How large is your carbon footprint?



by Dee Finney


Al Gore video:

Al Gore said: “There is an old African proverb, If you want to go fast; go alone, if you want to go far;
go together, we need to act both quickly and together to put an end to the climate crisis”

"We need a worldwide global mobilization for renewable energy,
conservation, efficiency and a globalization transition to a low carbon economy."


Barack Obama said:  "When God created the Earth he entrusted us to take responsibility to take care of that Earth,"
Obama says, "and we are not living up to our responsibility to ensure our children's future..."

"As we develop new forms of energy we will share our technology and innovations with other countries in the world,"
 he said.


Al Gore discusses climate crisis, urges change and optimism


Maybe you've seen it, maybe you haven't. The point is, you should. In a video that has been making the Internet rounds, Nobel Laureate Al Gore discusses climate change, media coverage of the issue, and why there is reason to be optimistic. In a speech from the TED conference, held annually, Gore urges us to view the climate crisis as the most important challenge of this generation -- and to embrace that challenge.

Gore, who has personally trained all of The Climate Project's 2,300 presenters worldwide to present his climate slideshow, presents a new version of the slideshow in the video.






Drafted by Sir Nicholas Stern, a 700-page report suggests that as many as 200 million world citizens could become refugees as a result of floods and droughts caused by global warming. Stern, a former chief economist for the World Bank, urges that unless countries unify to spend at least one percent of the world’s gross domestic product to remedy the causes of global warming, future disasters could cost the world twenty times that amount or more. Said Stern:

This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime. Investment now will pay us back many times in the future, not just environmentally but economically as well.

Stern stipulates that the action needed to curb the effects of global warming would have to be conducted on a global scale. Every country would have to band together and spend proportional amounts of their respective GDPs in order to take an effective stance against global warming and its effects. Stern warns that if such action isn’t taken, the following disasters would change the global landscape as we know it:

  • Floods from rising sea levels could displace up to 100 million people
  • Melting glaciers could cause water shortages for 1 in 6 of the world’s population
  • Wildlife will be harmed; at worst up to 40% of species could become extinct
  • Droughts may create tens or even hundreds of millions of climate refugees
UK Chancellor Gordon Brown, who commissioned the report, has recruited Al Gore as an adviser on the country’s environmental matters. The report prompted Brown to draft a number of environmentally-friendly directives for the UK and Europe. Brown says that the UK will aim to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and 60 percent by 2050. This will be achieved with increased dependence on biofuels, developing sustainable forestry in South American countries, and working with China to further clean coal technologies among many reasons.

According to Stern such immediate and large-scale action will be the key to averting global environmental and economic disaster:

I’m optimistic - having done this review - that we have the time and knowledge to act. But only if we act internationally, strongly and urgently.

Via BBC News




There is a thin line between the rich and poor.
How many people in the slum on the left can even worry about their light bulbs
when they are struggling to find even enough money to feed their families?
Do the rich people on the right even care about their light bulbs?




Polar Bear Watch!


Arctic Sea Ice Type and Concentration Mapping Using Passive and Active Microwave Sensors
Walker, N. P.; Partington, K. C.; Van Woert, M. L.; Street, T. L. T.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on
Volume 44, Issue 12, Dec. 2006 Page(s):3574 - 3584
Digital Object Identifier   10.1109/TGRS.2006.881116

Summary:The mapping of ice type concentrations in the Arctic is important for commercial operations and for climate-related research. Algorithms based on moderate-resolution passive microwave sensors for mapping first-year ice and multiyear ice concentrations suffer from a number of known problems. In this paper, it has been shown that QuikSCAT scatterometer data can add complimentary information to that available from passive microwave, which can assist in separating different ice classes. Specifically, we identify a class of ice that exhibits a passive microwave signature which is characteristic of first-year ice, but has a scatterometer signature which is typical of multiyear ice. We track the evolution and distribution of this new ice class throughout the Arctic during the winter season of 2003-2004 and compare the results against the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC) ice charts. It has been found that the new ice class is predominantly multiyear ice and is especially prevalent in the Fram Strait and the high Arctic regions north of the islands Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya. A simple algorithm has been proposed that enables a passive microwave-based partial ice concentration algorithm (for example, the NT algorithm based on Special Sensor Microwave/Imager data) to be adapted using QuikSCAT scatterometer data, so that the new ice class is corrected from the first-year ice class to the multiyear ice category. The algorithm performance is measured against the NIC ice charts. We provide a discussion regarding the possible physical causes of the effects that have been observed and described


Gore Sets Bold Energy Goal for US

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2008) -

Just as John F. Kennedy set his sights on the moon, Al Gore is challenging the nation to produce every kilowatt of electricity through wind, sun and other Earth-friendly energy sources within 10 years, an audacious goal he hopes the next president will embrace.

The Nobel Prize-winning former vice president said fellow Democrat Barack Obama and Republican rival John McCain are "way ahead" of most politicians in the fight against global climate change.
Rising fuel costs, climate change and the national security threats posed by U.S. dependence on foreign oil are conspiring to create "a new political environment" that Gore said will sustain bold and expensive steps to wean the nation off fossil fuels.
"I have never seen an opportunity for the country like the one that's emerging now," Gore told The Associated Press in an interview previewing a speech on global warming he planned to give Thursday in Washington.
In his speech, Gore said some of the nation's biggest success stories have come from making commitments to goals well beyond the next election, citing the Marshall plan for rebuilding Europe, Social Security and the interstate highway system, in addition to putting a man on the moon.
"A political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that's meaningless," he said. "Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit the target."
He said it also coincides with experts' predictions that unless dramatic changes to reduce global warming pollution are made within the next decade, "our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis" may be lost.
Gore said the single most important policy change would be placing a carbon tax on burning oil and coal.
The Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan group he leads, estimates the cost of transforming the U.S. to clean electricity sources at $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion over 30 years in public and private money. But he says it would cost about as much to build greenhouse gas-polluting coal plants to satisfy current demand.

