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Climate News - 1 November 2000

Source:  Copyright 2000, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Date:  November 1, 2000
Byline:  Chad Carpenter

1) PRESCOTT SAYS FLOODS ARE WAKE-UP CALL (Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Times, London Times, Irish Times)



4) BLAIR DEFENDS GREEN RECORD (BBC News, Guardian, Independent)

























29) SALMON FLUCTUATE WITH CLIMATE (Anchorage News, Nat. Geographic)










37) MOVING BEYOND KYOTO (Brookings Institute)







The Independent

1 November


John Prescott yesterday signalled massive Government investment to cope with extreme weather conditions caused by global warming. The Deputy Prime Minister ordered an urgent review for dealing with emergencies, stressing that the severe weather had served as a "wake-up call for everyone". In his first major statement since the gales and flooding, he said that Britain's infrastructure needed a major overhaul. "We have to ask ourselves if we are doing enough to cope with the new situation," he said. "Should our power lines come down every time we have such storms? Should 1,000 trees fall across railway lines in the South-east? Should we do more to prevent flooding? Is our drainage system adequate?"

Ministers, the emergency services, and the Environment Agency would look at possible changes to improve the present system, he said. Leaders of central and local government will meet today to examine how the floods and storms were handled and see what lessons could be learnt. "Our infrastructure should be robust enough and preparations rigorous enough to withstand the kind of weather we have just experienced," Mr Prescott told MPs.

"While you cannot say any one storm is due to global warming, there is growing evidence that the pattern of weather around the world is increasingly extreme. We must take practical action so that we are prepared for a future where extreme weather events are more frequent. "This storm should be a wake-up call for everyone," he said. "We have the measures in place to deal with the immediate effects of this storm. What we need is to take a longer-term look at how we can be better placed to deal with extreme weather events, which we expect to be more frequent in future." Mr Prescott said assistance for clearing up "uninsurable clear-up costs" would be made available to local councils under the so- called "Bellwin scheme".

Each local authority was responsible for expenditure on emergency work up to 0.2 per cent of its annual budget. Above this threshold, spending was eligible for 85 per cent assistance from central government. Mr Prescott said that the Government's policy was to discourage "inappropriate development in flood risk areas," and new guidance would be issued in December. Archie Norman, the shadow Environment minister, called on the Government to re- examine its plans for housing developments in the South, warning that building the "wrong houses in the wrong places and concreting over the countryside" risked contributing to the danger of flooding.

See also--

Financial Times: e=true&tagid=ZZZPB7GUA0C&subheading=UK Irish Times: The Guardian:,3604,390846,00.html The Telegraph: &pg=/et/00/11/1/nwet01.html

Times of London:,,28297,00.html


ABC News

26 October


Oct. 26

Trying to fend off rivals on both his left and right, Vice President Al Gore is touting his environmental record and saying Texas Gov. George W. Bush will not address global warming. Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee, has been under fire this week from Green Party nominee Ralph Nader for his environmental record. But today the vice president pointed the finger at Bush, saying his Republican opponent was not committed to stopping global warming.

Stumping in Missouri this morning, Gore called global warming "a moral issue," citing a report released today by a United Nations- sponsored panel of scientists that concludes pollution has "contributed substantially" to the phenomenon. Talking to workers at a diner in Kansas City, Gore said Bush was not committed to acting in order to stop the rise in the earth's temperature. "[Bush] has said that he's not convinced that the pollution is causing it, and that he's not convinced we should do anything other than just study it - and I disagree with that." Gore said. Later, at a speech in Davenport, Iowa, Gore referred again to the study, saying it showed global warming was a more severe threat than most scientists previously believed.

"Instead of just going up a few degrees in the lifetimes of these kids, unless we act, the average temperature is going to go up ten or eleven degrees," Gore said. The vice president, author of the 1992 best-seller Earth in the Balance, has long called the environment as one of his pet concerns. But his credentials as an environmentalist have been sharply challenged by Nader. Wednesday, Nader said the "best case Al Gore has made for being an environmentalist in the campaign is that he is not George W. Bush."

Appearing on ABC's Good Morning America today, Gore responded, "where issues like the environment are concerned, I'll put my record up against anybody's." But while Nader claims Gore is not concerned enough about the environment, the Republicans are using the vice president's concerns about the combustion engine - as expressed in his book - in an attempt to persuade voters that Gore's plans will damage the Midwestern economy, home of the nation's auto industry.

A Republican National Committee television ad, released today in the crucial state of Michigan, features former Chrysler chairman Lee Iaccocca saying "Al Gore's extreme ideas about cars could cost a lot of Michigan families their jobs."

Bush Plays Leadership Card

Bush responded today with a sharp attack on Gore during a speech in Pittsburgh, charging that the vice president, if elected, would not provide the leadership necessary for bipartisan cooperation in Washington. Emphasizing one of the main themes of his campaign, Bush claimed a Gore presidency would "add four years of drift to add eight years of failed leadership." "Responsible leadership is the most important task of an American president," Bush added. "And it should be the most important question Americans ask before they vote: What kind of leader will the president be?"

Bush also claimed that Gore's campaign style demonstrated a tendency to pander, saying, "A good leader ... doesn't try to be all things to all people. He doesn't change personalities." Bush has repeatedly tried to cast Gore as a political chameleon during the presidential contest. Bush appeared at the Pittsburgh rally with retired Gen. Colin Powell, who he strongly hinted would play a prominent role in a future Bush administration.

Fast Pace

After the Pittsburgh event, Bush stumped in Erie, Pa., and continued on to Ohio, a state crucial to his hopes. No Republican has won the presidency without capturing Ohio. Gore stumped this evening in Madison, Wisconsin, another crucial battlegound. A state-wide poll released today put Gore ahead of Bush in Wisconsin, 46 percent to 39 percent, with Nader at five percent - but a different survey released Tuesday gave Bush a nine-point lead, 49 percent to 40 percent, with Nader also pulling down five percent.

The candidates, increasing the the pace of their campaigns at the close of the race, are typically making at least three stops a day in swing states. Tuesday, Gore stumped for a second straight day in Tennessee, where a September poll showed Bush with a three- point edge late last month. But Bush has also been forced to stump this week in states where he once expected to win handily, taking an all-day bus tour of Florida on Wednesday.

Bush's brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, joined him on the bus tour, as did Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Bush's principal rival in the Republican primaries. McCain's insurgent bid for the GOP nomination drew record numbers of independent and new voters, and his appearances with Bush are meant to help attract still undecided swing voters to Bush's banner. With Gore's ideological base apparently less energized than Bush's, many political observers have wondered if the vice president will appear with President Clinton on the campaign trail in an effort to rally the party faithful.

When asked by Good Morning America today about the possibility of joint appearances with the president, Gore said he had none planned. "As for campaigning, look, I'm campaigning as my own person," Gore said. "I am who I am. I'm running this race on my own vision and agenda for the future. I think that's the way it should be." But Gore added, of his two-time running mate, "He's out helping to turn out the vote." In an interview with ABCNEWS' Nightline Tuesday, Bush said a high-profile appearance by Clinton would work to his advantage, not Gore's.

"I think it would help me if the president were out," he said. "I think it would remind people that my opponent wasn't standing on his own." With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, an ABCNEWS tracking poll shows Bush leading Gore, 48 percent to 46 percent - a statistical dead heat given the survey's margin of error.

See also-

CNN: Reuters:


Japan Times

Oct. 24, 2000


A Japanese government plan to attain up to 3.7 percent of its total 6 percent carbon dioxide reduction target through forest absorption has been partly rejected, a document released on the Web site of a U.N. body showed Monday. The decision came during preparatory negotiations for a U.N. conference on climate change slated for November. The document compiled by the chairman of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, a body under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, excluded Japan's demand to reduce its carbon dioxide cut target by 0.3 percent by planting trees on land where forestry industries had cut down forests.

The paper will serve as a basic document on which discussions will be held during the Sixth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled for next month in The Hague. The conference is expected to decide on the extent of forest absorption to be included in calculating carbon dioxide emissions. Even though the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming allows developed countries to subtract carbon dioxide amounts absorbed through afforestation and reforestation conducted since 1990, only Japan insisted on including the method of artificially planting trees on cleared forest land.

Other countries were apparently concerned that Japan's proposal could lead to destruction of natural forests as it allows for the creation of artificial forests after trees are felled. Japan, which is required by the protocol to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by an average of 6 percent from its 1990 levels between 2008 and 2010, aimed to achieve up to a 3.7 percent cut through forest absorption. Exclusion of its claim from the document means 0.3 percent of the target figure will not likely be realized. As for the remaining 3.4 percent cut, Japan plans to reach the target through

additional activities such as forest management and tree planting in urban areas, according to government officials. However, many countries have expressed their preference for limiting the scope of additional activities, and it is certain that Japan will face difficulties in securing the carbon dioxide reduction goal through forest absorption, the officials said.


BBC News

24 October, 2000


The PM is calling for cleaner energy Prime Minister Tony Blair has flagged up a £100m boost for green policies as he issued a call for greens and business to work together for the good of the environment. His call came in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry and Green Alliance in which he underlined his commitment to the environment following sustained criticism that the government has failed to take green issues seriously.

Mr Blair rubbished media reports that he had intended to use the speech to attack green groups for not engaging more with the government, telling his audience: "I do not in the least intend to attack the green movement. Nor do I not think there are no votes in environmental issues." The new money is made up of a £50m "carbon trust" to encourage cleaner technologies such as like wind and solar power and £50m from the government's New Opportunities Fund to encourage research in renewable energy.

Mr Blair said

"I want to invite environmentalists and business to join me and push green issues back up the political agenda - re- awaken the challenge - and I want to do it in constructive partnership government, business, the green movement and the public.

'All talk'

Conservative leader William Hague attacked the government's environmental policy as "all talk, no action". He added that the real test of the prime minister's green credentials was not whether or not he issued speeches on the subject but rather who he favoured on issues such as protection of greenfield sites, GM crops and renewable energy. Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy dismissed Mr Blair's speech, saying it offered no new initiatives or policies. "Like so much of Tony Blair's premiership, this speech is void of any real vision or leadership," he said. "He continues to ghettoise the environment as an add-on extra rather than a central tenet of everything the government does. This is not a sustainable approach to running the country."

'Business opportunity'

The prime minister said the concerns of business and the environment could work in patrnership, insisting "we should see protecting the environment as a business opportunity - otherwise history shows us the environment risks being the loser." Addressing the charge that green priorities were not, contrary to Mr Blair's promise in opposition, at the centre of the government's agenda, the prime minister insisted "no other British government has put the environment at the heart of its affairs as we have done".

Listing environmental problems such as climate change and the destruction and natural habitats the prime minister said: "We are not going to turn this round unless we engage the whole political system." "But we are not going to engage consumers without incentives," he added. He called on business, scientists and environmentalists to form a coalition to try and harness consumer demand rather than stifle it.

'Leading the world'

Speaking ahead of the speech, Environment Minister Michael Meacher also sought to defend the government's green record, claiming it was 'leading the world'. "It has already been at the heart of Labour's policy, and you can tell that by the climate change programme, which we are going to be publishing in a few weeks time, where we are leading the world on the overarching environmental issue," he said.

See also-

Guardian:,4678,0-3 87654,00.html

The Independent: The Telegraph: &pg=/et/00/10/25/ngre25.html



October 30, 2000



The Danish Energy Agency said on Friday it was confident Denmark would meet its tough target to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 21 percent in line with a global strive to curb greenhouse gases. "We expect to reach our goal to cut CO2 emissions by 21 percent before 2012," Ture Falbe-Hansen, the agency's spokesman told Reuters. Denmark wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by 21 percent between 1990 and the period 2008-2012 in line with the Kyoto global agreement to cut greenhouse gases. It says it slashed its CO2 emissions by nine percent between 1990 and 2000.

The agency said it was focusing on reducing energy use and making it more efficient. It was also supporting a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources by not lowering taxes at times when oil prices were low. The government has invested largely in energy efficient combined heat and power (CHP) plants and supported the creation of a market for green energy such as biomass, wind, solar and small hydro power.

