ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K) 
Author Message
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)

Quote:

>According to the Senator, President Bush is in a state of denial,
>refusing to perceive the enormity of the situation before him.
>The Senator continued by claiming that the President relies on
>the 1% of the scientists who question the evidence on climate
>change, instead of the 99% who are convinced by the scientific
>evidence.

And where does{*filter*}get these figures?  Perhaps of the small percentage of
scientists who are alarmist enough to{*filter*}to talk to, only 1% are willing to
admit that the evidence is NOT conclusive?

Quote:
>In order to put pressure on the US President to change policies
>before the February INC Session, Senator{*filter*}said he will seek
>to force a vote on a resolution in the US Senate calling for US
>agreement to targets and a timetable for reducing carbon
>emissions.

Yup.  Even though the evidence supporting the existence of the problem is
inconclusive, let alone detailed enough to base RATIONAL targets and timetables
on, let's pull some numbers for said targets and timetables out of a hat and
enter an international commitment to enforce them.  Just to be on the safe
side, why don't we make them stringent enough to cause massive dislocations and
hamstring the economy for the forseeable future while we're at it?  It'll give
the populace 50 years from now an excuse to refer to us as TTCB*.

Quote:
>Gore spoke at length about the significance of the Presidential
>campaign in 1992. The Senator is challenging the candidates of
>both parties to put this issue at the top of the agenda for next
>years election. Said Gore, "Where the President is concerned, I
>want to bring the facts out about what I consider to be a
>thoroughly scandalous performance."

Hmmm.  I don't suppose that Gore's speech was politically motivated and related
to the 1992 elections, was it?  Nah!  Couldn't be!

Quote:
>Looking ahead to the UNCED meeting in June, he noted that it
>coincides with the California primary, which he described as the
>opening skirmish of the general election campaign.

Huh?  It's a PRIMARY, for God's sake.  The conventions don't even happen until
after it's over.  And if we're going to count primaries as skirmishes in the
general election campaign, how about the New Hampshire primary?  How about the
Iowa caucuses?

Quote:
>Senator{*filter*}is a Senator from Tennessee and a leader in the
>Democratic Party. He made global warming a centre-piece of his
>1988 campaign for the US Presidency, and has held hearings,
>introduced legislation, and given countless speeches on climate
>change.

Hmmm.  That means that{*filter*}is up for reelection in either 1992 or 1996.
Anybody know which?

Quote:
>The Environment Ministers are proposing, in the last section of
>this document on the Earth Charter, a set of ten principles such
>as the principle of public participation in environmental
>decision-making and the right of access to environmental
>information. The Earth Charter, according to them, should also
>provide "for a balanced and substantial reference of high
>political and m{*filter*}authority for the future behaviour of public
>authorities, groups and individuals". Perhaps, reading these
>conclusions for the UNCED meeting carefully, the EC Member States
>(six of them represent 60% of the core funding of the GEF) could
>find the elements allowing them to further elaborate and set up
>an acceptable basis of mutual trust and equity in funding
>mechanism.

Sounds to me like they're trying to load the thing with enough excess political
baggage that it won't have a chance of being adopted.

Quote:

>4) US Utilities Move to Cut CO2

>By Daniel Lashof

>While the Bush Administration continues to insist that CO2
>targets are unacceptable in theory, US electric utilities are
>taking action to cut CO2 emissions in practice.

You make it sound as if there's some sort of conflict here.  As far as I know,
Bush doesn't claim that reducing CO2 emissions isn't desirable, merely that we
don't have the necessary information to make rational decisions on targets for
reduction.

Quote:
>BPA announced its innovative approach, which shifts the risk of
>future CO2 control costs to power plant builders, in conjunction
>with its preliminary selection of energy conservation and power
>generating projects that it may buy to meet growing needs.

Interesting concept.  A pity the author either has a personal agenda or lacks
the brains to take it one step further:  Where do the power plant builders get
the money to compensate them for assuming the risk?  Could it be that this will
raise the cost of building the plants?  And if the builders face a more
stringent bankruptcy constraint than does the BPA, the cost will rise by MORE
than the expected increase in costs were the BPA to assume the risk itself.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Those Twentieth-Century Bastards
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer:  Hey, I understand VAXes and VMS.  That's what I get paid for.  My
understanding of astronomy is purely at the amateur level (or below).  So
unless what I'm saying is directly related to VAX/VMS, don't hold me or my
organization responsible for it.  If it IS related to VAX/VMS, you can try to
hold me responsible for it, but my organization had nothing to do with it.



Sat, 11 Jun 1994 13:57:06 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)
As an atmospheric scientist and oceanographer who *seriously* questions
global warming and "ozone holes" on a scientific basis, I find{*filter*}to
be singularly opportunistic and bombastic.  He should get a clue....