"This is an investment that will pay itself back many times over," Gore said. "It's an expensive investment but not compared to the rising cost of continuing to invest in fossil fuels."
Called an alarmist by conservatives, Gore has made global warming his signature issue. He portrayed Thursday's speech as the latest and most important phase in his effort to build public opinion in favor of alternative fuels.
Gore knows politicians fear action unless voters are willing to sacrifice _ and demand new fuels.
"I hope to contribute to a new political environment in this country that will allow the next president to do what I think the next president is going to think is the right thing to do," Gore said. "But the people have to play a part." He compared his challenge to Kennedy's pledge in May 1961 to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Gore narrowly lost the presidential race in 2000 to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush after a campaign in which his prescient views on climate change took a back seat to other issues. In the 2008 presidential race, both the Republican and Democrat candidates support action to curb the gases blamed for global warming.
While dismissing a suggestion that he pulled his punches eight years ago, Gore said his goal now is to "enlarge the political space" within which politicians can "deal with the climate challenge."
To meet his 10-year goal, Gore said nuclear energy output would continue at current levels while the U.S. dramatically increases its use of solar, wind, geothermal and clean coal energy. Huge investments must also be made in technologies that reduce energy waste and link existing power grids, he said.
Gore's proposal would represent a significant shift in where the U.S. gets its power. In 2005, the United States produced nearly 3.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, with coal providing slightly more than half of that energy, according to government statistics. Nuclear power accounted for 21 percent, natural gas 15 percent and renewable sources, including wind and solar, about 8.6 percent.
Coal's share of electricity generation is only expected to grow come 2030, according to Energy Department forecasts, while renewable energy would still only provide 11 percent of the nation's power.
Without action, the cost of oil will continue to rise as fast-growing China and India increase demand, Gore said. Sustained addiction to oil also will place the U.S. at the mercy of oil-producing governments, he said, and the globe would suffer irreparable harm.
Government experts recently predicted that, at the current rate and without an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, world energy demand will grow 50 percent over the next two decades. The Energy Information Administration also said in its long-range forecast to 2030 that the world is not close to abandoning fossil fuels despite their role in global warming.
While electricity production is only part of the nation's energy and climate change problem, Gore said, "If we meet this challenge we will solve the rest of it."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.



Al Gore's 10 point plan to fight global warming

Gore's Ten Point Plan

1.) Immediately freeze carbon at the existing level; then implement programs to reduce it 90% by 2050.

2.) Reduce taxes on employment and production, instead taxing pollution (especially CO2). These pollution taxes would raise the same amount of money, but make us more competitive by encouraging employment while discouraging pollution.

3.) A portion of the revenues must be earmarked for low-income and middle class people who will have a difficult time making this transition.

4.) Negotiate a strong global treaty to replace Kyoto, while working toward de facto compliance with Kyoto. Move the start date of this new treaty forward from 2012 to 2010, so the next president can to act immediately, rather than waste time trying to pass Kyoto right before it expires. We have to try to get China and India to participate in the treaty. If they don’t immediately participate, we have to move forward with the treaty regardless, trusting that they will join sooner rather than later.

5.) Impose a moratorium on construction of any new coal-fired power plant not compatible with carbon capture and sequestration.

6.) Develop an "electranet" -- a smart grid that allows individual homeowners and small businesses to create green power and sell their excess power to the utility companies at a fair price. Just as widely distributed information processing led to a large new surge of productivity, we need a law that allows widely distributed energy generation to be sold into the grid, at a rate determined not by a the utility companies, but by regulation. The goal is to create a grid that does not require huge, centralized power plants.

7.) Raise CAFE standards for cars and trucks as part of a comprehensive package. Cars and trucks are a large part of the problem, but coal and buildings must be addressed at the same time.

8.) Set a date for the ban of incandescent light bulbs that gives industry time to create alternatives. If the date is set, industry will meet this challenge.

9.) Create Connie Mae, a carbon-neutral mortgage association. Connie Mae will defer the costs of things like insulation and energy efficient windows which cut carbon but are often not used by builders or renovators because they add to the upfront costs of homes, only paying for themselves after several years of energy savings.

10.) The SEC should require disclosure of carbon emissions in corporate reporting.


[Ed. note: This is the first of two guest posts by Katie Carpenter,
a Discovery Hot House producer. Part of the original group trained
to give Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' slide show, she recently
met up with the other climate crusaders to update their training;
this is her story of the weekend.]
Climate Crusaders Reunite: Inside Al Gore's Climate Project (Part I)
by+ Team Treehugger, Worldwide on 01.17.08

Nearly a hundred climate crusaders from Al Gore’s advocacy group, The Climate Project, gathered over the weekend in a suburb of Washington, DC, for two days of meetings designed to reconnect and retrain them for the climate battles ahead.

They represent the first wave of the “climate cavalry”, trained in Nashville a year ago by Mr. Gore and scientists from The Climate Institute. They are now working across the North East and Mid-Atlantic region, presenting various versions of Al Gore’s slide show to schools, churches, conferences and community centers from Maryland to Maine. I am lucky enough to be one of them.

“We are very proud of you,” said Roy Neel, Al Gore’s Chief of Staff who flew in to deliver the welcoming remarks to the group gathered in the Chevy Chase Village Hall on this unseasonably warm January morning. “You have given more presentations that Al and I ever thought possible – to date, more than a million people have seen that slide show, personally delivered around the world!"

More than a million served. It seems like an amazing statistic to the group, who are stunned to hear that there are now 1,700 trained presenters working in a dozen countries – over a thousand in the U.S. alone – and that the next big training session is scheduled for India in March.

This all seems kind of unreal. When we applied for this gig, on an unassuming little web site set up by The Climate Project and Participant Productions after the release of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, it seemed like a quixotic dream that might appeal to only a few hard-cord activists. Al Gore wanted to train a thousand people to be communicators for the climate crusade. Most of us thought he’d have to paper the house.

But as it turned out, they received nearly ten times that many applications, and those of us who got to go to Nashville a year ago for the climatology boot camp are now considered the lucky few. We were trained by the Gore-acle himself – two hours through the slide show the first night, twelve hours through it the next day. He explained the provenance of each and every slide, and the science behind every fact. Then we spent two days honing presenting skills, working in small groups into the night to customize intros and outros to specific audiences, and learning how to politely deflect contrarians and skeptics.

New data that strengthens the slideshow is being compiled and released
constantly; now we have some of it for our shows.

Now we’re at the first-ever regional trainees reunion, and the all-stars are here to bring us up to date, teach us the new science, offer locally specific solutions slides, show us how to use Google maps and data from the Web site of new science partners like the Union of Concerned Scientists. And not a moment too soon -- a recent article in the Washington Post stating that 2007 has just been determined to have been the second-warmest year on record. Ever.

It’s been a daunting year, frankly -- the news has been nothing but bad. Extreme weather, increasing fires and droughts, disappearing species. They know that we need to be re-energized, so they offer us a new science adviser, Jeremy Richardson, a freshly minted PhD., who will give us the new information we need so badly. Many of our audiences get impatient and clamor for solutions – Jeremy is here to explain the options to us, and also to make sure we are all on track in terms of accuracy every time we give the slide show.

