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  17. Apr 27, 2006 #16

    loseyourname

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    Global warming is not the only possible harm done by greenhouse gas emissions. Poor air quality lowers the quality of life for anyone living in a heavily polluted area. My school must have cancelled PE four or five times a month because of smog alerts when I was growing up. I and all three of my sisters have developed asthma, despite no family history.

    Plus the air where I grew up in Los Angeles is just flat-out ugly. It mars what would otherwise be a gorgeous city backdrop in the San Gabriel mountains, which you usually cannot even see unless it rained the previous day.
     
  18. Apr 27, 2006 #17

    Gokul43201

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    Agreed. Nor do I imagine they refute the harm to the Ozone layer from CFCs.

    I guess I was thinking of CO2 levels. If they didn't believe that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere was a bad thing, then it would still be a bad idea to ratify Kyoto, just for the other stuff.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2006
  19. Apr 27, 2006 #18
    I did say Kyoto like protocol( say in 10 years a Helsinki protocol with a more US friendly set of cards on the table) I would imagine that the US would not care less whether China/India was forced into the same restrictions as it, and it would make little impact on whether it would sign(the economic impact is the major consideration IMO) If this were in fact the only consideration then the US would have signed already. This is the classic bargaining chip of a child, but he's allowed to do it(no mater what the reasoning behind it is) Why can't I? Not comparing the US governement to a child obviously, although it's sometimes tempting :wink:

    I think the value of the old Kyoto protocol if it can be said to have had value is that people are at least trying to meet it's quotas, if you don't sign up then it seems your somewhat saying - from what I'm seeing out there - that I not only don't have to meet it's quotas, but I can get away with doing absolutely nothing at all, and maintain a moral high ground, since the protocol is unfair I am being righteous in doing nothing at all?

    I've heard people say that the US couldn't meet a quota system it just doesn't have the means to, to me this is a nonsense, can't or wont?

    Short of using rhetoric such as how many people have to die in the 21st century for the US to get on the ECO bus, I see little way that any sort of respect for the planet will prevail, to me this is somewhat morally moribund, it's also colossaly selfish. Let's not beat around the bush(although sometimes I think I'd like to :wink:) The US are the worlds dirty neighbours.

    Doing nothing does not lead to a good prognosis, trying to may not lead to a glorious success, but to me if it means the difference between category 4 and category 5, just once in 200 years then it is worth it. We can and always have put a price on life and death, the question to me is what is the price and when does the price of apathy become high enough to change political will?

    I sometimes get the impression that the US is not paying things forward at all and will reap some sort of whirlwind for it's outlook; although I've never wanted to be more wrong about anything in my life, I suspect if I'm still alive in 50 years, I'll have seen some more convincing evidence of the GMT issue.

    I think Astronuc is correct, it would take a completely different government, how long before the whole of congress retires I wonder? 20/40 years?:smile:
     
  20. Apr 27, 2006 #19

    Bystander

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    There are questions

    http://www.fisherycrisis.com/strangelove.html

    regarding proximal causes of various observed changes in the environment, and questions regarding what is "cause" and what is "effect." Once such questions have been addressed conclusively, then it becomes time to agree upon actions to be taken.
     
  21. May 2, 2006 #20
    Evidence in my favour is that, sorry It's time for me to retire to the land of Nod and I had to skim it briefly. I expected a rebuttal but obviously was mistaken this is very vague but again I have not the time to read or answer it properly, nor probably the scientific knowhow.

    Actually I was trying to be provocative because the thread was dying but it seems I had the opposite effect, I must be right then :wink: :tongue2:

    With the price of oil as it is now America would do well to be looking into renewable energy anyway. I think most scientists apart probably form those with a political agenda agree that CO2 is affecting GMT. There are other reasons it could be going up but they are gradually becoming less and less likely. Do nothing 'til it's too late is again a bit of a backward idea. I think the jury isn't in but I don't think that's the reason the US is reticent either, again I think it's economics pure and simple. I'm not meaning to be insulting but the US has for a long time been a hard core capatilist country, and thus I agree with Astronuc, only a more forward thinking government would sign, and that isn't likely to happen soon. In our lifetimes, depends on how many US dollars they can lose before it becomes cost effective to do something :wink: Here's hoping that they never lose any because it's all just a natural warming cycle caused by the sun, and I truly mean that :smile:
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  22. May 2, 2006 #21