Denmark takes half of its electricity from CHP. Other means to reach the targets were continuing high taxes on energy coupled with a new plan to save energy in the public sector, said Falben-Hansen. "We expect the proposal for energy savings in the public sector to come into force this year," he said, adding there might also be a further increase in energy taxes. "The government is still debating whether to raise the taxes or not." Falben-Hansen said a controversial EU energy tax could help the country reach its energy goal but that the agency had not included the proposed law in its strategy. "This law was very hot in the beginning of the 1990s but it has proven difficult to reach an agreement so we are not counting on it."


Dow Jones

Thursday, November 2

Internet: /001102/asian_markets/dowjones/UN_Official___Make_Or_Break_Opportunity__To_C ut_Emissions.html

UNITED NATIONS (AP)--Some 160 countries have "a make or break opportunity" to roll back greenhouse-gas emissions that are having an impact on global warming when they meet later this month at a U.N. conference, a top conference official said Tuesday. "Unless governments of developed countries take the hard decisions that lead to real and meaningful cuts in emissions and to greater support to developing countries, global action on climate change will lose momentum," warned Michael Zammit Cutajar, executive secretary of the U.N. climate convention. Ministers and diplomats meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands, from Nov. 13-24 will decide the future of the Kyoto Protocol, crafted in 1997 at a U.N. climate conference in Japan. If ratified, the protocol would require major industrialized nations to roll back emissions of so- called greenhouse gases - principally carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels - to below 1990's levels.

Cutajar told a news conference he will consider the meeting a success if a number of key industrialized nations who are the main emitters - the U.S., the European Union, Japan, Russia, Canada, and Australia - announce that they are going to propose that their countries ratify the protocol. "I think in that list we probably have a question mark about whether the United States will do it because of political circumstances...but the others could," he said. "If it is ratifiable, that is one sign of success."

The Kyoto protocol has been ratified by 30 countries, but not by a single industrialized nation. For the targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions to become international law, the accord has to be ratified by industrialized countries responsible for 55% of the developed world's emissions in 1990. "They are all awaiting the outcome of next month's conference," Cutajar said. Critics of the treaty argue the targets can't be met without sharply higher energy prices, a view disputed by the Clinton administration and most environmentalists.

Key issues at the upcoming meeting include whether there should be restrictions on countries that want to achieve reduction targets by buying "emissions credits" from other countries, or by paying for cleaner technologies in the developing world, instead of pushing through energy-saving measures at home. Undersecretary of State Frank Loy, the top U.S. negotiator, told a Senate hearing in late September that the administration will seek approval at the meeting of a series of cost-reduction measures.

These include unrestricted trading of pollution credits among nations, broad use of forests and agricultural lands that absorb carbon in calculating pollution reductions, and an unencumbered mechanism to help provide clean-energy technology for developing nations to help them reduce greenhouse gases, he said. But while the U.S. plans to press at the negotiations for broad use of emissions trading and so-called "sinks" - forests and agricultural lands that absorb carbon - the Europeans are expected to press for limits on the use of pollution trading and how "sinks" are used in determining treaty compliance.

See also-

Australian Broadcasting:


The Age

27 October 2000


TARAWA, KIRIBATI--Global warming could cause a massive economic decline across at least 13 tiny Pacific nations in the next 20 years, a new Greenpeace report forecasts. The report, due to be released officially today, warns that if global warming continues as predicted by United Nations carbon dioxide emission modelling, the Pacific will lose most of its coral reefs before the end of this century. "Under the worst-case scenario examined, by 2020 some Melanesian nations would lose from 15 to 20per cent of their gross domestic product, valued at about $A1.9billion to $A2.3billion, while other mainly Polynesian nations are even more vulnerable and could lose between $A4billion and $A5billion due to climate change," the environmental group says. Because most Pacific island nations rely heavily on tourism and fishing, degradation of the reefs would have a direct economic impact on them, it says.

The study shows that the most vulnerable Pacific nations are Tuvalu and Kiribati, the host of this year's Pacific Islands Forum, followed by Cook Islands, Palau, Tonga and French Polynesia. Greenpeace concludes that the only way to save sensitive ecosystems is by cutting carbon dioxide gas emissions. "This report concludes that increases in ocean temperatures are causing the rise in the intensity, frequency and extent of coral bleaching," the report says. "This has enormous implications for the health and wealth of tropical and subtropical societies."

A UN-sponsored panel of hundreds of scientists has found that new evidence shows man-made pollution has "contributed substantially" to global warming and the earth was likely to get a lot hotter than predicted. The conclusions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the most authoritative scientific voice on the issue - are expected to influence climate debate over the next decade. The report's summary is being distributed to governments worldwide this week. It was the first full-scale review and update of the state of climate science since 1995, when the same panel concluded there was "a discernible human influence" on the earth's climate because of the so-called "greenhouse" effect caused by the build-up of heat-trapping chemicals in the atmosphere.


Financial Times

October 23 2000

Internet: e=true&tagid=YYY9BSINKTM&useoverridetemplate=IXLZHNNP94C

The British government has been urged by environmentalists to crack down hard on companies that seek to delay the introduction of the controversial climate change levy next spring. Friends of the Earth, the international campaign group, believes some energy intensive companies operating in the UK may try to delay the tax by prolonging negotiations for discounts. In a letter sent to Stephen Timms, the Treasury minister responsible for the levy, it said: "FOE believes it should be made very clear that sectors or companies who fail to conclude agreements promptly should be liable for the levy at the full rate from April 1st 2001, and continuing until such time as an agreement is finally reached." The letter is likely to increase strain on the government to fulfil its environmental goals while at the same time deflecting criticism from businesses that Britain is becoming less competitive.

Gordon Brown, chancellor, sought to appease manufacturers in the Budget by offering levy discounts of up to 80 per cent over 10 years for energy intensive sectors that agree to specific pollution reduction targets. However, business leaders warned in August that negotiations to agree the targets may not be finished by this month's deadline because of uncertainty over European Union approval and the government's refusal to allow more companies to make pollution-cutting deals. The Confederation of British Industry has called for a 12 month postponement of the implementation of the tax until April 2002 to allow a full review of its impact to be conducted.

Tony Juniper, policy and campaigns director at Friends of the Earth, said the UK should signal a firm line on cutting greenhouse gas emmissions ahead of international climate change negotiations in The Hague next month. "A weakening of the line by any of the European states would play into the hands of countries like the USA who are looking to fundamentally undermine the effectiveness of the Kyoto Treaty's ability to protect the global atmosphere," he said. A Treasury official said negotiations between industrial sectors and the government were "running smoothly" and that all agreements were expected to be signed in time to introduce the levy in April. "If companies do not sign by April they will automatically have to pay the full levy," she said.

See also-



Detroit Free Press

October 26, 2000


MIAMI (AP) -- Citing their responsibility as stewards of creation, church groups from Florida to Michigan to Oregon are organizing campaigns in 16 states against global warming and other environmental dangers. Religious leaders, forming the Florida Interfaith Campaign on Global Climate Change, kicked off a yearlong campaign Wednesday by signing a declaration that "global warming with associated climate changes is an inescapable spiritual challenge." Global warming is a religious issue "because climate change threatens all life on earth as God created it," the church groups said.

"Environmentalism starts with the Book of Genesis, it didn't start with Earth Day," said Paul Gorman of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, a New York group monitoring the local campaigns on behalf of Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Christian organizations. The Orlando-based Florida Council of Churches, which includes 18 denominations and almost 4,000 congregations, is among the effort's sponsors. Climate change results from human activity, such as burning oils and natural gas for energy and destroying forests, the coalition contends.

The burden of any changes from global warming would fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable people: the poor, sick, and elderly, the groups said. "If we genuinely believe in a creator God, then caring and protecting God's creation is an essential and central part of our religious life and activity," said the Rev. Fred Morris, head of the Florida Council of Churches. Organizers are educating clergy and other leaders about global warming by distributing materials to churches, mosques and synagogues so the message can be incorporated into worship and sermons. The groups have asked elected officials for legislation to help reducing greenhouse gas emissions domestically and globally and to combat air pollution. They have also demanded research seeking alternative energy sources.

Gorman said the rising tide in activism through the campaigns comes just weeks before the presidential election and an international negotiations of a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said he hopes the campaigns' message will reach autoworkers in Michigan, coal miners in West Virginia and farmers in Wisconsin.


The Journal-UK

26 October


FARMERS are spending money on reservoirs, ponds, irrigation systems and hi-tech monitoring equipment in a bid to beat the threat of climate change, according to a new survey. Nearly two- thirds of the 1,000 farmers interviewed now used water more efficiently than five years ago, said the study, the results of which were unveiled at a Commons reception by Environment Minister Michael Meacher. Almost 70pc had invested in reservoirs or storage facilities while 80pc tested soil moisture to ensure that irrigation water was not wasted. Nearly 40pc collected rainwater or recycled it for use on the farm, while more than 80pc had taken steps in the past five years to save wetland habitats on their land.

The study, to launch the Water-wise campaign by the National Farmers' Union, was produced by an alliance with the Environment Agency and green groups including WWF and the RSPB. NFU president Ben Gill said: "Farmers and growers are acutely aware of the importance of water to their industry and are key facilitators in meeting the needs of the environment. "Despite the pressures on investment they have made huge strides to ensure they are making the most efficient use of supplies.

"Our Water-wise campaign intends to build on this to ensure that this best practice becomes common practice across the whole of the industry."

The NFU is also calling on other users to take a closer look at how they too can use water more wisely, particularly in the light of increasing demands being placed on supplies and the erratic weather which may result from climate change. Agriculture and horticulture uses less than 5pc of the nation's supply for its animals, for cleaning produce and animal housing, washing equipment and irrigating crops. More than half of the total water supply is used by homeowners, with the rest used by industry.

Mr Gill added

"It is hugely important that everyone involved in water use and its conservation understands the demands placed on water supplies and works together to conserve them. Water is an irreplaceable resource.

"Farming has demonstrated it is acutely aware of the demands placed upon it and shown its willingness to do all it can to raise awareness of using water wisely. It is vital the Government encourages and supports those willing to work together."


New York Times

October 25, 2000

HOLD THE CLEAN FUEL: Nearly half of American consumers remain cool to the idea of paying more for electricity to help mitigate global warming, according to a new survey. The survey of 600 American households sponsored by Deloitte Touche found more than 33 percent were ``not willing at all'' to pay a 20 percent premium for electricity derived from cleaner fuel technologies and another 14 percent said they would rather not pay extra. The underwhelming enthusiasm for ``green'' power was part of Deloitte Touche's annual survey measuring consumer awareness of changes underway in the power industry.

The questioning was prefaced with a statement citing growing concern among scientists that greenhouse gases created from burned fossil fuels are contributing to global warming.

Fourteen percent of respondents said they were ``very willing'' to pay more for ``green'' power, while 12 percent said they were only ``somewhat willing.'' About a quarter of those surveyed were neutral on the question. ``It could be that this result shows that Americans are not yet very concerned about global warming,'' said Dwight Allen, director of energy research for Deloitte Research. ``Another way to read it is that Americans do care, but they expect government and industry to solve the problem without asking them to make sacrifices.''

Allen also suggested that low consumer interest in paying more for ``green'' power may indicate a lack of awareness about the dangers of global warming or a lack of confidence in the proposed cleaner fuel technologies.

The survey was conducted between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1 for Deloitte by International Consumer Research Inc. of Media, Pa.



November 1, 2000



U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a major part of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, increased 1.3 percent last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said yesterday. American cars, utilities and other manufacturing lants spewed an estimated 1,527 million metric tons of carbon equivalent in 1999, the EIA said in a report. Carbon dioxide comprises more than 80 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked by scientists to rising global temperatures and changes in weather patterns.

The increase of 1.3 percent in carbon dioxide emissions marked a sharp rise over the previous year, when emissions grew 0.1 percent. The increase was also more in line with rises reported throughout most of the 1990s, the EIA said. "Growth in carbon dioxide emissions could have been even higher if normal weather patterns had persisted and non-fossil fuel power generation stayed at average levels," the EIA said in a statement. Overall, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose by 0.8 percent in 1999, increasing to 1,833 million metric tons of carbon equivalent, the agency said. That increase was slightly lower than the average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent throughout the 1990s, it said.