We are not scientists. We are priests and teachers and mayors and professional athletes and country-western singers and software programmers and just plain folks, and the science can get pretty deep out there in the trenches when the nay-sayers jump up in the back of the room and scream that Antarctica is actually cooling, so global warming must be a hoax perpetrated by liberals!

So Jeremy and the other science advisors to The Climate Project are here with the data to re-focus us and make sure we get the story right – fearlessly and confidently, without backing down.

“We know you guys are modifying and updating the slide show – we know you have to,” says Roy with a smile. “People don’t want to see the movie over and over again, they need the new information and they need the solutions-based slides, we know, and we thank you for your resourcefulness. But as you know, you cannot just grab anything off the Web and put it in your slide show, make sure you get it right.” So this retraining session is a critical opportunity for us – we can share our new solutions-based slides, update them and fact-check them, and The Climate Project scientists have new, peer-reviewed information to share with us. And we have a couple of amazing mentors – called District Managers – who guide us through the technical bits.

So as we pass our flash drives from laptop to laptop, exchanging PowerPoint presentations and Keynote slides and individual images of glaciers calving and storms raging, and new graphs showing how much we are still emitting huge quantities of carbon even though it seems like progress is being made. There’s a slide from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report which is now famous among presenters as the “burning embers” slide – a graph that shows how public opinion on this is slowly but finally changing, but probably not fast enough. It’s a call to action – we’ve all got to work harder, faster, go farther, now!

Katie will be back tomorrow with the conclusion of her weekend of climate presentation training; stay tuned!



The Alliance for Climate Protection is an organization in the United States aiming to 'persuade people of the importance, urgency and feasibility of adopting and implementing effective and comprehensive solutions for the climate crisis'. The founder and current chairman of the alliance is former US Vice President Al Gore.


The Alliance is a member of Save Our Selves, the organizers of the July 2007 Live Earth concerts.


According to the organization, research in January 2007 indicated that while 77% of Americans believe that there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming, only 47% understand its link with human activity. The Alliance believes that explaining this link, and motivating people to take action, is the organization's key challenge.




Paramount Classics, distributor of Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth announced in August 2006 that it would donate 5% of all box office receipts to the Alliance. Al Gore is also donating all his proceeds from the film to the Alliance.


Some of the profits from the Live Earth concerts, and profits from the associated book - The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook, will also be used to fund the alliance, which is also seeking contributions from other donors.


Prior to launch it was expected that more than 60% of the funding will be used for 'national and local media projects aimed at mass persuasion', with the rest used to support grassroots groups and institutions that educate the public about climate change.




Greenland ice sheet melt extent

Greenland ice sheet melt extent



The Third Wave

The Environment, Politics, and Religion


Climate Change Explained

What is climate change?  Why’s everyone getting all huffy about a tiny change in the temperature of the Earth?  Doesn’t it all seem just a little bit silly?

There’s a good chance that, if you’re reading my blog, you’re already somewhat familiar with the basics of climate change.  But maybe when you’re sitting around, talking with your friends or family, they ask you questions that you don’t know the answer to:  ”It was the coldest winter here in fifteen years!  How can global warming be happening?”,  “There’s no scientific consensus on global warming!  Fox News said so!”, etc.

So, for your benefit and review, here’s my little guide to Climate Change.  There’ll be some resources at the end for further reading, in case you’d like them.  Also, if you’re new to climate change, or if you’re a skeptic, please keep an open mind as you read; the only way you get anything out of anything is by going in with a positive attitude.

In any case, let us begin with:


In order to really understand climate change, we have to take a look at how the Earth has worked for the past few million years.  Right now, we’re living in what scientists call the Quaternary Period, a period of geologic history that began about 1.6 million years ago.  In geologic time, that’s not too old; considering the fact that the planet was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, the Quarternary Period is relatively short. 

Also, it’s important to note that we are living in an Ice Age.  The Quarternary Period is relatively cold compared to other time periods, and during the last 1.6 million years, the ice caps have been constantly growing and shrinking, expanding and contracting.  (The ice caps go all the way from the point at which they are now, all the way down to Seattle!  Imagine a five mile high glacier in the middle of downtown Seattle…crazy.)

So, if we look at the graph above, we can notice a few things.  One is that the graph begins about 650,000 years ago and charts time on the y-axis, and another is that the graph charts the parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere.  That’s on the x-axis.  Also, you’ll notice that the lines charted on the graph go up and down, in cycles.

Scientists note that the times when we’ve had lots of glaciers covering the surface of the Earth are the same times that there has been a relatively small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (look at the graph:  see how the blue areas, which are the times representing glacial periods, are all times during which the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is below 230 ppm?).  Also, they notice that the exact opposite is true:  the times when there have been few glaciers, called “interglacial periods,” have had relatively high amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere (the times outlined in yellow).

So we can clearly see that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere can at least somewhat account for changes in climate.  When there’s a low amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we’re going to have a period of really cold temperatures and glaciers; when there’s a high amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we’re going to have an interglacial period with relatively fewer glaciers and warmer temperatures.

So, do you think we live in an interglacial period, or a glacial period?  If you guessed interglacial period, you are correct!  We’re smack in the middle of what’s called the Holocene, an interglacial period that began around 9600 BC, so the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are naturally higher than what they are during a glacial period.

Looking back at the graph, we have to notice two more things.  First, notice the variation in levels of CO2.  The lowest amount of CO2 we’ve had is probably around 180, and the highest CO2 we can see is about 290, or perhaps a bit above 300.  But generally, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has remained in a comfortable space of between 190 and 290.

The last thing we see when we look at that graph is the amount of time that it takes for CO2 levels to change.  The changes in temperature and in the amounts of CO2 take place over thousands of years, sometimes even tens of thousands of years.  That’s a long time!

Now that we have seen how the Earth has behaved in the past, and can see the patterns and cycles that have occurred naturally on account of CO2 levels, let’s move on to:


In the nineteenth century, a curious phenomenon began to occur on our planet.  Humans had discovered the power of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, and a few others), and the CO2 levels in our atmosphere began to increase dramatically.

Let’s take a look at a graph from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  (They’re the 2,000 or so scientists that recently won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore for their work studying global warming, and the effects global warming has on our climate.)