    russ_watters

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    I agree and to clarify my position, I think the US should unilaterally reduce greenhouse emissions and still not sign the treaty. That would both show a good-faith desire/effort to help fix the problem, giving a true moral high-ground from which to criticize the treaty.
    Won't. There is no such thing as "can't" with this issue. Plenty of technology exists. My "YOU! Fix the US Energy Crisis" thread is still around somewhere and my first two action items would be to start building nuclear plants - lots of nuclear plants - and require retrofitting of all existing coal plants (and fitting of all new ones) with pollution reducing devices. More than half (iirc) of our CO2 comes form coal power plants and the first proposal could decrease that significantly and quickly. The nuclear plants would take 20 years, but it would allow for a truly vast reduction in our CO2 emissions, while simultaneously setting the stage for a transition to a hydrogen economy.

    In fifty years, we could reduce our emissions to a tiny fraction of what they are today with those simple solutions. Even the economic impact would be relatively minor, considering the cost of pollution and the cost of our dependence on foreign oil.
    Economics takes care of most things, but yes, the environment is something that the government needs to step in and protect. As for rhetoric, I'm not a big fan, but I am a big fan of statistics and the numbers about how many people die or are harmed by air pollution are rhetoric-free and truly staggering. Ie, the number of people who die from air pollution in the US every year is about 20,000. So the simple question is 'do we care or not?'

    Slightly different direction:
    To clarify more of what I said in previous posts, I think the comparision between CO2 and CFCs is apt, but there is something in the logic that I forgot to point out. Developing countries were not exempted for two reasons:
    1. The problem is bad enough that we can't allow anyone to continue to use the stuff.
    2. Technology makes it unnecessary for other countries to go through the same process of developing as we did. They have a fast-track that they already use: They already benefit from other free technologies, developed over centuries by the first countries out of the gate - there is no reason why they can't impliment the new technologies as we do.

    I see no reason why the rationale behind CO2 control should be any different than that for CFC control.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  23. May 2, 2006 #22

    russ_watters

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    Ok. I consider that to be counterproductive. Sign the treaty, make your small change, and sit back with a smug grin while the total quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise at an ever increasing rate.
    Ok, I think I understand the graph - the green shows the rate of emissions flattening out and becoming constant due to Kyoto, right? Please correct me if I misunderstand that, because it seems to contradict your use of the word "curb" as you just explained. But if that is what you meant - that the CO2 emissions rate in the world would eventually flatten out to to Kyoto, that is wrong. Even if everyone had ratified Kyoto right away and met their targets right away, the actual rate of CO2 production in the world would still be increasing. The curve would still be hyperbolic up because the vast increases in pollution by developing countries far outpaces the reduction by developed countries mandated by Kyoto. That's why I say Kyoto doesn't help enough to be worth doing and why Kyoto still allows the problem to get worse at an ever worsening rate.
    I very strongly disagree for reasons already stated, but in addition, I think it is a self-contradictory position. Either the problem is bad enough to fix or it isn't. It can't be both at the same time because you end up with the ship situation: some people fixing it while others don't, and the ship still sinks.
    I don't know about methane, but you may want to check on that, because you are wrong about CFCs. CFCs were outlawed/set to be phased out by the Montreal Protocol, not Kyoto. And the reason why is the difference in the approach to the problem, as I have detailed in previous posts. Ie, that developing countries aren't immune. That's a big chunk of this issue and my position that you are missing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Major_greenhouse_gas_trends.png
    You misread my quote (and possibly still misunderstand the issue). What I said was that the holes the US would be required by Kyoto to plug are smaller than the holes being punched by China. Ie, the increases in China's rate of CO2 production far outstrip the reduction in the US's mandated by Kyoto.
    There is some misleading information on China's CO2 emissions out there due to China's communism. Ironically, the shift to capitalism has allowed it to become temporarily more misleading because, for example, economic reforms toughened coal production standards, making the statistics from before about 2000 incompatible with those after it and showing a vast reduction in production of coal (and thus CO2) that didn't happen.