Nearly one-third of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are produced by electricity utilities, with smaller amounts from industrial plants such as paper mills, chemical plants and oil refineries. Automobiles and trucks generate another large amount of the emissions. The EIA report also noted that U.S. forests absorb about 14 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions annually. The absorption, known as carbon sequestration, occurs as young trees begin growing on formerly cultivated land. "The process is steadily diminishing, however, because the rate at which forests absorb carbon slows as the trees mature, and because the rate of reforestation has slowed," the EIA said.

The agency said it did not have enough information to estimate carbon sequestration occurring with American farm land as growers reduce their tilling of the land. Some farm state lawmakers contend that changes in tillage practices means that carbon sequestration on farm land could be a significant way to absorb carbon dioxide emissions.

Editor's Note

the report is posted online at

See also-



Manila Bulletin

Wednesday, 25 October 2000


The government's energy conservation program, as mandated by President Estrada, is getting a big boost from the World Bank's International Finance Corp. (IFC) through the latter's Efficient Lighting Initiative (ELI) program. ELI is an energy efficiency program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It seeks to promote mass-based use of energy conserving lighting products, particularly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and linear systems, worldwide to ease ill effects of global warming. It is being implemented in seven countries, namely Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Peru, South Africa, and the Philippines.

The GEF council has approved a $2.5 million ELI Country Program for the Philippines that is being implemented by Iberpacific Inc., a joint venture of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and Spanish utility investments conglomerate Union Fenosa. Approximately, P8 million of the program fund will be used to establish an ELI lamp qualification center at the Fuels and Appliance Testing Laboratory of the Department of Energy (DoE). This is provided under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) entered into by ELI Philippines country director Alexander Ablaza with the DoE and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Under the MOA, the DoE will conduct testing of maximum 100 models of CFLs and linear fluorescent lighting products per year. It will also spearhead the crafting of a work program on the testing and qualification of lighting products available in the local market as ELI compliant. The DTI, on the other hand, will collaborate with concerned technical committees in the review of Philippine national standards for lighting products, in view of the ELI protocol.

The primary focus of ELI activities in the Philippines is the residential sector, which accounts for 29 percent of electricity use in the country. This dovetails with an ongoing government effort to reduce monthly electricity and fuel consumption in the bureaucracy by 10 percent from year-ago levels.


Russia Today

31 October


PARIS, Oct 31, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia and the European Union said on Monday they planned to forge a long-term strategic partnership to ensure energy supplies in the 21st century and avoid the kind of fuel crisis faced by Western Europe this year. After an EU-Russia summit in the French capital, European Commission head Romano Prodi told a joint news conference that a working group had been created to study boosting energy imports from Russia while investing in Russian infrastructure. "We have been involved in energy discussions in the framework of our strategic partnership," Prodi said. "It will be necessary to mobilize big economic resources" for possible investment projects in Russia.

The leaders discussed an initiative by Prodi to sharply increase EU imports of Russian fuel, mainly gas, over the next 20 years, but they reached no specific agreement on future supplies or investments. "This (project) corresponds to the interests of both the EU and Russia," French President Jacques Chirac said. "For the EU it is a question of diversifying its long-term energy sources." Russian President Vladimir Putin said the so-called "energy dialogue" covered oil, gas and electricity. "Russia is ready to make its contribution to Europe's energy security in the long- term," he said. "Energy cooperation is important and appealing for Russia because it involves attracting additional capital investment. It also allows Europe to carry out a balanced energy and pricing policy," he said. "We agreed to work at the level of experts. Every step has to be well prepared," he added.


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko told journalists before the summit that the leaders would discuss transit of fuel from Russia to Europe in general terms, without focusing on any particular pipeline project. Khristenko said many long-term gas supply contracts had already been signed for the period up to 2020 and it was now a question of implementing these deals. "The EU is worried about the structure of its energy balance and its sources. This is intensifying during the period of the energy crisis with oil prices rising sharply," he said.

"This gives rise to the view that gas should occupy a greater place in the energy balance at the expense of crude oil," he said. Putin said Russia would need at least two new pipeline routes to increase gas supplies to Europe, including one that will bypass Ukraine. Russia accuses Ukraine of stealing gas destined for Europe from a pipeline crossing Ukrainian territory. Poland has voiced reservations about allowing the new pipeline to cross its territory, saying it could harm good relations with Ukraine. But Putin said Warsaw stood to benefit from gas transit fees. "If this pipeline passes through Poland, Poland will receive a sum equivalent to USD 1 billion per year."



October 23, 2000



Rising power prices and government greenhouse actions were driving a surge in new sustainable energy projects, the Australian EcoGeneration Association (AEA) said today. The association, rebadged from the Australian Cogeneration Association to reflect its wider focus, said there were 116 committed and proposed ecogeneration projects that could deliver around 3000 megawatts additional capacity within four years. AEA executive director Ric Brazzale said the government's greenhouse gas abatement programme which provides grants for abatement projects, and the renewable energy target, which is before parliament, was triggering green project development.

"There have always been a lot of projects there but they have tended to be put off because of the low (power) pool price and some of the other impediments in the market," he told Reuters. "Of late there is a lot more effort going into it because they can see the energy price increasing and now people consider there is a benefit for reducing greenhouse emissions." Victorian wholesale spot power prices averaged A$32.65 per megawatt hour in September, up from A$18.45 per MWh a year ago, while prices for calendar 2001 have traded recently above A$35 per MWh in the over-the-counter market.

The AEA forecasts that by 2010 ecogeneration capacity should almost double to about 7,000 MW, representing about 14 percent of total installed generation capacity in Australia compared to about 7.8 percent currently. It said the sugar industry was likely to increasingly use its by-product bagasse as a power source and could account for 600 to 700 MW of new cogeneration by 2010. The AEA said its ecogeneration label covered cogeneration, heat and power generation from one fuel source; renewable power generation; generation from waste fuels such as rubbish tip methane, and local generation close to demand.

The government's renewable energy bill will require power retailers to source two percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010. The initiative reflects concern about increasing power sector emissions, driven by rising power consumption, mostly supplied by high-polluting brown-coal generation. Australia has commited to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to 108 percent of 1990 levels by 2010, but risks overshooting the target partly due to the rising generation emissions, which in 1998 accounted for about 37 percent of the total. The AEA forecasts that emissions from the electricity generation sector will rise 57 percent from 1990 to 2010 to 200 million tonnes per annum. It said the government needed to take more action to cut emissions, including starting emissions trading and making sustainability a National Electricity Market objective.



October 30, 2000



A Europe-wide exchange to trade green energy will be launched next year to meet the growing demand for power from renewable sources, said the Danish energy industry said on Friday. "Our aim is to show that it is possible to set up an international market for green power and that the administrative bit is manageable," said Hans-ErikKristensen, economist at the Association of Danish Energy Companies. The Internet-based market place Renewable Energy Certification Systems(RECS), will open in the beginning of 2001 and was formed on a voluntary basis by 50 power companies from the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. The project's backers include Danish Eltra andElkraft, Belgium's Electrabel Finland's Fortum and German utilities HEW and RWE .

The exchange will allow certificates that producers obtain for producing green power from renewable energy such as wind, solar, biomass and small hydropower to be traded. The system will be based on common rules defining green energy production and will initially draw on demand from companies to improve their environmental image, he said. "There is a demand among companies to boost their image by niching themselves as caretakers for the environment," he said. The Danish government aims to have its own green market operating by 2002 to stimulate the use of renewable energy and to cut CO2 emissions within the country.

But while the state-run scheme would be national, the RECS venture stressed the importance of having a fair competitive international market. "It would be hard for a Danish market to work because there would be too few players and the liquidity would not be that large," he said. Information about the system is available


October 26, 2000


LONDON -- BP Amoco Plc, the world's No. 3 publicly traded oil company, and Ford Motor Co. said they will give Princeton University $20 million over 10 years to study ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. BP said it will give $15 million. Ford, the world's second-biggest automaker, is donating $5 million. The gift is part of a partnership between the companies aimed at addressing concerns about climate change. Carbon dioxide is the most common of the greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming.

London-based BP said it plans to give $85 million in the next decade to universities in the U.S. and U.K. to study environmental and energy issues. In the past two years, the company has pledged $40 million to Cambridge University, $20 million to the University of California at Berkeley and $10 million to the University of Colorado at Boulder.



October 23, 2000



Sweden risks becoming more reliant on fossil fuels should it decide to phase out nuclear power in the near future, the International Energy Agency(IEA) said in a report on Sweden's energy policy on Friday. Sweden has decided to close a second reactor at nuclear power plant Barseback before 2003 provided that power consumption is cut and the energy lost can be replaced by renewable energy such as wind, biomass, solar and small hydropower.

"Should nuclear power be phased out, Sweden would have to become more reliant on imports based on fossil fuels," RobertPriddle, executive director at the IEA, told Reuters after a briefing to present the report. Sweden already imports some coal-fired electricity produced at power stations in Poland. Priddle said Sweden risks becoming too reliant on a narrow range of fuel sources by focusing so much on green energy in contrast to the rest of the world which wants greater fuel diversification to reduce their dependency on oil.

Sweden subsides its renewable energy sector which would otherwise struggle to compete with traditionally produced electricity and Priddle said he did not expect green production costs to drop soon. "There's a long way to go before these sources become cost efficient," he said. Sweden has 11 operating nuclear reactors which produce about half of its electricity. Despite government pledges to cut power demand, recent reports showed electricity use was growing strongly and that the target to replace the estimated losses of four terawatt hours from the closure of the Barseback might take longer than initially planned. LarsRekke, deputy secretary at the Industry Ministry, told the briefing the government planned to curb the rising demand by raising taxes on electricity consumption.


New York Times

October 26, 2000


Greenhouse gases produced mainly by the burning of fossil fuels are altering the atmosphere in ways that affect earth's climate, and it is likely that they have "contributed substantially to the observed warming over the last 50 years," an international panel of climate scientists has concluded. The panel said temperatures could go higher than previously predicted if emissions are not curtailed.

This represents a significant shift in tone - from couched to relatively confident - for the panel of hundreds of scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued two previous assessments of the research into global warming theory, in 1995 and 1990.

The conclusions are likely to resonate loudly next month when negotiators from most of the world's nations gather in The Hague to work out details of the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty intended to cut releases of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The 1997 treaty has been signed by more than 150 countries but has not yet been ratified by any industrialized country.

The panel, which operates under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, is spelling out its new findings in a climate assessment it began working on three years ago and which fills 1,000 pages. A summary of its findings was sent this week to governments around the world for a last round of comments before the assessment is completed at a meeting in January in Shanghai. Given the significance of issue and the disagreements over how to deal with it, there are likely to be changes before the summary and the 14 chapters of research underlying it go to print sometime next year, several scientists involved in the project said.

A copy of the summary was obtained by The New York Times from someone who was eager to have the findings disseminated before the meetings in The Hague. Many panel members said that the summary represents the closest thing to a consensus possible in science, which is generally driven more by questioning and challenges than by esprit de corps. In interviews, several members of the panel declined to discuss details of the report or the summary, saying they were not yet in their final form. But they said recent advances in the study of climate change led them to see with greater clarity the role of people in climate change.

For example, they pointed to additional temperature data gathered in the last few years, which have been substantially warmer than any similar string of years in many centuries; to improvements in computer models designed to project future trends; and to better understanding of the influence of other climate- influencing emissions, like particles of sulfates that can cool the earth by reflecting sunlight back into space. Meanwhile, they said in interviews and in the summary, evidence of increasing warming has shown up in retreating glaciers, thinning polar sea ice, retreating snow packs, warmer nights, and elsewhere.