Gore is just *another* lawyer-turned-politician who has a less than
adequate grasp of science.  Not that he's above exploiting what
interest in science he has.  A *little* knowledge can be a very dangerous
thing.

--


Naval Postgraduate School              |              
Monterey, CA  93943   (408) 646-3255   |



Sun, 12 Jun 1994 01:06:16 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)

Quote:


>>According to the Senator, President Bush is in a state of denial,
>>refusing to perceive the enormity of the situation before him.
>>The Senator continued by claiming that the President relies on
>>the 1% of the scientists who question the evidence on climate
>>change, instead of the 99% who are convinced by the scientific
>>evidence.

>And where does{*filter*}get these figures?  Perhaps of the small percentage of
>scientists who are alarmist enough to{*filter*}to talk to, only 1% are willing to
>admit that the evidence is NOT conclusive?

Easily 99% or more of scientists working on the climate change problem believe
there *will be* some climate change. There is much uncertainty as to what that
change will be -- how temperature and seasonal rainfall patterns may change.
Most scientists, further, expect the largest temperature increases in high
latitudes. There is not general agreement on whether global warming can be seen
in the data we have through the present time. The question isn't so much
whether or not global warming has begun, but rather whether any signal outside
of natural variability can be isolated; natural variability together with the
influnce of volcanic activity and other climatic factors (including urbanization
around our measurement locations) are of such large magnitude that detecting
even a fairly large "greenhouse" warming is difficult at best. The point is
that just because we cannot identify conclusively what changes have been
brought about through the present time due to anthropogenic CO2 does not mean
that we don't have consensus in *expecting* that significant, albeit unknown,
changes *will* occur.

Quote:
>>In order to put pressure on the US President to change policies
>>before the February INC Session, Senator{*filter*}said he will seek
>>to force a vote on a resolution in the US Senate calling for US
>>agreement to targets and a timetable for reducing carbon
>>emissions.

>Yup.  Even though the evidence supporting the existence of the problem is
>inconclusive, let alone detailed enough to base RATIONAL targets and timetables
>on, let's pull some numbers for said targets and timetables out of a hat and
>enter an international commitment to enforce them.  Just to be on the safe
>side, why don't we make them stringent enough to cause massive dislocations and
>hamstring the economy for the forseeable future while we're at it?  It'll give
>the populace 50 years from now an excuse to refer to us as TTCB*.



Denying the existence of the problem is sheer stupidity. Just because we cannot
yet determine whether the problem has manifested itself yet does not mean that
we don't *expect* it to. We *know* the CO2 problem has a very long time scale
and a delayed effect. If two airplanes were on a collision course, should
neither change course because the problem has not yet occurred? The only
difference between the airplane question and the CO2 question is that we don't
know the consequential climate changes -- maybe it won't be global warming,
but there surely will be regional changes of great significance to human
activities. And we *do know* that the more CO2 we put in, the bigger the
changes will be and probably the faster they will occur. While we may not yet
know enough to make "rational" targets and timetables, to continue our present
behavior of not taking any significant action is completely irrational.

Stephen Jascourt
p.s. any followup which I am supposed to read between Dec 26 and Jan 9 will



Sun, 12 Jun 1994 06:48:09 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)

Quote:



>>>According to the Senator, President Bush is in a state of denial,
>>>refusing to perceive the enormity of the situation before him.
>>>The Senator continued by claiming that the President relies on
>>>the 1% of the scientists who question the evidence on climate
>>>change, instead of the 99% who are convinced by the scientific
>>>evidence.

>>And where does{*filter*}get these figures?  Perhaps of the small percentage of
>>scientists who are alarmist enough to{*filter*}to talk to, only 1% are willing to
>>admit that the evidence is NOT conclusive?

>Easily 99% or more of scientists working on the climate change problem believe
>there *will be* some climate change. There is much uncertainty as to what that
>change will be -- how temperature and seasonal rainfall patterns may change.
>Most scientists, further, expect the largest temperature increases in high
>latitudes. There is not general agreement on whether global warming can be seen
>in the data we have through the present time. The question isn't so much
>whether or not global warming has begun, but rather whether any signal outside
>of natural variability can be isolated; natural variability together with the
>influnce of volcanic activity and other climatic factors (including urbanization
>around our measurement locations) are of such large magnitude that detecting
>even a fairly large "greenhouse" warming is difficult at best. The point is
>that just because we cannot identify conclusively what changes have been
>brought about through the present time due to anthropogenic CO2 does not mean
>that we don't have consensus in *expecting* that significant, albeit unknown,
>changes *will* occur.