Carbon Dioxide

This graph is almost identical to the first graph we looked at, but instead of looking at 650,000 years, this one above only graphs C02 levels from the past 10,000 years.  So, the y-axis charts time, from about the present to 10,000 years ago.  This amount of time covers just about the entire Holocene period.  The x-axis charts the parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere, just like first graph.  Also, in the right hand corner, the scientists have taken the past two hundred years and made an additional graph. It’s the same thing:  time on the y-axis, CO2 in ppm on the x-axis, except the chart is dealing with an even smaller amount of time than the big graph it’s sitting on.  Pretty cool.

Now, do you notice anything interesting?  It’s pretty obvious.  Look at how quickly the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere rose starting in the last two hundred years.  On the big graph, it’s almost a vertical line that just shoots straight up, from about 280 ppm of CO2 to about 375 ppm of CO2.  Whoa!  That’s pretty fast, isn’t it?

Think about the first graph that we looked at.  Remember the interglacial periods and the glacial periods?  Remember how in order to create these two vastly different environments, it only took a fluctuation of CO2 levels in between 190 and 290 ppm?  And remember how these fluctuations and cycles took place over thousands of years?

Wow.  Now look at our newest graph.  The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it’s been in the last 650,000 years, to what looks to be about 375 ppm, or 85 ppm more than what’s normally the highest!  Even more astonishing is the fact that this amount of CO2 was put in the atmosphere in less than two hundred years, not the thousands of years that is considered typical.  If we were to graph 375 ppm on the first graph we looked at, it would be literally off the charts.

So, now we can clearly see that there is a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere than is normal.  “Okay,” you may be thinking, ”why does that matter?”

Good question.  Now is when we must ask:


Scientists often use computer models to figure out how the climate acts, or would act given certain conditions.  Since we don’t have another planet Earth to mess around with, we use climate models to create scenarios we can use to tell the differences between what’s going on and what would be going on if we didn’t have a certain factor affecting climate.

So, for instance, we could construct a climate model that would show what would happen if there were no human-created (or, “anthropogenic”) CO2 emissions that got into the atmosphere.  That would give us a model of the temperature of the planet without anthropogenic CO2 levels interfering, which we can think compare to our current, real life world temperatures.

And luckily for us, scientists have done just that.

This graph shows in gray the results of the model.  The y-axis graphs the average global temperature (in degrees Celsius), and the x-axis graphs time from 1850 until 2000.  The gray area is what the climate model predicted would be what happened if there were no anthropogenic CO2 levels affecting the temperature, whereas the red line shows the real temperature data recorded since 1850.

Hmm…they don’t seem to match up too well, do they?  Notice especially how the red and gray really start to diverge starting in the 1960s and ’70s.  If the two graphs matched up, we could say positively that our climate is acting naturally, without being affected by humans.  But the graphs don’t match up very well at all.

Looking at this graph, we can now be sure that whatever is happening to our climate is not natural.  Things would not be acting the way they are if it were happening naturally.  So now we ask ourselves, “What could be the cause of the sudden increase in temperatures?”

Well, to answer that question, we can create another climate model, but this time, we’ll include only anthropogenic sources of CO2.  Then we’ll take that model and see how it matches up to the real life data.

The graph is the same as the one directly above, and the only thing that has changed is the model results (the gray).  Interestingly, the gray seems to be matching up with the red a little bit more, doesn’t it?  In the first model that was made, the red line seemed to jump way above the gray line once we hit the 70s, but in this graph, the red line seems to be sitting right on top of the gray line for a good part of the graph.

So, it seems to fit that anthropogenic CO2 is causing warming.  But just to be sure, let’s look at a model that combines the data from both natural and anthropogenic CO2 sources.

Whoa!  Notice how perfectly the lines seem to match up.  This model is by far the most accurate of any of the other two.  Thus, it seems that we can accurately say that humans have caused the global temperature to go up, and that this was more likely than not caused by the amount of CO2 we’ve been releasing into the atmosphere.


These are just some of the data that are available out there.  If you’d like to learn more, I’d strongly suggest that you check out the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).  They are the major authority on climate change and global warming.  Their latest report came out in 2007, and the summary for the scientific data can be found here:

Also, if you’re a climate skeptic who still doesn’t think global warming and climate change could be possible, take a look at Grist Magazine’s guide to climate change:

Thanks!  And if you’ve got ideas for more information to add, please let me know.


Gore hits at US over climate change

By John Aglionby in Nusa Dua, Bali and agencies

Published: December 13 2007

Al Gore savaged the US government’s “obstructing” attitude and urged delegates at the UN conference on climate change to ignore Washington if necessary to pursue the “moral imperative” of a new global regime.

“My country is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” the former US vice-president told 2,000 of the 12,000 people attending the conference on Thursday. “[But] over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now.”

Global Carbon Tax Urged at UN Climate Conference

BALI, Indonesia – A global tax on carbon dioxide emissions was urged to help save the Earth from catastrophic man-made global warming at the United Nations climate conference. A panel of UN participants on Thursday urged the adoption of a tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations.”

“Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs,” Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, told Inhofe EPW Press Blog following the panel discussion titled “A Global CO2 Tax.” Schwank is a consultant with the Switzerland based Mauch Consulting firm

Schwank said at least “$10-$40 billion dollars per year” could be generated by the tax, and wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.”

The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to “contribute significantly more to this global fund,” Schwank explained. He also added, “It is very essential to tax coal.”

The UN was presented with a new report from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment titled “Global Solidarity in Financing Adaptation.” The report stated there was an “urgent need” for a global tax in order for “damages [from climate change] to be kept from growing to truly catastrophic levels, especially in vulnerable countries of the developing world.”

The tens of billions of dollars per year generated by a global tax would “flow into a global Multilateral Adaptation Fund” to help nations cope with global warming, according to the report.

Schwank said a global carbon dioxide tax is an idea long overdue that is urgently needed to establish “a funding scheme which generates the resources required to address the dimension of challenge with regard to climate change costs.”

'Diminish future prosperity'

However, ideas like a global tax and the overall UN climate agenda met strong opposition Thursday from a team of over 100 prominent international scientists who warned the UN that attempting to control the Earth's climate was "ultimately futile."

The scientists wrote, “The IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions." The scientists, many of whom are current or former members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sent the December 13 letter to the UN Secretary-General. (See: Over 100 Prominent Scientists Warn UN Against 'Futile' Climate Control Efforts – LINK)

‘Redistribution of wealth’

The environmental group Friends of the Earth, in attendance in Bali, also advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations on Wednesday.

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

A bureaucrat's dream'

MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned about these types of carbon regulations earlier this year. "Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life," Lindzen said in March 2007. (LINK)

In addition, many critics have often charged that proposed tax and regulatory “solutions” were more important to the promoters of man-made climate fears than the accuracy of their science.