"More and more people working in atmospheric science or on climate or ecology have had to come to grips with the fact that climate change is affecting what they're looking at," said Dr. Kevin E.Trenberth, the head of the climate analysis division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and a lead author of the panel's summary. "There is increasing evidence from many sources that the signal of human influence on climate has emerged from natural variability, sometime around 1980." The report's language is far more constrained than that, reflecting a delicate consensus that was reached only after months of debate and several rounds of comments by hundreds of scientists and government climate experts, Dr. Trenberth said.

One of its most striking findings is its conclusion that the upper range of warming over the next 100 years could be even higher than it estimated in 1995, in a worst case raising the average global temperature 11 degrees Fahrenheit from where it was in 1990. By comparison, average temperatures today are only 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they were at the end of the last Ice Age. In its 1995 analysis, the panel concluded that a worst case would raise temperatures 6.3 degrees. The worsening of the picture, ironically, is due to a projected cleansing of the atmosphere in coming decades of other emissions from fuel burning that have a cooling influence on climate - specifically the veil of tiny particles of sulfates from unfiltered burning of coal and oil that contribute to smog and acid rain.

In the last century, these sun- blocking particles probably masked substantial warming, scientists say. If they are increasingly removed as more smokestacks and tailpipes are filtered around the world, the warming from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would not be counteracted, the report concludes. Not everyone is satisfied with the document or the process that produced it. Dr. Richard S.Lindzen, a climate expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been a prominent dissenter from the view that human activity is altering climate, helped write one chapter of the assessment but is skeptical about the importance of the human contribution to any future warming.

He described the summary as "waffle words designed for one thing, to ensure that the issue remains important enough that it not be put on a back burner." Over all, he said, there is little solid evidence that any climate change would have harmful effects. Still, even Dr. Lindzen said that he felt that the human influence on the earth's climate is now established. "There has to be a human component to the change that's under way," he said. The summary itself acknowledged the need for much more research, but also laid out many potentially dire consequences if the warming even takes a middle course. Even if emissions of carbon dioxide and the other gases are sharply reduced, it said, "sea level will continue to rise due to thermal expansion for hundreds of years."

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Environmental Defense, a private environmental group and one of the authors of the summary, said it represented a balanced, sober assessment of the risks ahead. Other scientists involved in the assessment pointed out that the authors of the summary also included Dr. Mack McFarland, an atmospheric scientist at a division ofDuPont, and several other experts approaching the question from the point of view of industry. Together, they concluded that the nuanced language of 1995, which said "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate," was clearly out of date.

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Times of London

October 25 2000


HALF of the world's coral reefs will be lost by 2025 unless urgent action is taken to save them from the ravages of pollution, dynamite fishing and global warming, scientists say. Clive Wilkinson of the Australian Institute of Marine Science told a major meeting in Bali that 27 per cent of reefs, crucial nurseries for fish and important for tourism, had either died or were in serious trouble following record sea temperatures two years ago. Another 25 per cent would go over the next 25 years if existing trends continued, he said.

Dr Wilkinson, the co-ordinator of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, said that there was some cause for optimism, thanks to the new priority given to coral conservation by governments. "Until recently, governments were in denial. That's no longer the case but we have a long way to go to reverse the trend," he said.

Dr Wilkins said, however: "The climate change models suggest things are going to get a lot worse for corals in most regions." Julie Hawkins of York University said that evidence from countries such as New Zealand, where a network of marine reserves have been established, showed they really worked. They acted as spawning grounds, supplying a steady quantity of fish outside the no-take zone. She said that fishermen in southwest England were pressing for such areas.

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ABC News:


Times of London

October 26 2000


GLOBAL warming is increasing the frequency of El Niño, the vast climatic cycle that can wreak havoc on much of the world's weather systems, scientists have found. Scientists studying corals in the central Pacific have found that the phenomenon, which in strong years can trigger powerful hurricanes in the Atlantic and devastating droughts in southern Africa and Indonesia, sparking famine and fires, has increased in frequency over the past 150 years from once every ten years to once every four. Scientists have speculated that rising global temperatures, caused by a build-up of greenhouses gases, may be intensifying and increasing the frequency of El Niño years. Measurements by instruments date back only to the 1950s, however, so a team from the University of Colorado have turned to coral records stretching back to 1840.

Tiny cores, taken from the Maiana Atoll near Kiribati , have different isotope balances at different levels that reflect levels of rainfall and temperatures affecting the corals. These in turn reflect the arrival and disappearance of El Niño. The coral cores show that in the 19th century El Niño happened every ten to 15 years. Since the late 1970s it has shifted to a four-year cycle. Robert Dunbar, of Stanford University in California, writing in Nature magazine, says the shift in frequency coincided with a shift in climate during 1976 and 1977. "The northern and tropical Pacific warmed abruptly and stayed warm for the next two decades," he wrote.

The researchers suspect that the more frequent El Niños are being triggered by higher surface sea temperatures since the late 1970s, which in turn have been linked to the build-up of greenhouse gases. Dr Dunbar, based in the department of geological and environmental sciences, said further change in El Niño is likely as more carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere. "The warming and freshening of the central Pacific since the late 1970s is unique over the coral record. It seems likely that El Niño will respond to further global warming," he states.

The findings came as researchers predicted that 2000 will have been one of the hottest years on record across the globe. Phil Jones, of the University of East Anglia's climate research unit, said: "It looks like it will be similar to 1999, making 2000 the fifth or sixth warmest since 1856.

Jonathan Shanklin, of the British Antarctic Survey and one of the three scientists credited with discovering the ozone hole over Antarctica, will give warning today that global warming threatens to create a similar-size hole over the Arctic. He told BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth that the hole could certainly affect the United Kingdom, bathing it in higher levels of cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. Mr Shanklin says that the build-up of greenhouse gases is trapping the Sun's heat, making the Earth warmer, which has the effect of making the higher ozone layer colder and increasing the potency of ozone-killing chemicals that concentrate over the poles.

In non-El Niño years sea temperatures off South America are cooler than those in the western Pacific. Cold, nutrient-rich waters come to the surface off countries such as Peru and are responsible for a thriving anchovy fishery. The eastern Pacific is relatively dry and the western Pacific relatively rainy. In El Niño years there is a sharp and disruptive shift in ocean and atmospheric patterns. Trade winds relax and warm waters spread east to South America, leading to a collapse of fisheries. Heavy rainfall can also push far into the eastern Pacific triggering deluges and mud slides in South America and droughts and bushfires on the other side of the Pacific in Indonesia through to Australia.

El Niño can be followed by La Niña, or the Little Girl, in which conditions switch to a colder than normal eastern Pacific. It can trigger colder than normal winter termperatures

See also--



ABC News

27 October


WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - Now that the weather-disrupting El Niño phenomenon is gone for the moment, it's time to get ready for its return, a team of United Nations scientists is urging. The warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean in 1997-98 changed the patterns of the wind and moisture overhead, resulting in severe weather around the world. It has been blamed for thousands of deaths in storms, heat waves, fires, floods, frost and drought. Property damage was at least $32 billion. "The 1997-98 event was a wake-up call," said Michael Glantz of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "Awareness of what El Niño can do to societies and economies is now high," said Glantz, a longtime El Niño researcher and senior author of the report.

Learning From the Past

El Niños recur every two to seven years, and now is the time to prepare for the next one, he said. The new U.N.-commissioned report, "Lessons Learned from the 1997-98 El Niño: Once Burned, Twice Shy?" was being presented Friday at the United Nations in New York. It calls for a series of steps including: *Involve top government leaders early in climate disaster policy and action.

*Create regional organizations focused strictly on El Niño impacts.

*Designate funding to map the world's most vulnerable populations. *Improve forecasting of the impacts and onset of El Niño. *Educate local educators and decision-makers on how best to use El Niño forecasts.

*Develop a scientific establishment within each country to use research results from other countries.

A country needs to understand how this phenomenon affects it, how good the forecasts are and what it can do to prepare for the El Nino.

Peru a Model, Kenya Not

Glantz said Peru - where the El Niño can mean inundating rains - is a good example of what was done right in the last El Niño. The government formed a task force to coordinate activities and went to the World Bank for money to clean up rivers and canals and shore up bridges and roads. On the other side of the coin, he said, Kenya had the forecast in June of 1997 and the government didn't act on it. "When heavy rains came, roads collapsed, train routes collapsed, bridges, etc.," he said. It may be that the forecast influence of El Niño on Kenya was less clear to officials, he said, but by organizing regional groups to prepare and increasing education this can be overcome.

"It's hard, but it's not impossible," to plan for this in advance, even in poorer countries, he said. The report presents the results of a 19-month study of 16 countries and their response to the forecasts and impacts of the 1997-98 El Niño. The work focused on Bangladesh, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.


Science Daily


BOULDER -- Societal changes, much more than increased precipitation, spurred a steep rise in flood-damage costs in the United States over much of the past century, according to a new study published October 15 in the Journal of Climate. U.S. annual flood losses, adjusted for inflation, rose from $1 billion in the 1940s to $5 billion in the 1990s.

"Climate plays an important but by no means determining role in the growth of damaging floods in the United States in recent decades," write the authors, Roger Pielke Jr. and Mary Downton, both of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. Pielke and Downton examined ten different measures of precipitation. They found a strong relationship between flood damage and the number of two-day heavy rainfall events and wet days. They also found a somewhat weaker relationship between flood damage and two-inch rainfall events in most regions. However, these relationships could not explain the dramatic growth in flood losses, according to the authors.

In a series of recent articles, including this one in the Journal of Climate, Pielke, Downton, and colleagues looked at the role of increasing precipitation, population, and national wealth. They found that population growth alone accounts for 43% of the rise in flood damages from 1932 to 1997, with a much smaller effect from increased precipitation. "Most of the other 57% increase is due to burgeoning national wealth," says Pielke. Downton's work suggests that more detailed disaster reporting also contributes to the trend.

Climate scientists have observed a rise in precipitation in some areas of the United States and elsewhere over the past century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has written that a warmer climate could lead to more heavy-rain events. The Pielke- Downton paper found that flooding increases with precipitation, depending greatly on the time and location of the rain or snowfall. However, "even without an increase in precipitation," they write, "total flood damage will continue to rise with the nation's growing population and wealth unless actions are taken to reduce vulnerability."

Pielke, a political scientist, has often stated that his work "is consistent with the conclusions of the IPCC," whose consensus view is that the earth's climate is changing at least partly because of human activity. "But," he argues, "debate over the science of global warming need not stand in the way of effective actions to better address climate impacts."

"We know enough to act now," said Pielke in a recent presentation at NCAR. "We can manage spiraling flood costs without waiting for precise answers from climate change research. In this sense the debate over global warming misses the mark." Disaster mitigation policies regarding floodplain management are already in place and can curtail the rising costs, he said. Globally, between 1970 and 1995 floods killed more than 318,000 people and left more than 81 million homeless. During 1991-95 flood related damage totaled more than $200 billion worldwide, representing close to 40% of all economic damage attributed to natural disasters in that period.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.

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USA Today:


BBC News

26 October 2000


One of the three British scientists who discovered the Antarctic ozone hole says similar damage is likely soon in the Arctic. The scientist, Jonathan Shanklin, says the Earth's ozone layer is cooling, which makes its recovery more difficult. The cooling is the result partly of ozone loss itself, and also of a little- noticed effect of global warming. And although ozone-depleting gases are no longer increasing in the atmosphere, the damage is being maintained by a feedback mechanism. The ozone layer protects all living creatures against harmful ultra-violet radiation from the Sun, which in humans can damage the eyes and the immune system and also cause skin cancer.

The Antarctic is an ideal laboratory He said: "The atmosphere is changing, and one of the key changes is that the ozone layer is getting colder. "It's getting colder because of the greenhouse gases that are being liberated by all the emissions we have at the surface. "And when it gets colder, particularly during the winter, we can get clouds actually forming in the ozone layer, and these clouds are the key factor. "Chemistry can take place on them that activates the chlorine and makes it very much easier for it to destroy the ozone.