I stipulate that.  Now, we face the question:  Given that there's consensus
that increased CO2 concentrations will do SOMETHING to the environment, but
absent evidence about exactly (or even roughly) WHAT they will do, does it make
sense to set "targets and timetables" for reduction of CO2 emissions?

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>>>In order to put pressure on the US President to change policies
>>>before the February INC Session, Senator{*filter*}said he will seek
>>>to force a vote on a resolution in the US Senate calling for US
>>>agreement to targets and a timetable for reducing carbon
>>>emissions.

>>Yup.  Even though the evidence supporting the existence of the problem is
>>inconclusive, let alone detailed enough to base RATIONAL targets and timetables
>>on, let's pull some numbers for said targets and timetables out of a hat and
>>enter an international commitment to enforce them.  Just to be on the safe
>>side, why don't we make them stringent enough to cause massive dislocations and
>>hamstring the economy for the forseeable future while we're at it?  It'll give
>>the populace 50 years from now an excuse to refer to us as TTCB*.


>Denying the existence of the problem is sheer stupidity. Just because we cannot
>yet determine whether the problem has manifested itself yet does not mean that
>we don't *expect* it to. We *know* the CO2 problem has a very long time scale
>and a delayed effect. If two airplanes were on a collision course, should
>neither change course because the problem has not yet occurred? The only
>difference between the airplane question and the CO2 question is that we don't
>know the consequential climate changes -- maybe it won't be global warming,
>but there surely will be regional changes of great significance to human
>activities. And we *do know* that the more CO2 we put in, the bigger the
>changes will be and probably the faster they will occur. While we may not yet
>know enough to make "rational" targets and timetables, to continue our present
>behavior of not taking any significant action is completely irrational.

Please note that I'm not advocating that we deny the problem.  I'm questioning
the advisability of committing to "targets and timetables" for reduction of CO2
emissions.  Given my stipulation that increased CO2 concentrations will affect
the climate adversely, we can conclude that the optimal CO2 emissions are lower
than those we'd get if we ignored this point.  However, there's also some level
of CO2 emissions where the economic effects of the reductions makes us worse
off than going on as we have been in the past.  Absent decent data relating CO2
emissions to climate, how do we know that the proposed "targets and timetables"
aren't making us worse off?  My impression about the conference is that once
we've set such "targets and timetables," we'll be legally committed to carrying
them out, even if, in retrospect, we find that they're totally unreasonable.
And if the current conference is any indication, getting an international
agreement to change them later on will be a VERY unlikely prospect.

Now, I realize I've made a few unsubstantiated assumptions above, and will
welcome any explanations as to why they're wrong (please note:  claiming that
your own unsubstantiated assumptions are better than my unsubstantiated
assumptions does NOT constitute an explanation of why mine are wrong), but if I
understand the situation correctly, there are good reasons for not entering a
legally binding agreement on targets and timetables at this point.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer:  Hey, I understand VAXes and VMS.  That's what I get paid for.  My
understanding of astronomy is purely at the amateur level (or below).  So
unless what I'm saying is directly related to VAX/VMS, don't hold me or my
organization responsible for it.  If it IS related to VAX/VMS, you can try to
hold me responsible for it, but my organization had nothing to do with it.



Sun, 12 Jun 1994 19:31:45 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)
The fundamental environemntal problems lead from our misunderstandings
of exponential growth of Energy and REsource Use, and also the
Population..  The consumption of fossil fuels is one expample of this,
where it appears that the CO2 produced to drive our cars and machines
will have an effect on the ecosphere..  The dangers come from
the uncertainty, we don't know what the changes will be if we keep
introducing CO2 into the atmosphere at the rates we are currently
doing so..  The United States is the single largest producer of
CO2, and this is why it is important that any international
agreement on CO2 is agreed to by the US..  Because we don't know
what the dammages of increased CO2 production would be on a
global scale, it is important to work to at least produce no
more than we currently are..  This may give us a bit more time
to study and predict the changes with increased CO2 concentration
would bring..  This is the very minimum that is required for now,
and without the support of the United States, which is making efforts
which will increase CO2 production (like the development of the
Alaskan Oil Fields), without support from the US, any agreement
will be unsubstantial..

If the United States and all of the other countries of the
world sign an international agreement at UNCED in Brazil,
it will be no stronger a doccument than the UN Declaration
of Human jRights, which all of the world's countries have
signed, and which none have complied..  International agreements
are NOT binding in the same manner as national laws are..
And if the United States did sign this doccuemnt on
CO2 as they have on O3 (with the montreal protocoll), it would
essentially be a matter of good will and national commitment
rather than a binding law..  