    It is a little tough to find recent data because the internet is saturated with pre-2001 numbers that people throw around as a stick to beat the US, but the 2002 number was slightly above half the US's. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3143798.stm
    But with China's economic gains - and pleges to vastly increase coal production - it is impossible for their CO2 emissions to not skyrocket without vast efforts to curb them.
    http://www.earth-policy.org/Indicators/CO2/2004.htm [Broken]
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1223/p01s04-sten.html

    So there's a good number. Including the fact that US didn't join the treaty, projected increases will be 5x Kyoto's decrease. But since less than 10% of that increase is the US's (by number of plants - the reality, though, is that our plants are much cleaner, so our effect is much smaller), and our reduction was supposed to be 12% iirc, that means that even if the US had joined, CO2 production increases would outstrip the reductions by about 4:1. 4:1 vs 5:1? How is that useful?
    You're comparing China's polluting to the right to breathe? Don't you see the irony and the contradiction in that?
    No - the sentnce is correct. As I pointed out above, CFC's were outlawed for everyone (and rightly so) by a different treaty - the Montreal Protocol. Again, understanding that is key to understanding why I don't like Kyoto and why the US signed that one, but not Kyoto.
    China signed the Montreal Protocol and it is much tougher on them than Kyoto. Besides, China isn't some baby that needs to be coddled - with a double-digit growth rate, they can afford to make their growth responsible. Again, getting the US to sign is simple. Simply make it as fair as the Montreal Protocol was about CFCs.
     
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  24. May 2, 2006 #23

    Gokul43201

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    Actually, that is not what I meant. Maybe I was unclear with my explanation. That line (the one that flattens out) is my "best hypothetical solution for the enivronment" - one that would impose unfair constraints on developing countries. The Kyoto line is the one in between. I expect, however, that as more and more countries fall under Annex I, the Kyoto line will take the shape of the green one.

    And I think there is a reason for treating CFCs differently from CO2. For one thing, I think CFCs do a lot more damage than CO2, but I have nothing as of now to back this up. Also, CFCs are an ingredient, not a combustion product like CO2. CFCs can be replaced by alternative chemicals (like HCFCs and HFCs); but the alternative to CO2 emissions requires eliminating all carbon-based fuels. That sounds like a much harder task.

    I guess what bugs me the most about the US stand is that they argue from a position of weakness rather than a position of strength. It's not like Bush is willing to negotiate the future entry of developing countries based on some predetermined criteria. The whole topic is just closed to discussion. Add to that the direction in which the energy policy has been going, and it's just very disappointing and short-sighted.
     
  25. May 3, 2006 #24

    Art

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    Although better than nothing the fundamental flaw of the Kyoto agreement is it will not solve the problem of greenhouse gas production. At best all it will do is slow the rate of increase.

    It seems to have been based on seeing what each country is willing to sign up to and then adding up the results to see what they got. A better methodology would have been to start with a goal of reducing global emissions by say 50% and then deciding how to do it.

    Exempting developing countries completely undermines the project as in countries which sign up high energy industries will simply move their production to those countries not covered by the agreement thus exporting the CO2 production (and the accompanying jobs) overseas. When you add the fuel used in shipping the finished products back to the consumer markets this actually results in a global increase in emissions. It is estimated that already 14% of China's CO2 output is a result of the goods being produced for US consumers.

    IMO In the absence of any worthwhile global agreement I believe developed countries should still unilaterally introduce measures to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the arguement 'I'm not doing it 'til he does it' will look rather peurile when the planet's eco system finally collapses.

    Another approach, which seems to be somewhat neglected at the moment, should be gov't incentives to develop technology to extract CO2 from the environment and store it in a safe form. Given that certain industries such as the aviation industry does not have alternative technology available to them perhaps they should be allowed to continue producing CO2 but their contribution to reducing emissions should be to clean it up afterwards. For example if the aviation industry continues to produce greenhouse gasses at the current rate, for the EU to meet it's 2050 commitment of a 60% overall reduction, the rest of the economy in the EU would have to have 0 emissions.

    CFCs destroy the ozone layer.

    Interestingly the same guy who invented CFCs, Thomas Midgely, also invented the lead additive for petrol thus singlehandedly being responsible for two of the worst pollutants ever devised. And Russ, he was an engineer from Pennsylvania :tongue2:
     
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  26. May 3, 2006 #25
    IIRC a single CFC molecule is capable of destroyang a thousand Ozone molecules, this is because it acts as a sort of catalyst of ozone destruction in the atmosphere, a cyclic destructive molecule. I'm not sure but having no Ozone layer would not effect global warming by any considerable margin. It would be a reason to live underground though :eek:
     
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