"We think that within the next 20 years we're likely to see an ozone hole perhaps as big as the present one over Antarctica, but over the North Pole." This year's Antarctic hole, the largest recorded, reached as far as the Falkland Islands and the tip of South America, where people were warned to protect themselves against the Sun. But while most of the area covered by the hole is uninhabited, a similar Arctic hole would affect parts of densely- populated Europe, Asia and North America.

Recovery delayed

The international ozone protection agreement, the Montreal Protocol, has succeeded in arresting the build-up of chlorofluorocarbons and other gases. But although that should have been enough to allow the ozone to start gradually repairing itself, recovery still appears unlikely, because of a feedback. The World Meteorological Organisation says: "Chemicals that result in ozone destruction are no longer increasing in the stratosphere, as the international controls on ozone-depleting chemicals continue to work.

Ozone loss at present affects mainly researchers "However, the continued general decrease of ozone in the lower stratosphere and the global increase in greenhouse gases are now believed to result in lower temperatures in the lower stratosphere. "These decreases in temperature could expand the period of intense ozone loss during the ozone hole period." Dr Michael Proffitt, WMO's senior scientific officer, says the ozone hole has intensified since 1995 - and something else has happened too. "During this period, the area with temperatures low enough for polar stratospheric clouds that initiate rapid ozone destruction to form during October is double that found during any earlier five-year period," Dr Proffitt said.

Warming and cooling

Put simply, the stratosphere where the ozone has thinned is able to trap less incoming UV radiation, which cools it and makes further thinning more likely. And while the greenhouse gases are warming the Earth's surface, climate models suggest they are having a corresponding cooling effect in the stratosphere. In a final confounding of ozone depletion and global warming, some scientists believe that ozone depletion is helping to offset warming lower down, masking the real impact of the greenhouse gases.


LONDON, Oct. 31

Britain issued new flood alerts across huge swathes of the country on Tuesday in the aftermath of storms across northwest Europe that killed seven people. The nation's Meteorological Office said more heavy rain was expected across southern England and Wales on Wednesday and Thursday. "This may lead to further flooding," it said.

BRITAIN SAID THE storms that blew in from the Atlantic at the weekend were the worst for more than a decade. The south of the country was brought to a virtual standstill as the floods and fallen trees shut roads, halted rail lines and wrecked homes. The fierce gales of more than 90 miles an hour and heavy downpours prompted warnings from meteorologists and environmental pressure groups that extreme weather would become increasingly common as a result of global warming.


"Dangerous climate change is already happening. The storms and floods we are seeing will get more frequent and more severe," said Roger Higman, senior climate campaigner of Friends of the Earth, in London. British insurance experts said the cost of the damage from the storms could reach one billion pounds ($1.45 billion). "We would estimate that only half the property damaged in the storms was insured," said Jeffrey Salmon of insurance assessors Salmon Associates. "At the moment we are looking at a total figure for insurance payouts of between 350 and 450 million pounds, so the total cost could well be nearly one billion pounds." The 14- man crew of the Italian tanker Ievoli Sun was evacuated by helicopter after taking on water off Brittany's Ile d'Ouessant. Rescuers spotted a pool of chemicals from the cargo polluting the waters around the ship.


The Eurostar train service, linking London with Paris and Brussels, was out of commission, and France's famous high-speed trains limped along at half-speed, as winds gusting up to 90 mph tossed trees onto highways and rail lines. Scores of flights were canceled at London's Heathrow airport - the world's busiest for international travel - and also at Gatwick outside London, Amsterdam's Schipol Airport and Paris' Charles de Gaulle. British Airways alone had canceled 66 flights out of Heathrow and 22 from Gatwick by midday. One of London's leading tourist attractions, the Ferris wheel-like London Eye on the banks of the Thames, also was shut down.


On both sides of the English Channel, history took a beating from the bad weather as thousands of trees, many of them centuries old, were blown down. At Wolverhampton in central England, the storm wrecked an oak tree that was an offshoot of one used by Charles II to hide in after a battle debacle in 1651. In central Paris, a section of roof on the landmark 19th-century Madeleine church was in danger of collapsing, Europe 1 radio reported. In the very heart of London, the winds pulled down three majestic trees along The Mall, the broad avenue leading to Buckingham Palace where so many royal processions are held. At Richmond Park, which contains remnants of a medieval forest, a 400-year-old oak toppled in the wind and rain. It was a youngster when King Charles I enclosed the 2,500-acre park within the grounds of his palace at the southwest edge of London in 1637. In Paris, city authorities closed 426 gardens and public squares, worried about debris and branches tossed by the high winds.


Hundreds of homes in Wales and the south and west of England were flooded. In the southern village of Norton Fitzwarren, more than two feet of river water poured into the Cross Keys pub, surprising patrons and bartenders alike. "One minute ... I looked out and it was pretty stormy and the next minute there was water up to the door," the pub's manager, Steve Roper, said. The wild weather spawned a pair of tornadoes, a rarity in Britain. Both hit trailer parks on England's southern coast, one in the town of Bognor Regis late Saturday and a second early Monday in nearby Selsey. Some 80,000 households in northwest France were without electricity Monday afternoon, according to the state-run electric company, EDF. The storm brought Britain's nationwide rail network to a near-standstill and also slowed road travel to a crawl. Long stretches of the M25 highway circling London were closed as drainage channels failed to cope with the sheer volume of water. Eight people - four in France, three in Britain and one in Ireland

died during the storms Sunday and Monday, mostly as a result of falling trees.

See also-



Ha'aretz Daily

October 27, 2000

Global warming has made Israel's climate more extreme - with an overall decline in rainfall, but also more instances of very heavy rainfall within a short period of time, according to a new study by Professor Pinhas Alpert of Tel Aviv University's geophysics department. Alpert's study also found that the north of Israel, traditionally the country's rainiest area, is becoming steadily more arid, while the south is becoming more temperate. Alpert's study was published in the most recent issue of Mayim V'hashkaya (Water and Irrigation), an agricultural trade journal.

According to many scientific studies, the Earth's atmospheric temperature has risen by about 2.5 degrees Celsius over the last century. This is a very significant increase, accounting for about one-third of the total rise in atmospheric temperature since the last ice age ended 20,000 years ago.

In Israel, Alpert found, this global warming has made both temperature and rainfall more extreme. With respect to temperature, he gave the example of Jerusalem: Over a 15-year period in the 1960s and 1970s, there were only four days in August in which the temperature in the capital exceeded 35 degrees Celsius. But such temperatures were registered almost every year during a 15-year period in the 1980s and 1990s. Alpert also noted that 1998 was hottest August Jerusalem had known since the Meteorological Service began tracking temperatures in 1950 (the study does not include data from 1999), and that this was true in other parts of the country as well.

With respect to rainfall, Alpert noted that there have been fewer years of "average" rainfall in the north over the last half century, and more years with either very heavy rainfall - over 900 millimeters - or very light rainfall, only 230 to 400 millimeters. There have also been fewer days of average rainfall over the last half century. Instead, there have been an increasing number of days in which there was either no rain at all, or unusually heavy rain - between 32 and 64 millimeters a day. Last Tuesday's extremely heavy rainfall - in which Tel Aviv received 101 millimeters of rain in a single day, compared to an average of 36 millimeters for all of October - is an example of this phenomenon.

Alpert noted that similar climatic behavior has been observed by researchers in other Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, Spain and Tunisia. In contrast, countries in the temperate zone, such as central and northern Europe, have been become wetter rather than drier as a result of global warming.


Daily News-Sri Lanka

30, October 2000


DHAKA, Sunday (AFP) - Frequent natural disasters and the return of diseases previously eradicated in Bangladesh are the results of global warning, experts say. A study by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) showed an "alarming" rise in sea levels of "up to 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) at some points in some countries, including Bangladesh," Abdul Musawwir Chowdhury, of the government's Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation (SPARRSO) told AFP.

"This is very serious. A study of 40 years of rain patterns also indicated that there has been an increase (in rain) and also a break from the regular pattern -- causing untimely floods." The recent severe flooding in southwestern Bangladesh could have been the result of global warming, which brought more rain to the upper catchement area, leading to an overflow, Chowdhury said. "There is also a suspicion now that the return of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, once eradicated in Bangladesh, along with dengue fever might be linked to this weather pattern as more rains and moisture help breed mosquitos," Chowdhury said.

Bangladesh, with a population of 120 million living on 147,570 square kilometres (59,028 square miles), is located to the north of the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean. Its coastal area comprises 2.85 million hectares (7.6 million acres) and its coastal length is 200 kilometres (120 miles). "Countries like Bangladesh have no choice but to adapt to the weather changes being brought about by global warming," said Mozaharul Alam, an expert on global warming, working with the private Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS).

"An adaptation fund has to be created by the international community because countries like Bangladesh would need funds to adapt to climatic changes," he added. Some reports have indicated that cyclone and flood-battered coastal districts and scores of low-lying off-shore fishing and farming islands, home to one- quarter of the nation's population, were being slowly swamped by sea water. Alam said it was universally agreed that Bangladesh was extremely vulnerable to climate change and stood eventually to lose 17 percent of its land mass.

"So far there has been no comprehensive study on the effects of global warming in Bangladesh and thus it is difficult to pin-point a visible example, but floods in southwestern Bangladesh in September-October were very odd and could be linked to this weather phenomenon," he said. Alam suggested global warming could thaw the icy mountain-tops of the Himalayas, from where the melted waters would flow down through Bangladesh to the sea. Despite little scientific evidence linking global warming to floods, what was noticeable, Alam said, was "the propensity, intensity and increase in the frequency of natural calamities."

"There is also an impact on health like the increase of vector- borne diseases," he said. SAARC groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.


October 27, 2000


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- With drought devastating Horn of Africa countries at regular intervals, a U.N. agency said it was time the world devised a strategy for chronic food crises that strike 70 million people at least once a decade. Even in "normal" years, countries of the region are desperately short of food, with two-thirds of Ethiopian children stunted and one out of every five children in Somalia dying before their fifth birthday, says the report to be released on Friday by the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The nations analyzed by a task force from several U.N. agencies include Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia -- all of whom have been involved in wars in the last decade. Next on the list is Kenya, followed by Uganda, Sudan and Djibouti. "The world produces enough food to feed all the people who inhabit it -- and it could produce even more," said Jacques Diouf of Senegal, the FAO's director- general, who is presenting the report to his counterparts in other U.N. agencies.

"While we cannot make hunger disappear overnight, it was my conviction that the goal of a hunger-free world can be achieved some time during this century," he said.

Apart from southern areas of Uganda and Kenya, the highlands of Ethiopia and parts of Sudan, most of the region has low and unreliable rainfall with 67 percent of the total land area classified as arid. Because of a growing impoverished population competing for scarce land resources, even relatively small cuts in food production can have devastating effects, the report said. The region has also suffered from wars, most of them civil conflicts, over the last 30 years, especially in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Uganda. Consequently these states devote up to 50 percent of their revenues and up to 8 percent of their gross national product to the military expenditure. In 1997 the figure was $2 billion, the FAO said.

The report outlines a variety of strategies, beginning with projects proposed by community leaders and local authorities. These would be followed by infrastructure improvements by the central government, increasing grain reserves and earmarking funds to deal with anticipated food emergencies . The programme would include early warning systems for approaching famines, with rich nations offering relief "in ways that help kick-start recovery," the 88-page report said. Since 80 percent of the poor people in the region make their living from agriculture, the first priority would be to boost production and then to diversity the economy so some farmers could find other ways to make a living.

No price tag was put on the project, envisioned to take over 10 years, but initial plans could be formulated in the middle of next year. Funds, the report said, could come from grants and concessional loans. "Transforming the prospects of the Horn of Africa requires a long-term vision, with plans that could extend for 10 years or more. But work needs to start quickly," the FAO said.


Anchorage Daily News

October 27, 2000


Alaska salmon runs appear to flourish or struggle in direct relation to climatic warming and cooling, according to a group of scientists who managed to trace some of the state's red salmon returns back 300 years. The findings, published in the journal Science, could have broad implications for future management, said lead researcher Bruce Finney of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Finney is trying to track salmon returns thousands of years back to a medieval warm period when the Vikings flourished in Greenland.