Sat, 18 Jun 1994 08:16:45 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)
<Please note that I'm not advocating that we deny the problem.  I'm questioning
<the advisability of committing to "targets and timetables" for reduction of CO2
<emissions.  Given my stipulation that increased CO2 concentrations will affect
<the climate adversely, we can conclude that the optimal CO2 emissions are lower
<than those we'd get if we ignored this point.  However, there's also some level
<of CO2 emissions where the economic effects of the reductions makes us worse
<off than going on as we have been in the past.  Absent decent data relating CO2
<emissions to climate, how do we know that the proposed "targets and timetables"
<aren't making us worse off?  My impression about the conference is that once
<we've set such "targets and timetables," we'll be legally committed to carrying
<them out, even if, in retrospect, we find that they're totally unreasonable.
<And if the current conference is any indication, getting an international
<agreement to change them later on will be a VERY unlikely prospect.
<
<Now, I realize I've made a few unsubstantiated assumptions above, and will
<welcome any explanations as to why they're wrong (please note:  claiming that
<your own unsubstantiated assumptions are better than my unsubstantiated
<assumptions does NOT constitute an explanation of why mine are wrong), but if I
<understand the situation correctly, there are good reasons for not entering a
<legally binding agreement on targets and timetables at this point.
<--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<
        The big problem in arriving at rational policies in such cases is
our tendency to become polarized.  Those at the extremes make the most noise,
insist that everyone who doesn't agree totally with their extreme solution
is part of the enemy, and eventualy everyone seems to be driven to one pole
or the other.

        So far, the sudden increases in energy costs have caused many people
to take steps to improve their energy efficiency.  I understand that there
are still many opportunities to improve energy efficiency that would be cost
effective EVEN IF the cost of energy stayed where it is.  Taking advantage of
these would decrease our overall costs, decrease the deficit in our ballance
of trade, and decrease the rate at which we are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
For ideological reasons Bush & Sununu opposed them, as did many others.  I
think they were dumb.

        We are currently blindly implementing an unplanned, poorly monitored
experiment to see what happens if we dump large ammounts of CO2 into the
atmosphere.  I think a little more caution would be advisable.

                                                                Irv

--
I do not have signature authority.  I am not authorized to sign anything.
I am not authorized to commit the BRL, the DA, the DOD, or the US Government
to anything, not even by implication.  They do not tell me what their policy



Sun, 19 Jun 1994 04:16:46 GMT
 ECO GENEVA #8 - Dec 18, 1991 (29K)

Quote:

>   I understand that there are still many opportunities to improve
> energy efficiency that would be cost effective EVEN IF the cost of
> energy stayed where it is.  Taking advantage of these would decrease
> our overall costs, decrease the deficit in our ballance of trade, and
> decrease the rate at which we are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
> For ideological reasons Bush & Sununu opposed them, as did many
> others.  I think they were dumb.

Correction:  Bush and Sununu did not oppose opportunities for
increased energy efficiency.  They opposed the government mandating
specified levels of energy efficiency.  There is nothing stopping
manufacturers from designing and selling more efficient appliances,
cars, light bulbs, etc., if enough people want to buy them.

There's the rub, of course.  Many energy-efficiency measures have
costs.  For example, much more efficient refrigerators may have thicker
insulation, which means less useable inside space.  Smaller cars,
all else being equal, are less safe than larger cars.  In a free
society, the consumer gets to make the tradeoff.

When externalities are important, a more flexible and efficient
response is to tax the pollutant or to set up a market in pollution
allowances.  The Bush administration has done this, with CFCs (taxes)
and with SO2 (tradeable allowances).

If one wants to reduce CO2 emissions, a carbon tax will be more
efficient that appliance standards, as well as less complicated.
Appliance standards cause conservation where it does not reduce CO2
emissions (from utilities with large nonfossil generating capacity),
do not encourage owners of old appliances to upgrade, and do not
affect usage patterns (what temperature the refrigerator is set at,
how often the coils are cleaned, and so on).

        Paul F. Dietz



Mon, 20 Jun 1994 03:59:31 GMT
 
 [ 7 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. ECO GENEVA (INC) #1 June 18, 1991

2. ECO GENEVA #10 - Dec 20, 1991 (55K)

3. ECO NAIROBI #2 - Sept 10, 1991 (29K

4. ECO GENEVA (INC) #6 June 25, 1991 (

5. ECO GENEVA (INC) #5 June 24, 1991 (

6. ECO GENEVA (INC) #3 June 20, 1991 (

7. ECO GENEVA (INC) #4 June 23, 1991 (

8. ECO GENEVA (INC) #7 June 26, 1991 (

9. ECO GENEVA (INC) #4A June 23, 1991

10. ECO GENEVA (INC) #2A June 19, 1991

11. ECO GENEVA (INC) #8 June 27, 1991 (

12. ECO GENEVA (INC) #2 June 19, 1991


 
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