Former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth reportedly said in 1990, "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing — in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."

Al Gore and “Dr Thompson’s Thermometer” #2

Yesterday, I posted up about “Dr Thompson’s Thermometer” and, thanks to CA readers, some interesting results emerged. A special thanks to Tim Lambert for spotting the provenance of Dr Thompson’s thermometer. The post today will repeat some of yesterday’s material, but will recast it, since we now understand the puzzle much better. In Inconvenient Truth, after a segment discussing glaciers, Gore stands in front of a Hockey Stick graph for the last 1000 years and tells his audience that “Dr Thompson’s thermometer” had shown the inconsequentiality of the Medieval Warm Period and, [in the book Nov 13], that “Thompson’s ice core record [was] one of the most definitive” confirmations of Mann’s Hockey Stick. [The text in the book says:]

Lonnie and his team of experts then examine the tiny bubbles of air trapped in the snow in the year that it fell. They can measure how much CO2 was in the Earth’s atmosphere in the past year by year. They can also measure the exact temperature of the atmosphere each year by calculating the ratio of different isotopes of oxygen which provides an ingenious and highly accurate thermometer. The team can count backward in time year by year - the same way an experienced forester can read tree rings - by simply observing the clear line od demarcation that separates each year from the one preceding it as seen in this unique frozen record. The thermometer to the right measures temperature in the Northern Hemisphere over the past 1000 years. The blue is cold and the red is hot. The bottom of the graph marks 1000 years ago and the current era is at the top.

The correlation between temperature and CO2 concentrations over the last 1000 years - as measured by Thompson’s team - is striking. Nonetheless the so-called global warming skeptics often say that global warming is really an illusion reflecting nature’s cyclical fluctuations. To support their view, they frequently refer to the Medieval Warm Period. But as Dr Thompson’s thermometer shows, the vaunted Medieval Warm Period (the third little red blip from the left below) was tiny in comparison to the enormous increases in temperature in the last half-century - the red peaks at the far right of the graph. These global-warming skeptics - a group diminishing almost as rapidly as the mountain glaciers - launched a fierce attack against another measurement of the 1000 year correlation between CO2 and temperature known as the “hockey stick”, a graphic image representing the research of climate scientist Michael Mann and his colleagues. But in fact scientists have confirmed the same basic conclusions in multiple ways with Thompson’s ice core record as one of the most definitive. (AIT, The Book)

[added] The transcript here (and I don’t vouch for the transcript) is a little different than the book, but clearly attributes the graphic here to oxygen isotope calculations from Lonnie Thompson:

The ice has a story to tell and it is worldwide. My friend Lonnie Thompson digs cores in the ice. They dig down and they bring the core drills back up and they look at the ice and they study it. When the snow falls it traps little bubbles of atmosphere. They can go in and measure how much CO2 was in the atmosphere the year that snow fell. What�s even more interesting I think is they can measure the different isotopes of oxygen and figure out the very precise thermometer and tell you what the temperature was the year that bubble was trapped in the snow as it fell.

When I was in Antarctica I saw cores like this and the guy looked at it. He said right here is where the US Congress passed the Clean Air Act. I couldn�t believe it but you can see the difference with the naked eye. Just a couple of years after that law was passed, it�s very clearly distinguishable.

They can count back year by year the same way a forester reads tree rings. You can see each annual layer from the melting and refreezing. They can go back in a lot of these mountain glaciers a thousand years. They constructed a thermometer of the temperature. The blue is cold and the red is warm. I show this for a couple of reasons. Number one the so called skeptics will sometimes say �Oh, this whole thing is cyclical phenomenon. There was a medieval warming period after all.� Well yeah there was. There it is right there. There are one there and two others. But compared to what is going on now, there is just no comparison. So if you look at a thousand years worth of temperature and compare it to a thousand years of CO2 you can see how closely they fit together. Now, a thousand years of CO2 data in the mountain glacier.

Readers yesterday observed the irony that the caption on Al Gore’s graphic was inverted with negative values at the top (something that was corrected in the book version.) I observed that I had examined Thompson’s ice core results and had been unable to identify any Thompson versions that corresponded to the Thompson graphic. It turns out that the Gore Hockey Stick has not derived from Thompson data at all; what it represents is a splicing of the MBH99 reconstruction (taken to 10-year averages) and a version of the CRU temperature history overlaid directly and merged with the MBH99 reconstruction. Thus the confirmation of MBH99 is ironically MBH99 itself.

Here is a closer view of Dr Thompson’s Thermometer. The Medieval Warm Period (not labeled in this version, but labeled in the book) is identified as occurring from about 1360-1370. In the DVD version, the y-axis is labeled incorrectly (it’s inverted), but the error is corrected in the book.

Figure 2. Dr Thompson’s Thermometer from Inconvenient Truth. The y-axis is labeled incorrectly here, but is corrected in the book.

As noted yesterday, the Gore Hockey Stick appears to originate from a graphic in Thompson (Clim Chg 2003) which plots the CRU temperature history and MBH99 in the same figure, shown below (rotated to match the Gore version).

Thompson et al 2003. Figure 7d. The measured (Jones et al., 1999) and reconstructed (Mann et al., 1999) Northern Hemisphere temperatures are shown in (d) and are plotted as deviations (◦C) from their respective 1961�1990 means.

While this identification is very convincing, there are still some discrepancies when you actually try to replicate the exact Gore figure from MBH99 and CRU data. First here is a plot of MBH99 zeroed on 1961-1990 as stated in Thompson et al 2003 (Gore just says “Northern Hemisphere Temperature (◦C)”. Obviously this needs to be smoothed to match Gore.


In Thompson’s ice core articles, he usually/nearly always uses 10-year averages so this seemed like a logical smoothing strategy. Here’s the result - the shape matches very well, but it looks too “cold”. In the Gore graphic, there is at least something that is slightly above the zero-line, which he sarcastically refers to as the “Medieval Warm Period”, but there isn’t anything here.


The zero-period in MBH99 is 1902-1980, not 1961-1990. Perhaps Thompson only said that the data had been centered on 1961-90, but in fact, it was really left centered on 1902-1980. Here is a plot of MBH99 in 10-year averages centered on 1902-1980 and this looks like what is used. It’s a titch too “cold” - I’m not sure why.


Now let’s try to match the CRU version. I can probably forage around and find a 2000 vintage version that will match a little better, but for now I just used the HadCRU2 version presently online. First I tried it with 1960-1990 centering (as stated in Thompson), which would be somewhat inconsistent with the 1902-1980 centering of MBH99, but we’ve seen that before. My impression was that this is a little “cold”.