The strength of Alaska salmon runs then could indicate what might happen if global warming continues. Research indicates Alaska salmon do best in periods of relatively high temperatures and fade in cooler periods, Finney said. But none of the warm periods in the past 300 years were as warm as what is projected. The 300 years of data, he said, "are biased toward a cooler than average period." At the moment, however, the North Pacific Ocean seems to be headed into another cool period projected to continue for some time. Finney said his research with four Canadian colleagues hints that failing salmon runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers could be linked to that cooling.

If that is the case -- and Finney notes that there are no concrete data on the subject -- the Yukon and Kuskokwim drainages could be in for years of weak salmon runs. Fisheries managers can do little to fix the problem, he said, but they could make the situation worse by allowing too much fishing. That's what happened at Karluk Lake on Kodiak Island starting in the 1880s. A system that once produced up to 4 million salmon a year for commercial fisherman dwindled to just 100,000 salmon per year. Before the start of commercial fishing there, Karluk returns fluctuated in sync with long climate cycles, increasing with warm periods in the late 1700s, mid-1800s and declining in between.

"The prominent decline . . . in the early 1800s coincides with the period of the coldest sea surface temperatures and coastal air temperatures for the past 250 years," the scientists reported in their paper. As temperatures rose late in the 1800s, the runs bounced back only to be disrupted by commercial fishing. "After inception of commercial fishing on the Karluk system in 1882," according to the study, "the production of (red) salmon declined; total production averaged more than 2 million fish until about 1910 and about 500,000 fish in the 1970s."

Finney and researchers from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and the University of Toronto believe that too few adult salmon got back to the lake to spawn, die and fertilize the waters with their rotting carcasses. This happened on the major lakes of Kodiak Island, which are small enough to maximize the importance of rotting salmon carcasses. By contrast, the lakes that support Bristol Bay red salmon runs are so sizable that rotting carcasses have less effect. Red salmon became the subject of the study after Finney realized the nutrients those fish gather in the ocean could be tracked back to freshwater by measuring a stable nitrogen isotope in lake sediments.

Red salmon spawn only in systems connected to lakes. Some of the fish spawn in the lakes, but most pass through to spawn in tributaries. After fish die, the decomposing carcasses wash back into the lakes, becoming a huge source of nitrogen fertilizer. By analyzing core samples from lake beds, scientists were able to get a yearly look at the nitrogen deposition from the rotting carcasses. More nitrogen means more rotting carcasses. Other physical markers, such as ash deposited by volcanic eruptions, helped set a date for the mud layers.

Over the past 20 years, nitrogen levels stabilized as state biologists tried to stabilize annual spawning returns. Before the 1970s, however, the runs yo-yoed through time. The researchers took the peaks and valleys of those runs and compared them with recorded climatological data. The correlation became clear. Finney believes the patterns he detected will clarify further as scientists trace salmon runs back another 7,000 years. They already have the lake core samples to do that.

"We have gone much farther back," he said. He notes that the Little Ice Age and other significant climate shifts are evident in the ancient data but smaller blips in the weather are also visible. Along with looking at Alaska, the scientists are trying to expand their work into Canada and the Pacific Northwest to track a postulated link between improving Lower 48 salmon runs and weakening Alaska runs. The theory is that in periods of global warmth Alaska salmon runs flourish while Lower 48 runs struggle. In periods of global cooling, the opposite happens. "That's a really tricky one," Finney said, noting the difficulty of studying the interactions in extremely complex ocean ecosystems. "We don't know enough about how the ocean really works," he said. "I don't think it's the temperature that really drives it" but factors related to the temperature.

Even if the complex puzzle of the ocean isn't solved for centuries, it's clear that overfishing can depress salmon runs, Finney said, and sound management can help rebuild them. "What the study shows is that populations did go up and down naturally," he said, "but it's not disheartening." State salmon managers should take climate and lake-nutrient levels into account when setting goals on how many salmon are allowed to spawn, he said. And adding nitrogen could help red salmon systems where the lack of carcass nutrients have depressed lake productivity.

See also-

National Geographic:


BBC News

1 November 2000


A report on how Europe's climate may change by 2100 suggests the impacts will vary starkly between regions. It expects more flooding in northern countries like the United Kingdom, which is still affected by the October storms. By contrast, parts of southern Europe may warm so much that their tourist industry suffers. And more than half of all Alpine glaciers could disappear this century. The report, funded by the European Union, is Europe's contribution to the third assessment of global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is to be published in mid-2001.

Worse for south

It is the product of the Europe Acacia project (A Concerted Action towards a Comprehensive Impacts and Adaptations Assessment for the EU). The report concludes that:

annual European temperatures will warm at a rate of between 0.1 and 0.4 degrees Celsius each decade

cold winters will become much rarer by the 2020s and almost non- existent by the 2080s

by then, almost every summer will be hotter than the hottest summer experienced once a decade at the moment

rain and snowfall will increase in northern Europe by between one and two per cent each decade, while southern Europe will experience rather smaller decreases

global-average sea rises by the 2050s will amount to somewhere between 13 and 68 cm

southern Europe will come off worse than the north of the continent.

The report also says "it is likely that intense precipitation events will increase in frequency, especially in winter." It expects an increase in the risk of summer drought in central and southern Europe, and thinks it possible that gale frequencies will increase. It says the mean annual temperature in Europe had already risen by about 0.8 degrees C during the 20th century, with 1990-99 the warmest decade recorded. Since 1900 precipitation over northern Europe has increased by 10 to 40%, while parts of the south have dried by up to 20%. And since the early 1960s, the average growing season has lengthened by about 10 days. The report also warns that the gulf stream faces risks associated with warming temperatures that might lead to its slowing down and possibly to more radical climate change induced by shifts in the thermohaline circulation. Other probable consequences of changing climate foreseen by the report include both an increased flood risk and more severe water shortages; more avalanches and rockslides; and poorer soil quality. It says fewer tourists may be willing to risk Mediterranean heatwaves or unreliable Alpine snowfalls, and so northern European tourism could grow.

Some will gain

There could be greater risks to human health, in some cases from the spread of pests, and possible extinctions of wild species. But the report makes it clear that there will be gains as well as losses. Although more energy will be needed for cooling, less will be used in heating. The net productivity of ecosystems and of most crops is likely to increase, and northern Europe's commercial forests will grow faster. Transport will face problems, but will gain in western Europe from a reduction in frost and snow. Demands on the insurance industry will rocket, but the report says it can go a long way to adapt.

Storing up change

It says global warming has major implications for Europe's policies of development and environmental management. The lead author of the report is Professor Martin Parry, director of the Jackson Environment Institute at the University of East Anglia in the UK. He told BBC News Online: "We need two strings to our bow in tackling climate change. "Not only do we have to bring down emissions of greenhouse gases. We also have to put our energy and imagination into adapting to what it brings. "All the evidence is that climate change is stored up in the system, whatever we do about emissions."



The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has unveiled an environmental report the provides international investment agencies and investors with the baseline data about carbon dioxide emissions they need to undertake economic development that protects the environment and the global climate. OPIC President and CEO George Munoz said the report will challenge other investment agencies, as well as the private sector, to harmonize their environmental strategies, by reporting on emissions from projects in their own portfolios, and urging them increasingly to consider renewable energy sources. An independent review of the report by a Tufts University academic said that OPIC could "help establish a standard for others to follow" in that regard. The report, "Climate Change: Assessing our Actions," found that OPIC's power portfolio was driven by lower-carbon emitting fuels and is not a major contributor to climate change. Visit OPIC on the web at .


The Global Climate Coalition has unveiled a newly designed web site at , aimed at offering more information and easier access to users. The new site will feature daily updates from the sixth Conference of the Parties (COP) and has special sections for a number of important GCC projects like its 21st Century Climate Action Agenda, a summary of GCC goals, objectives and common sense solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. It also features GCC's annual Inventory of Voluntary Actions, a summary of activities and actions already reducing greenhouse gas emissions at GCC members' companies.


Germany's Federal Cabinet has agreed on a national climate protection programme designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) in Germany by up to 70 million tonnes by 2005. This reduction is necessary if the Federal Republic of Germany is to meet her international obligations on climate change prevention. In 1995 Germany pledged at the Berlin climate change summit to achieve a 25 percent CO2 emission reduction by 2005 from 1990 levels. This target was reaffirmed by the Federal Government in 1998.Of the 50 to 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the discharge of 5 to 7 million tonnes is to be avoided alone by energy efficiency measures to upgrade existing buildings. Policy measures in the transport sector are expected to save a further 15 to 20 million tonnes of CO2. In addition, the Federal Government has reached agreement with German industry on voluntary commitments to bring down CO2 output by a further 10 million tonnes by 2005, and to tackle the emission of six greenhouse gases with a scheduled 10 million tonnes reduction by 2012. For more information see:


The European Parliament, on October 26, adopted resolutions on its position on climate change. In its resolution on the European Commission's strategy for COP-6, the Parliament reiterates its view that the Protocol mechanisms should be supplementary to domestic actions and calls for a cap of no more than 50 percent on use. Regarding the sinks issue, the Parliament considers it is necessary to be "very cautious about including greenhouse gas sinks among ways of complying with reduction obligations." It also calls on parties to ratify the Protocol in time for the Rio+10 conference in 2002. For more information see: 000-10-26en.doc&LANGUE=EN



Financial Times

October 23 2000

Internet: e=true&tagid=YYY9BSINKTM&useoverridetemplate=IXLZHNNP94C

By William Antholis and Daniel Benjamin

In London, Paris and Berlin, governments have been licking the wounds inflicted by the recent oil protests. The governments survived the demonstrations but efforts to stop global warming - in particular the Kyoto Protocol, keystone of the inter-national community's efforts - may not. The reason should be obvious: European Union negotiators have got themselves into a corner by banking on future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved by escalating energy taxes. Occupying the moral high ground, the EU has used these policies as a cudgel, accusing the US of evading its global responsibility by proposing open trading of emissions allowances, whereby countries that do not use up their quota of emissions can sell the remainder to others.

With negotiators set to reconvene at the Hague next month to decide rules for administering and enforcing the Kyoto pact, this greener-than-thou pose can no longer mask the lack of deep public support for the EU's position. The oil protests have made it embarrassingly clear that the EU has overestimated the mandate from its citizens to fight global warming by means of higher energy taxes. Consider what leading EU countries have in mind: will Gerhard Schroder, German chancellor, really fulfill his pledges to nearly to double the price of diesel and petrol over the next decade? Will Tony Blair, UK prime minister, stand by the "climate change levy" on electricity, due to go into effect in April during the run-up to a general election?

Unless the EU reconsiders its position, a pyrrhic victory awaits: the EU will get the treaty sought at Kyoto, ratify it, but be unable to implement it. The EU will also ensure that a sceptical US Senate washes its hands of this diplomatic exercise: what the EU has never understood is that the heavily restricted trading it advocates is not a bitter pill for the US to swallow; it is impossible to swallow. The Europeans can still save the protocol but they need to swallow their pride on the issue of restricting emissions trading. Two recent studies by the Pew Centre on Climate Change underscore this conclusion. One shows that four out of five EU countries studied - Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain

cannot meet their Kyoto commitments without unrestricted emissions trading. The other demonstrates that trading can help the EU cut costs associated with emissions reductions by as much as half. This may not satisfy green hardliners but it will give EU countries a chance to comply with Kyoto. It will also make cutting emissions more cost-effective.

If no agreement is reached, and both the US and the EU fail to meet their Kyoto obligations, other countries will draw the inevitable conclusions about their responsibility to cut emissions. If the EU and the US can find common ground, each side may learn vital lessons for future action on global issues.

First, both need to tackle the "democratic deficit" they face. Each side needs to redouble its public education efforts if citizens are going to make sacrifices to cut emissions. Europe needs to broaden consultations beyond back-room politics. Until now, debate has been stifled and European governments have not made a priority of honestly explaining the steps ahead. By contrast, the Clinton administration has recognised the need to build public support for such a complex undertaking and has developed an environmentally sound and politically feasible approach to cutting emissions. But the Clinton administration and any successor have a long way to go before the treaty can be submitted for ratification. The US is the world's largest greenhouse gas producer. Its executive branch must continue to develop backing for domestic reductions, even if Congress refuses to do so. The next administration must also have the courage to confront head on the most damaging demand of a unanimous Senate resolution on the climate treaty: the unfair insistence that all developing countries take on immediate binding commitments.

