Friday, March 25, 2005

What Kyoto Really Means

So far the talk about the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocols has been abstract. It will cost billions to do but it always seems like someone else will be paying the price.

Now some of those costs are being passed onto the consumer.
The Swiss government has decided to impose a tax on heating oil and raise a levy on petrol and diesel imports as of next year, to help cut CO2 emissions.

The environment minister, Moritz Leuenberger, warned though that if greenhouse gas levels were not curbed, motor fuel could also be taxed later

The authorities plan to introduce a nine-centime per litre tax on heating oil as of 2006. The so-called "climate" levy on petrol and diesel imports should be set at up to 1.6 centime per litre.
Keep in mind that Kyoto is a relatively meaningless first step. It calls for minor emission cuts from countries representing around half the world-wide annual CO2 emissions. This amounts to, at best, a 4% cut. The countries that are not part of the agreement are among the fastest growing economies and there is no chance that they will join.
"No matter what the cut required would be, it is impossible to follow the Kyoto Protocol measures that are based on the 1990 levels even if those countries wanted to," Kwak told Reuters in an interview, listing South Korea, China, India and Brazil
Britain is considered one of the leading countries complying with Kyoto but their success is mixed. They did exceed their goals in all greenhouse gases but CO2 is up instead of down.

So what comes next? Britain is looking at meaningful cuts of 60% by 2050. Accomplishing this will be difficult. They will have to demolish 800,000 homes in the next ten years and replace them with more efficient ones.

Most intrusive, they will implement travel restrictions and possibly institute individual carbon allowances.

Begg says that the Government’s policy of reducing the need to travel will deliver too little too late. To hit its target of a 60 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, he believes, it will have no choice but to impose substantial increases in the cost of motoring and flying.

“I want to see a move towards a tax on the pollution and noise that aircraft cause,” he says. “The Government’s proposal to allow air travel to more than double by 2030 is just not sustainable because the aviation industry has no alternative to burning fossil fuel.

...He proposes that each individual should receive a “carbon allowance”. Those who wanted to exceed the allotted level, say by flying to New Zealand, would have to buy allowances from others who had been more energy efficient. “If the system were introduced internationally it would address global warming and poverty in the Third World, where people could sell their allowances.”

What this really means is that energy costs would go up so much that most people will be devastated but the rich will be able to go on as before by buying carbon credits.

How long before someone starts applying your carbon allowance to your food? Directly or indirectly, it will happen. It takes more energy to transport food across the country than it does to grow it locally. No problem if you live in a warm food-producing area. I live in Ohio where fresh vegetables and fruit are only available locally in mid-to-late summer.

The trillion dollar question is if all of this is worth it? What will happen if we go on as before?

One thing that will not happen - the melting of West Antarctica will not flood the world. It turns out that the ice there is much thinner than thought.

But in a new study led by University of Washington researchers, an ice core of 1,000 meters was used as a sort of dipstick to show that a key section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet probably never contained as much ice as scientists originally thought it did. That means it couldn't have contributed as much to the higher sea level
What if the worst happened and annual mean temperatures rose by ten degrees? This did happen 55 million years ago.
"During the greenhouse spike of 55 million years ago, tropical mangroves and rain forests spread as far north as England and Belgium and as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand," Retallack says. "Turtles, alligators and palm trees graced Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic, which is now the treeless abode of musk oxen and polar bears."
This would stress polar bears and musk oxen but would be a boon for lots of other species.

Is a ten degree jump likely? Not according to this article which points out that scientists have made dire prediction based on poorly understood phenomena before.

And this article points out that current scientific theory says that warming will happen regardless of anything that we do.

If we're to take these people at their word, what is to be done? Nothing. It will do no good to do anything. So, I suggest we do exactly that – nothing.

Time will tell if global warming is a reality. If it is, we will never know the cause – manmade or natural. So, it seems to me there is little point in worrying, in changing our economic systems, in diminishing national sovereignty in favor of global treaties to limit carbon dioxide, in reducing automobile sizes and weights and killing tens of thousands more on the highways, in short, in doing any of the things the global-warming extremists have been suggesting for the past decade.

They admit it will do no good, so what is the point?

Because it fits a broad political agenda for further government control – in this case, international government control – over the lives of ordinary people. There is no other explanation for it. The global-warming doomsayers all believe Big Government is the only answer. We need more centralized power, more command-and-control bureaucracies, more regulations – all of which translates, like it or not, to less freedom.

This is a power grab. It's about stealing your liberty. It's about destroying the last vestiges of self-government and imposing international tyranny on Americans and the rest of the world. It's part of a broad scheme to make decisions for you with no accountability – no elections, no representation, rule by a pseudo-scientific elite. Marx would be so proud.

And he didn't even read the British minister's proposal for travel restrictions and carbon allowances.

Before I close, I'd like to point out some flat-heads in Vermont. They created the "Flat Earth Award". Their web site says:

Remember when scientists were attacked for believing that the earth was round? That same denial of scientific fact is now plaguing the world’s understanding of global warming.

The Flat Earth Award was created as a humorous effort to highlight the denial of global warming by prominent public figures. Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus that human-induced carbon dioxide emissions are altering the global climate, some deniers remain. They are trying to convince the public and our government that a massive peer-reviewed international research project conducted by thousands of scientific researchers is bogus!

The funny thing here is that scientists were never attacked for believing the world was round. It was all made up in 1830 in order to make Columbus's early life more interesting. For more details, see here, here, and here.

Their approach to global warming is just as strained. They quote this article from Science which claims that there is a consensus about global warming. The article itself is misleading as shown here.

For their "final proof" they link to an article in a far-left web site.

Scientists have found the first unequivocal link between man-made greenhouse gases and a dramatic heating of the Earth's oceans. The researchers - many funded by the US government - have seen what they describe as a "stunning" correlation between a rise in ocean temperature over the past 40 years and pollution of the atmosphere.
If they only looked at 40 years then it is equivocal. There is no question that the world warmed between the 1960s and the present. It also cooled between the 1930s and the 1960s. When dealing with possible decades-long cycles you have to include long enough periods or you can confuse a cycle and a straight line. A graph of North American temperatures limited to January through June would show a straight line warming trend with no end in sight.

The Flat Earthers are giving awards to Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh, and Fred Singer. For Crichton, the front-runner, they say:

A distinguished novelist, who’s books include Andromeda Strain, and the creative genius behind Jurassic Park and television’s ER, Crichton has been entertaining Americans with his distinctive brand of technothriller since 1969. However, with his latest novel, State of Fear, he crosses into treacherous new waters. Crichton is a nominee this year on the basis of the appendices that accompany State of Fear, in which he argues that the heat trapping effect of human-induced greenhouse gases is trivial. Crichton “guesses” that the planet will warm 1.46 degrees Fahrenheit over the next hundred years. In addition, he believes that the human-induced greenhouse component of this warming will “be minor.” Crichton’s estimate is well below that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicts a warming of 2.4 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

How does Crichton address the overwhelming body of peer-reviewed evidence that supports greenhouse gas theory? He largely dismisses it as “politicized science.”

Crichton also points out that the contents of the actual IPCC report are very different from the executive summary. The Flat Earthers are relying on the summary which was written by lobbiests for politicians. In fact, the Flat Earthers are exactly the sort of people he complains about. Instead of checking on the facts themselves, they rely simply attack anyone who disagrees.

I hope that they are saving their money. I doubt that I will be using a lot of carbon in 2050 at the age of 95 but they will only be in their 60s. So much for traveling after you retire.

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