So I re-centered the CRU data on 1902-1980 to match MBH99 centering ( an adjustment of 0.156 deg C) and that seemed to work better. So it looks like both series are centered on 1902-1980.


Now to splice the two series. Here’s a plot which is more or less in Gore format: this seems to get most of the details. There are a few features that aren’t matched. The CRU version isn’t exactly right, though it’s very close. I could probably match it exactly with a bit more experimenting. In a case where the CRU temperature is warm, the Gore plot overwrites the MBH99 background and I’d have to experiment a little to replicate that graphic aspect. But you get the idea.


One thing that we can say for certain about the Gore graphic is that it completely merged the proxy and temperature records, making no effort whatever to distinguish them. I observed that Michael Mann had said at realclimate:

No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum.



An INTERVIEW with Al Gore’s Climate Project

By Todd | October 5, 2007

In June 2006, Al Gore’s The Climate Project (TCP) began operations with the mission of increasing public awareness of the climate crisis at a grassroots level throughout the United States and abroad.

By April 2007, hundreds of public speakers across the U.S. had been trained to present a version of the slide show on which the Academy Award-winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth” is based.

We are grateful to have with us today David R. Fried, one of the original presenters to go through the TCP program. “David Fried is an outstanding example of the millions of Americans who have been energized by the call to action on the climate crisis,” said Al Gore.

Since completing the program David has become a sought after speaker on global warming issues, and lectures throughout southern CA and anywhere the mission takes him.

David, thank you for agreeing to share your knowledge with the We The Change audience. Tell us what was entailed to become a TCP speaker?

Most of the training consisted of Al Gore going through slide by slide the full scope of material contained in the movie (and book) An Inconvenient Truth. The course provided us with a baseline of knowledge to speak intelligently about the most pressing issues in global warming. It was VERY intense.

How much of an environmental “crisis” are we really in?

You know, one of the things we talked about is how the symbol for crisis in Chinese also stands for “opportunity”. Meaning, no matter how bad it may seem right now we still have the ability to make the necessary changes! With that said, if left unchecked there is no doubt that certain aspects of the environment are in peril. The mass introduction of Carbon emissions over the last 30-50 years has caused dire environmental consequences. If we extrapolate current CO usage another 50 years (which is like the blink of an eye in terms the “earth” time) there is no telling the environmental damage that can incur. While the change seems slow and gradual for us in our short lifetimes, it is happening at nano-speed in the earth’s timeline!


Can you briefly explain what you mean by “Carbon emissions” and how they affect global warming?

Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases.” These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely and when sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere.

Assessments generally suggest that the Earth’s climate has warmed over the past century and that human activity affecting the atmosphere is likely an important driving factor. Some of the main sources of greenhouse gases due to human activity include burning of fossil fuels and deforestation leading to higher carbon dioxide concentrations. In the U.S., our greenhouse gas emissions come mostly from energy use.


What 5 or 6 simple actions can EVERYONE do to begin offsetting damaging CO emissions?

1. Turn the lights off when leaving home—anybody can do that.
2. Shop with a cloth bag instead of using plastic bags (which use petroleum to produce)—anybody can do that.
3. RECYCLE—anybody can do that!
4. If you are a multiple car family, use the car with the best gas mileage—anybody can do that.
5. Turn your hot water heater down (or off) when not in use—anybody can do that.
6. Make sure you run full loads of laundry and in the dishwasher—anybody can do that.
Read my list of 76 things you can do and Watch (or read) An Inconvenient Truth!

These actions all come under the category of “intelligent efficiency” AND they save you money!

— Are there any beneficial web resources that you can recommend?

The Carbon Fund is a wonderful web resource that everyone should go to. On the site, you can determine what your personal carbon emissions are (based on how much you travel, where you live, etc…). And you can make contributions to offset these emissions, which I believe are tax-deductible (but check with your CPA). The funds go towards building more sustainable energy resources, and to the promotion of these practices.

Next, you can go to Arbor Day or American Forest websites and help plant trees or buy a piece of the rain forest to prevent it from being cut down. Another great thing to do is go the the EPO website and find a local energy supplier who uses green energy. Its easy and will do the environment a lot of good!

—What are the next steps for The Climate Project?

You can go to The Climate Project website and apply to become a presenter, or you can request a presenter (like me) to speak for your organization. The heart of The Climate Project lies in the commitment, dedication and passion of TCP presenters to educate, encourage and increase dialogue about the climate crisis and its solutions. SO getting more people involved is the next step for TCP, and the most crucial component of making global change!

David thank you for being here today, it has been enlightening. When it comes to the global warming issue, we really ARE the change.


UN Climate Panel to Tackle Greenland Next

800px-Greenland_scenery The award winning UN Climate Panel that took home this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (along with Al Gore) hopes to look towards the mysteries of Greenland. After three successive overall reports, released in 1995, 2001 and 2007, the panel may look towards more specific research targets.

One of these is the effect a thaw of the Greenland ice-sheet could have upon the world.

Dutch scientist Bert Metz, a senior member of the panel, said that the risks of an accelerated ice-melt in Greenland were among the unsolved issues in the most recent report. “There are still questions about the behavior of the big ice sheets, like Greenland, and the consequences of sea level rise,” he told Reuters.

One of the major issues that have recently been brought to scientist’s attention is the risk of great chunks of the Greenland ice-sheet falling in to the ocean. This poses problems unlooked for, compared to a slow melt of surface ice.

Recent research conducted in Antarctica has shown the terrible effects caused by global warming. Instead of a runoff in to the ocean the ice-melt acts like droplets of acid on paper; they work their way down through the ice-sheet and pool beneath it. This not only degrades the integrity of the sheet, but provides lubrication. The end result, as witnessed on the Antarctic Peninsula recently, is a massive break off of ice in to the surrounding waters.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel is currently awaiting the OK from their governments, for funding for new research projects. “There are voices that say we should postpone a global overview a bit and in the meantime do more focused special reports,” said Metz, who will be one of the 25 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize awarded on December the 10th.

The reports conducted by the IPCC believes that sea-levels will rise between 18 and 59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century alone, but they do not take into consideration an accelerated Greenland melt, nor a melt of large areas of Antarctica, which is much less likely.

A few years ago “we thought a thaw of Greenland might happen but it would take thousands and thousands of years — ‘this chunk of ice will melt gradually from the outside’,” Metz said. “But now the latest information is that there may be different mechanisms, of water going down into crevasses and acting as a lubricant” beneath large areas of ice, he said.