The US is right to suggest that both industrial and developing countries have much to gain from emissions trading, since reductions are significantly less expensive in less developed nations. But demanding immediate commitments from poor countries is myopic at best. The larger lesson is that both the US and the EU need to prevent global negotiations from becoming exercises in political gamesmanship. Europe has often cast the US as irredeemably wasteful, for example. The US and the EU will be better off if they resist the temptation of easy grandstanding. The road to the future is paved with such negotiations, whether in talks over agricultural subsidies or over genetically modified organisms. Leaders may even reap the quieter benefits of strengthened legitimacy if they use such negotiations to deliver results instead of political theatre.

Mr Antholis is a resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Mr Benjamin is a senior fellow at The US Institute of Peace. Both served on the US National Security Council staff until last year


Oct. 23, 2000


By Arthur Allen

It's the new millennium, the earth is burning up, you're a green- minded citizen and you're worried, because nobody -- not even Al Gore -- seems willing or able to do anything about it. But if you're concerned about how your presidential vote will affect the situation, you might try to think like John Passacantando, the new director of Greenpeace. Passacantando doesn't care who becomes president because when it comes to the environment he doesn't think it will make much difference. His new strategy for Greenpeace is to bypass the political process altogether and target corporations instead. He wants to hit them where it hurts the most: brand identity.

"Corporations spend millions of dollars on their reputations in the market," says Passacantando, his feet propped on a picnic table during a Greenpeace retreat in the forested mountains of western Maryland. "They want to be considered sexy and attractive. And we're going to go after that identity." Passacantando is one of a new breed of environmental activists. After eight disappointing years in which the first openly environmentalist occupants of the White House did little to brake global warming or advance the cause of other ecological issues, the locus of "green" activism has shifted from the world of policy and politics to corporations -- their boardrooms and the streets outside them, and the intangible space where their images are formed.

The opposing aspects of this trend were visible this week, when Environmental Defense, a buttoned-down, lawyer-led Washington group, announced it had arranged a partnership with seven multinational corporations that promise to substantially reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A few blocks away, at Greenpeace USA's new headquarters, militants held a welcoming party for Passacantando, the energetic new executive director of the group, which has fallen on hard times in the past several years, with declining membership and a distinctly lower public profile. Passacantando was the first person arrested at the anti- globalization protests outside the gathering of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- he'd chained himself to a truck. In the same vein, at Greenpeace he's promising lots of direct action against global corporations -- shareholder protests, student disinvestment campaigns, street theater.

In the closing days of a presidential campaign that pits a governor who doubts the science behind global warming against a vice president who believes it but whose record indicates he can't or won't do anything about it, many environmental activists seem increasingly indifferent to the traditional political game. Some halfheartedly support Gore, while others are lending their support to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader even though they recognize his campaign as a lost cause. And many are simply sitting out the process entirely. When the Sierra Club endorsed Gore in July, it declared that support for him within the organization was "overwhelming." But the press release announcing the decision also revealed that while 39 of the group's chapters voted to endorse Gore and only one voted for Nader, 16 chapters did not even bother to respond to the national office's six-month effort to survey membership opinion.

The reason for that indifference, says Passacantando, is that environmentalists now recognize that politicians are often just middlemen in effecting social change. "Given the power of the global corporations, whether on trade or environmental issues, increasingly you have to take it straight to their brand identity in the marketplace, as opposed to going to politicians who act as their surrogates at one remove," Passacantando told Salon. "They spend millions of dollars creating a brand image; they know it's possibly the most valuable thing they have. There's no point in writing your congressman if he already gave up his power to some agency called the World Trade Organization."

Although Environmental Defense's tactics and philosophy are as restrained as Greenpeace's are flamboyant, Sarah Wade, the economic analyst in the group's Washington office, agrees with Passacantando that the corporate world, rather than the political process, is the most effective current focus of activity.

"On climate change," she says, "there's just not a lot of opportunity to work with the government right now." The Republican-controlled Senate has blocked initiatives the administration has pushed, she says -- most notably the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for the United States to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2010. This political deadlock has disgusted and frustrated many environmentalists who took Al Gore at his word when he campaigned in 1992 on a platform of radical environmentalism. At a time when the scientific consensus in support of global warming was far weaker than it is today, Gore took the Bush administration to task for failing to slow the greenhouse effect and boldly called for new taxes and government programs to stop it. His book, "Earth in the Balance," posed such a deep philosophical challenge to the American way of life that even neo-Luddite Jeremy Rifkin, the diehard opponent of genetic engineering and other new technologies, termed it "revolutionary."

But while Clinton and Gore stood their ground against attempts to overturn basic clean air and water rules, pushing for new regulations was a low priority. Giant fleets of gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles zoomed onto the highways through a loophole in car-emission standards that the administration did nothing to close. While Motor City enjoyed subsidies for developing improved engines that have yet to make it to market, solar power got less attention than it had under President Bush. And with zero support for the Kyoto treaty in the Senate, the administration ended up undermining it -- the very thing Gore had lambasted Bush the elder for doing to the earlier Rio treaty, which had set the world on the path to cutting greenhouse gases back in 1992.


Brookings Institute

Policy Brief #66-October 2000


by Warwick J. McKibbin

In November 2000, just after the presidential elections in the United States, negotiators will meet in The Hague at the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By then, it will have been almost three years since the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change at COP3, which was held in Kyoto in December 1997. Intense negotiations over the intervening period have focused on how to implement the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been signed by 84 countries but not ratified by any of the key countries, and ratification does not appear to be imminent, especially in the United States, where the Senate has registered its strong opposition.

Why has it been so difficult to take the next step of implementing the Kyoto Protocol? The simple answer is that mechanisms within the Protocol are too complex and require too many new institutional developments to be plausible. The fundamental answer is that the Kyoto Protocol is never going to work because it is the wrong approach to tackling the climate change issue.

The core issue about climate change is how to design a policy response in an environment of considerable uncertainty. There is enough evidence and professional expertise to suggest that climate change could be a serious problem. What is required is an insurance policy against the possibility that climate change could be very costly to the planet. The key question is: how much insurance is needed, given the current state of our understanding? The answer is that we don't really know what price we should pay now. We also don't know by how much nations should reduce carbon dioxide emissions or how quickly. Nonetheless, the Kyoto Protocol consists of a specific set of targeted reductions in emissions: 5.2 percent for Annex I countries, relative to 1990 emissions, between 2008 and 2012. Annex I countries, which are listed in Annex I of the UNFCCC, are essentially industrialized economies and include several countries that were part of the former Soviet Union which are in transition to market economies.

The target was set even though the negotiators had no way of knowing how costly it would be to attain. Understandably, countries are reluctant to implement a policy that could potentially be very costly and whose benefits are uncertain. Although there is some flexibility built into the Protocol to smooth costs across countries, the total cost results from the overall targets. More importantly, only a subset of countries are part of the agreement and those countries are expected to create new international institutions and laws that can accommodate the various mechanisms at the foundations of the Protocol. The most problematic are international trading of emission permits, which requires a system of monitoring and enforcement that is unlikely to be feasible in the near future, and the Clean Development Mechanism, which requires detailed and costly evaluation of carbon-reducing investment proposals in developing countries on a project by project basis.

Solving the Problem

So what can be done? A number of realistic proposals have been made. One, from Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental research organization, would place a cap on the prices of emission permits that each nation would issue. This would guarantee that the cost of implementing the Protocol would not exceed a set level. An alternative is the McKibbin-Wilcoxen (MW) Proposal, devised by the author and Peter J. Wilcoxen, a professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. It proposes a fundamental re-thinking of the approach embodied in the Kyoto Protocol-fixed targets and the international trading of emission permits. Both proposals have evolved over time and can be considered "early action policies," while countries still attempt to solve the problems with the Kyoto Protocol. This brief lays out the key features and advantages of the MW proposal and its attractiveness as an early action policy.

The McKibbin-Wilcoxen Proposal

Rather than centralize the process of reducing carbon emissions and creating new international institutions, it is better to coordinate responses across countries (what Richard Cooper of Harvard calls an approach of agreed actions) in an explicit way so that each country would pay the same price for emitting carbon. Furthermore, it is appropriate at this stage to create property rights over emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels only. While it would be nice to include alternative gases and sinks as part of a policy, as in the Kyoto Protocol, it is an administrative nightmare to deal with them in the near term and adds enormous complexity to the task. In the future these could likely be added without compromising the system.

The key innovation of the MW proposal is that it would create two emissions-related assets and associated markets for both in each country. The two assets are designed to set a long-term goal for emissions and limit the short-run costs. Fortunately, the two markets also would create a mechanism for managing risks associated with climate change policy within each economy so that little else would need to be done to implement a consistent and simple market-based approach to tackling the climate change issue.

The first asset is an emission permit. This certificate would entitle its holder to produce one unit of carbon per year. Each permit would have a date stamp and be valid only in the year issued. The second asset is an emission endowment, which is a certificate that would permanently entitle the holder to an annual emission permit. The emission endowment is like a government bond, or like stock in a corporation, while the emission permit is the dividend the corporation pays each year to people who hold the shares. The stock value is the expected value of future dividends.

There is a critical difference between the two asset markets. The endowment market would be one in which the supply of carbon is fixed (the goal of policy) but the price is flexible. The government cannot issue more endowments after the initial allocation but can buy back endowments in future years if the target for emissions is to be tightened. Because the endowment is perpetual, its price would reflect the expected future price of emission permits in each year (which is analogous to the relationship between the stock price and the dividends of a company).

We treat the market for emission permits-where the price is fixed, but the output of carbon is variable-quite differently because the permit market is directly related to the short-run cost of carbon. Every ten years, there would be a negotiation between all countries in which the price for emission permits is agreed to and fixed for the next decade. The price of permits would be fixed in each economy by governments selling additional permits into the market after the permits generated by the endowments have been fully utilized. Thus, a producer that wants to produce a unit of carbon for domestic use can get a permit in a given year by either having an existing emission endowment, purchasing an emission endowment in the endowment market (sold by another private holder of an endowment), or purchasing an emission permit in the permit market that is either supplied by a private owner of a permit or the government.

We propose that the initial price of the annual permits-which would determine the marginal cost of emitting carbon-be set at $10 (U.S.) per ton of carbon, in 1990 dollars. The price would be the same in all markets in all participating countries, and thus the cost of removing carbon at the margin in each economy would be identical in the short run. No complicated system of international trading in permits or global monitoring would be required- addressing a central flaw in the current Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, the value of permits in the United States would not depend on how permits are generated in other countries.

In contrast, the price of endowments would be flexible, reflecting the outcome of market forces, the period of fixed permit prices in the near future, and the expectations of private actors as to what is likely to happen after the current negotiation period. In making spending and investment decisions, industry and consumers would be expected to respond to both the short-run price signals- which are known for ten-year periods-as well as the long-run price signals, which are market determined. The purpose of separating the endowment market from the emissions market is to ensure that, over the long run, emissions do not exceed a given limit. The annual emissions permitting process cannot accomplish this objective since it operates on the basis of a fixed price (the emissions fee), not a fixed quantity.

The initial allocation of endowments would be up to each government. We propose giving a significant portion to fossil fuel industries as compensation to shareholders for the capital losses of significant structural change that would result from raising carbon prices, and to galvanize support for the policy. We also would allocate a portion to every person in the economy. The initial allocation of endowments would create a natural constituency supporting climate change policies because the value of the endowments in future years would depend on the commitment of the government to pursue sound environmental policies. This would create a mechanism for enforcement of the agreement that is exclusive to each country.