The main risk, even greater than an unexpected rise of sea levels, is the effect such an event could have on the Gulf Stream.

At the end of the last ice-age when the North American Laurentide ice sheet retreated northwards, it left behind a great pool of freshwater. This inland ocean was the formation for the Great Lakes, but not until a great majority of the water spilled out in to the North Atlantic. The influx of freshwater stopped the Gulf Stream, which caused a brief cold period for Europe known primarily as the Younger Dryas.

The threat at hand today is that an influx of low-salinity water from chunks of ice off the Greenland ice-sheet could once again cause problems for the Gulf Stream. This could create a pocket-cooling across Europe, while the rest of the planet warms.

The latest IPCC report states that such a shutdown of the Gulf Stream is “very unlikely” but that the risks beyond that eventuality cannot be confidently reckoned.

Reuters via ENN - Greenland ice could be next puzzle for U.N. panel


Joint attack on climate change and poverty needed, Al Gore tells audience at UN

24 September 2007 – A new Marshall Plan is needed to simultaneously tackle global warming and poverty, the environmental activist and former United States Vice-President Al Gore told an audience at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.

“We now face a global crisis that makes it abundantly clear that increased carbon dioxide emissions anywhere are a threat to the integrity of this planet’s climate everywhere,” Mr. Gore told a luncheon event called “Global Voices on Climate Change.”

The event, hosted by Denmark, Indonesia, Kenya and Poland, was held on the sidelines of the largest-ever gathering of world leaders on climate change.

Increased emissions are responsible for rising temperatures and rising sea levels, which combine to elevate both food and water insecurity worldwide, Mr. Gore said.

“The old divide between North and South, between developed and developing, is now obsolete,” he told the event’s participants, who included 40 heads of State or government, nine deputy prime ministers and vice presidents and 70 cabinet ministers from all over the world.

“We must link poverty reduction with the sharp reduction of carbon dioxide emissions,” he noted, calling for a plan of attack like that of the Marshall Plan, the post-World War II European reconstruction initiative of the US – to tie the struggles against climate change and poverty.

Mr. Gore also urged the completion of the negotiations for creating the successor to the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which will expire in 2012 – by 2009.

“We simply cannot wait longer,” he said, calling on heads of state to convene meetings every three months until a post-Kyoto treaty is agreed upon.

“We cannot continue business as usual,” he added. “We cannot continue at a slow pace.”


UN climate panel says emissions quotas insufficient—focus should lie on industry

The third report issued by the UN Climate Panel concludes that emissions quota trading schemes alone are insufficient to reduce greenhouse gasses by 50 to 80 percent over the next 50 years, and said instead that nations should focus efforts to develop new environmentally friendly technologies and make them marketable. Anne Karin Saether, Charles Digges, 14/05-2007

Such a scheme to develop and market these new technologies, the report asserted, should be accomplished by a series of government subsides, legislation, duties and taxes, and binding agreements.

Emission trading schemes, such as those available under the Kyoto Protocol, the Climate Panel report argues, are insufficient to stem the growth of greenhouse gases.

The Bellona Foundation is entirely in agreement with the conclusions drawn by the UN Climate Change panel in its latest report, and has long been lobbying for many of the tasks the Climate Report puts before governments in the interest of reaching an emissions free energy economy and society.

Trading schemes are typically designed to set national or business caps on greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses or nations that produce more than their allocated amount of emissions are able to purchase so called “carbon credits” from businesses or nations that are producing green house gasses below their set emissions cap.

The Climate Panel’s reports

The Climate Panel’s third report entitled “Mitigation of Climate Change” was made public on May 4th, and is one part of the panel’s four-part series on climate change issue. This most recent report discusses each emissions reduction effort currently underway in each energy sector and analyses their short term, medium term and long term Impact on the climate and society.

It also highlights each remedy that has the best record so far and thoroughly backs carbon capture and storage as an applicable technique to limit emissions.

Previous installments of the report have included the assertion, in its first volume, that climate changes are man-made. This release was the most jarring and detailed analysis of its kind to date, and followed quickly on the heels of the thunderous reaction to the British Stern Report, which had reached the same conclusion that global climate change was man-made.

The Climate Panel report’s second installment, released in April, pointed out the catastrophic consequences that climate change would have for nature and society. This, too, confirmed the findings of the Stern report, which concluded that climate change would have as devastating an impact on the global economy and society as the two World Wars.

This most recent installment from the UN Climate Panel focuses on what can be done to reduce global climate change. Its central thesis is that it is necessary to induce industry to reduce emissions—but warns that this must be done quickly.

UN warmly endorses carbon capture in third release

The first (UN Climate Panel) report was monstrously frightening,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge. “This last one shows that we can actually do something—without having to stop eating meat or go visit our grandmothers. We are especially pleased with (the report’s) wide acceptance of carbon capture and storage, which will bring us a long way down the road.”

Carbon capture and storage- long a controversial question in environmental circles—is an initiative that has long been encouraged by Bellona, as its technology is something that can be applied as an upgrade to emissions releasing plants that already exist.

Specific areas targeted

The UN Climate Panel shows there is enormous potential to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases especially within the energy, construction, industry and agricultural sectors.

The UN Climate Panel called for an increase in energy efficiency within energy production, an emphasis on renewable energy and emphasised the importance of carbon capture and storage at factories, the report said.

There are number of efforts that can be undertaken within the transport sector, starting with bio-fuels and expended public transportation, the report indicated. Despite the myriad obstacles in this sector, there are also wide and critical possibilities toward reducing emissions. Yet market influences alone, including higher fuel prices, will not yield significant emissions reductions, says the report.

As concerns construction, the report asserted, an increase in energy efficiency could critically reduce the price of emissions. Construction, said the report, could forgo more than 30 percent its emissions by applying a few efforts that would pay for themselves.

Industry, the report said, holds the most potential by upgrading ineffective industries in both poor and rich nations. Energy reclamation and carbon capture and storage in the cement, fertilizer and metal industries would be a good measure, says the report.

Subsidies demnaded for new technology
In order to enact these changes, the report conceded, expensive government subsidies must be applied, Yet the report emphasised that subsidies are critically needed to overcome barriers to implementing new technologies.

“This is in step with Bellona’s assessment—environmentally friendly fuel for cars, carbon dioxide cleansing, and solar energy are examples of solutions with big potential, but as always will not come into play without help from the authorities,” said Bellona co-chairman Marius Holm.

“These are solutions that will be expensive at first glance, but which must prevail over technical and economic barriers. Even if a method may seem expensive today, using the Kyoto Protocol as a yardstick, methods that promote totally clean energy will be cost effective in the long run.”

Carbon prices lay the foundation

The Climate Panel recommends the introduction of a “price on carbon.” This means in practice the introduction of a world-wide carbon dioxide market.

Where the Kyoto Protocol aims for reducing world wide emissions to the levels recorded in 1990 by 2012, the carbon dioxide market goes further by fixing a price tag to emissions, and pushing for a constantly lowering ceiling for emissions.

“Bellona supports the notion of a global quota system where the overall emissions ceiling gradually comes down. When all carbon dioxide emissions receive a cost, the market will trigger a large spectrum of simple and cheap efforts that will constitute large emissions reductions,” said Holm.

Holm added that Bellona was “relieved” that the Climate Panel had reached the same conclusions as the organisation, especially concerning carbon pricing and that it is not sufficient by itself to yield the desired emissions cuts.

< by itself and it won’t happen even if quota prices are high because these (new energy) solutions must gather a large momentum before they become competitive,” said Holm.

Large spectrum of methods evaluated
The third installment of the Climate Report examines an exhaustive amount of alternative energy methods for each specific energy sector.

Experience from many countries attests to the fact that all methods have their advantages and disadvantages, the report points out, and determines, among other things that direct regulations and standards could be preferable, given that sparate barriers hinder producers and consumers from reacting to price signals.

“The development of economic wealth puts the world population in a position to drive polluting automobiles, even though there is a tax levy on petrol in most countries,” said Holm.

“Even though cars will be more effective, the premium is eaten up as the number of cars grows. Therefore we are not getting around clean energy carriers for the transport sector such as bio-fuel, electricity of hydrogen.”

Commercial hydrogen before 2030
But shifting to a hydrogen fuel economy poses imposing barriers, said Holm, as both automobiles themselves and the entire infrastructure supporting them must be revamped.

Bellona is pleased that the UN’s Climate Panel has in mind that commercialization of hydrogen is possible before 2030, and that bio-fuel and electric cars are advised in the latest report, Holm added.

Norwegian example of quota vs. technolgy must improve

Norwegian researcher Knut Alfsen of the UN Climate Panel had clear advice for Norwegian authorities when the third volume of the climate report came out – concentrate on technological development, not emissions quotas.

Alfsen was one of the lead writers behind the last climate report, and is the research director at the Central Statistics Bureau, as well as a senior advisor with the CICERO Centre for Climate Change.

“Norway’s concentration on technological development is laughably small. It must in all cases double, Alfsen told Bellona Web. I am thinking first and foremost of carbon capture and storage, but we see for example that concentration on energy effectiveness is totally minimal.”

Bellona’s Hauge agreed.

“These declarations from Alfsen are in line with what Bellona has said long argued. This is something we have said ourselves,” said Hauge. “This last part of the report puts an even larger responsibility on wealthy nations. Norway is responsible for 2 to 3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the world because of our gas and oil exports, so (Norwegian) Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has a similarly large moral responsibility.”

Norwegian environmental minister Helen Bjørnøy agreed that Norway carries a large burden of emissions and therefore a large burden to reduce them.

“It is entirely necessary to do something dramatic. Domestically we have such a large share of the emissions that it is entirely necessary to get emissions reductions in our own country,” Bjørnøy said.

She added that a sector by sector report on Norway’s industry would be published in coming days, though did not speculate about precisely how the government will deal with the issues raised.

The failings of a ‘quota only’ system
Alfsen proposed that Norway, via the international plan, must seek to supplement the Kyoto Protocol with technology-based agreements, saying that a quota-based system alone would not contribute significantly enough for emissions cuts to be beneficial

The reason that various quota solutions—the very solutions that are economists’ favourites – don’t reach their intended targets is because they are voluntary, said Alfsen. Another reason is that the quota system gives investors little incentive to invest in large environmentally friendly projects for environmentally friendly technology, he said.

Anne Karin Saether and Charles Digges reported from Oslo. Marius Holm contributed to this report.


U.N. Chief Backs Gore on Climate Change

The Associated Press
Saturday, April 28, 2007
UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he intends to use Al Gore's "very powerful political message" on climate change to mobilize international awareness and political support for international action on global warming.

Ban said that during a meeting early Friday morning the former U.S. vice-president, whose climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" recently won two Academy Awards, offered to help the United Nations tackle the problem.

"He offered strong support and commitment to work very closely with me, and I am going to fully use his very powerful political message to mobilize political will and thus enhance the awareness of the international community with this issue," the secretary-general said.

Gore, who is one of voters' top choices for the Democratic presidential nomination even though he says he's not running, had a half-hour conversation with Ban. But he refused to talk to reporters on his way out except to confirm, when asked if they discussed climate change, "Of course!"

Ban reiterated that addressing the global warming problem will be one of his top priorities as secretary-general.

" I am going to take an important role in mobilizing political will in close coordination with the European Commission when I attend the G-8 Summit meeting in June," Ban said. "This will be one of the important agenda (items)."

Last month, European Union leaders promised to cut their own carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels, increasing to 30 percent if other countries _ particularly the United States _ joined them. They say this is needed to keep global temperature increases to below two degrees.

Ban commended the EU's voluntary cuts, which he called "a very important initiative with which I would like to continue to cooperate fully."


Future climate warming depends on YOU!

By todd - Posted on 05 January 2007
The models predict that this level of CO2 will produce what some call a "roasted world"There are many people that worry that we are passed a tipping point in climate, and that no matter what we do, we can no longer change the course that we are on. The bad news is that this is true, but only to a point. The good news is that our actions today will change the degree (no pun intended) of global warming that we experience.

Our climate models that are used to predict future warming have improved to the point that the greatest uncertainty in the future of this planet's climate is ... drum roll please ... us! If we continue to grow and continue to burn fossil fuels (coal and oil) at the present rates, we will quadruple (4X) the CO2 in the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels. The models predict that this level of CO2 will produce what some call a "roasted world" -- one in which temperatures reach 12-25 deg. F.

If, however, we act quickly, thoughtfully, and universally, we can reduce emissions. One of the most hopeful emissions scenarios is to only reach a doubling (2X) of preindustrial CO2 by 2100. Cutting back CO2 emissions to only reach 2x CO2 by 2100 will be extremely difficult, but essential! This scenario produces the type of warming that Al Gore speaks about. Sure, it will be terrible, but the planet will still be inhabitable.


Look at the results of a climate model with both 2X (top) and 4X CO2 (bottom) by 2100 and ask yourself if anything can be done.


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