How Can Developing Countries Be Induced To Participate? In discussing carbon emission reductions, it is important to distinguish between Annex I countries and developing countries. Failure to do so would unduly inhibit the growth of the developing world and would not attract their support for a global system that is absolutely crucial for a successful policy. Accordingly, it is appropriate in the case of Annex I countries to use the Kyoto targets as the endowment allocation within each economy. For developing countries, however, it is only reasonable to allow endowments far in excess of current requirements (the precise levels being subject to international negotiation). With endowments greater than requirements for permits over the next several decades, the price of permits in these countries would be zero, and thus there also would be no short-run costs. In contrast, the price of endowments in developing economies would be positive, since the price would reflect the expected future price of permits. Thus, a price signal can be introduced to the developing world that will affect current investment plans without entailing short-run costs.

A developing country can therefore begin to contribute to a reduction in emissions with a firm commitment in the form of endowments. This reduction will be realized, however, only when emissions actually bump up against the endowment limit. The faster a country's economy grows, and thus the faster pace at which emissions are growing, the more rapidly the endowment constraint will become binding. Meanwhile, carbon intensive industries will have fewer incentives to move from Annex I countries into developing countries in order to avoid the carbon charge in industrial countries, because all countries will be participating in the overall emissions reduction program. The differential endowment system-one for first world countries, another for developing countries-also would have the added benefit of factoring in the cost of emissions in decisions by foreign private investors when decisions are made about whether to commit funds to developing countries.

Overall, the nationally-based emissions permit and endowment program is far more appealing than the Kyoto Protocol. All institutions would be created and managed within each economy. Breakdowns in the infrastructure of any given market would not spill over to markets in other countries. To be sure, there would be fluctuations in the amount of global emissions, but such variations would be within a downward trend. Furthermore, decentralizing responsibility for taking action to individual countries would make the whole program more sustainable than the Kyoto alternative, which requires participation by all countries in an international permit-trading regime.

Another advantage of the approach proposed here is that the decennial negotiation on the permit price would allow a great deal of flexibility. Monitoring of emissions and the extent of induced abatement activities could be undertaken more easily than in a global program. If information changes, then the price of permits could be changed by international agreement. The endowment market would reflect this information immediately and would enable more rapid but cost-minimizing adjustment, if required.

An Early Action Proposal

The permit and endowment approach can and should be easily implemented in the United States and all other countries as an early action policy. By establishing such a system with a low initial price for permits, all domestic institutions that would be required-if and when the Kyoto Protocol is implemented-would be created in the meantime. To move from the fixed price system that we propose to a flexible price system under the Kyoto Protocol, all that is required is to remove the government intervention from the permit market in 2008 and allow international trading of the permits at the same time. Alternatively, and more likely, countries that implement the MW proposal would find that it works so well in providing price signals to consumers and industry that there will be no need to move to the Kyoto style system in the coming years.


The key objective for those interested in promoting responsible climate change policy is to allow each country to run its program without depending on other countries but on an overall framework that provides constructive incentives for private actors to control emissions efficiently. The proposal outlined here would accomplish this objective, ensuring sufficient flexibility for private actors, providing incentives for developing countries to commit to the system, and creating constituencies within all countries to sustain the agreement-all without the need for cross- border intervention. Finally, raising the price of carbon by a known amount in the short run would establish the insurance premium to be paid for climate change prevention over coming years, while reducing the short-run uncertainty for investment planning and creating a market that accurately prices carbon emissions for long-run planning purposes. Credible price signals can guarantee that emissions of carbon will be lower than otherwise would have been the case. Perhaps emissions will not be low enough as time proceeds and we gain better information and improved climate science. But a flexible system of emissions reduction can deal with this over time.

Starting now with small but significant action is far better than continuing to argue over the Kyoto Protocol and failing to implement policies that could make a meaningful start toward emissions reduction. The current situation generates enormous uncertainty for investment decisions and compounds the cost of climate change.

Warwick J. McKibbin is Professor of International Economics at the Australian National University and is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution.


New York Times

October 30, 2000



One of these days, probably after some catastrophe in which hundreds of people are killed, we'll start to take global warming seriously. Every few months we get a scary update on this phenomenon and there's a sense of "Well, gee, we really should be doing something about this." But the story quickly fades and we turn our attention back to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," or the second coming of "Survivor," or whatever. There's always something more pressing than global warming.

Last week's update was the scariest so far. The latest climate assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes not only that human activity is contributing substantially to the warming of the planet, but that the warming over the next century could turn out to be much worse than previously estimated. A draft summary of the panel's findings was distributed to governments around the world last week. The panel, established by the United Nations to monitor and assess the most up-to-date research on global warming, said it expects the increase in the average global temperature over the next century to be between 3 and 11 degrees.

That is huge. A three-degree warming over the course of the century would probably be the fastest warming in the history of civilization. If the warming gets close to the upper end of the estimate - 11 degrees - forget about it. That's a monumental change in a breathtakingly short period of time. Scientists don't even have much in the way of theoretical data to help humans get a handle on a climate change of that magnitude. With an average temperature increase of 11 degrees, the earth would be nearly as warm as it was when dinosaurs were on the prowl.

Is anyone paying attention?

This is not a disaster waiting to happen. It's already under way. The decade of the 1990's was very likely the hottest of the last millennium. And 1998 - which had temperatures spiked by a large El Niño phenomenon - appears to have been the hottest year ever recorded. The oceans are rising, mountain glaciers are shrinking, low-lying coastal areas are eroding, and the very timing of the seasons is changing. If you jack up the average global temperature another three or four or five degrees over the next several decades, your children and grandchildren will have enormous difficulties to cope with.

It would have been helpful to have had a thorough discussion of global warming by the presidential candidates, a give-and-take aimed at enlightening the population and generating enthusiasm for potential solutions. But that didn't happen. Vice President Al Gore has long been an advocate of dealing aggressively with global warming, which was the focus of his book, "Earth in the Balance." He recently described global warming as a "moral issue."

The vice president helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty designed to reduce the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The treaty has been signed by more than 150 countries, but it has yet to be ratified by the United States or any other industrialized country. Mr. Gore has done some campaigning on the issue and has proposed creation of an environmental trust fund, which, among other things, would provide incentives for the development of new technologies to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Gov. George W. Bush has been somewhat equivocal when it comes to global warming. He has acknowledged that it is a problem. But in his second debate with Mr. Gore, the governor said, "I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet and I don't think we've got all the facts before we make decisions."

Mr. Bush opposes the Kyoto Protocol, which he has said is "unfair to the United States." Nevertheless, he has offered a proposal that would require reductions in all pollutants from electric power plants, which scientists and environmental advocates see as an important step in the fight against global warming. Whoever is elected president will have an obligation to engage this issue in a real way, and quickly. Global warming is not a fantasy. It's an accelerating crisis that poses a grave threat to the newest generations of Americans and people around the world.


National Review



By James K. Glassman, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute & host of

It's Halloween time, and things are starting to get scary on the environmental front. In two weeks at The Hague in the Netherlands, hundreds of scientists and government officials will gather at the Sixth Conference of the Parties to hammer out rules and regulations to deal with global warming. Appropriately acronymed COP-6, this United Nation's conclave aims to police and eventually arrest the emission of greenhouse gases from human activity.

It is an attempt to move along the protocol put forth at a 1997 conference in Kyoto, Japan. It called for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases worldwide by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. Under the agreement, not yet ratified by any industrial nation, the European Union would reduce its emissions by 8 percent while the Clinton administration promised the United States would cut its by 7 percent. There's little support among the public here or in Congress for such efforts.

So, it is little surprise that some environmentalists are trying to scare up some now, especially when it might also be of benefit to their favorite candidate, Al Gore. Last week, a summary of a draft report by the by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked to the press. It purports to show a consensus among scientists that mankind's burning of fossil fuels is influencing climate. According to the summary, the panel concludes that if greenhouse emissions are not curtailed, average temperatures at the Earth's surface could rise 2.7 to nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That's about 60 percent more than the estimate of five years ago.

There's plenty of reason to treat skeptically the summary's supposed findings. For one thing, the last time a summary of an IPCC report was released headlines blared hyperbolic claims about problems that proved to be far more tentatively stated when the final report appeared. The final version of this IPCC report isn't due out until May. More important, other recent studies on Earth's warming have yet to support the doom and gloom based upon the IPCC's models of the effect greenhouse gases are supposed to have on climate. Satellite measurements of the Earth's temperature refined to a hundredth of a degree show only a 0.1-degree temperature rise in the last 21 years, with most of the effect a result of the El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific in 1997. Other studies show that a rise in oceans predicted by the models hasn't occurred.

Which leads to one final reason to treat the summary with great care: Vice President Gore has latched onto it as proof that he needs to be elected president. "Big polluters...would say vote for George Bush or in any case vote for Ralph Nader, but whatever you do don't vote for Al Gore," he shouted at a rally in Wisconsin the day after the draft summary was leaked. "For 24 years, I have never backed down or given up on the environment and I never will in my whole life." Such political posturing reinforces the skepticism expressed by climate expert Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about the summary.

Lindzen who is helping write one of the chapters of the IPCC assessment, continues to doubt that human activity has much to do with climate change. He describes the summary as "waffle words designed for one thing, to ensure that the issue remains important enough that it is not put on the back burner." For the time being, that is where the issue belongs - on the back burner, especially regarding government action. The world needs much clearer scientific evidence, not only about what is happening with global warming but what intelligently ought to be done about it. After all, to explain why the Earth hasn't warmed up as much in the recent past as they forecast it would in the future, the IPCC modelers had to draw this startling conclusion - "big polluters" are cleaning up their emissions too much. The sulfur and other particulates they used to send up into the atmosphere bounced back the sun's rays into outer space, helping to cool the surface of the Earth. Less pollution means less bounce and, to the modelers, more warmth.

On that score, the Clean Air Act of 1990 promotes global warming. And you can bet that Gore and other environmentalists don't want to go there. Voters can also hope he really doesn't want to go on to meet Kyoto's arbitrary CO2 targets. The pain simply isn't worth the gain. The American Council on Capital Formation estimates the cost of cutting energy usage to meet the Kyoto protocol would translate into a 1 percent to 4 percent loss of gross domestic product annually. That's $100 billion to $400 billion a year.

And for what? If all the industrialized countries met their targets, it would mean at best a 0.011 of a percentage point reduction in greenhouse gases. As Ronald G. Prinn, co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Climate Change, has observed: "Even with Herculean efforts in reduction, warming will persist." Meanwhile, Kyoto literally left 80 percent of the world - the developing nations, many of them big polluters - out of the equation. Most have willingly signed onto the protocol because it places no obligations upon them to do anything. As their countries industrialize, their greenhouse emissions likely will increase, at least through the early stages. To counteract that effect, the United States and other advanced economies would have to literally suck CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the air, according to Prinn. No one has figured out a way to do that.

All of this makes Resources of the Future President Paul Portney look almost prescient for his comment in 1999 that the Kyoto protocol didn't have "a snowball's chance in hell of coming into effect." And that's probably true even if Gore is elected. No elected legislature will willingly jeopardize a nation's economy on the strength of a century-long weather forecast. Climatologists have yet to demonstrate that their models accurately can predict weather in the next year or next decade, much less the next century. The reality of that human nature is fortunate. For despite what the environmental scaremongers say, the world loses nothing by waiting - even if global warming proves to be real, which is still much in doubt.

For even then, the answer to the problem won't be government controls. It will involve scientists coming up with ideas, entrepreneurs making them practical and a free market spreading the new technology around the globe. The track record of the last two centuries demonstrates the power of that paradigm. It also shows the danger of giving in to the extremists. With the election drawing to an end and COP-6 drawing near, people need to be wary. For as last week's events make clear, the environmental bogeyman will try to get you, if you don't watch out.


Ottawa Citizen

30 October


The Liberal government is damaging Canada's environment and shaming the country on the international stage by trying to open up loopholes in the Kyoto agreements to reduce greenhouse gases, scientist David Suzuki charged yesterday. "I think Canada's behaviour ever since Kyoto has been absolutely embarrassing. Humiliating," Mr. Suzuki said. "We've done nothing and we want loopholes to keep us from doing anything." But Environment Minister David Anderson said he's looking for flexibility, not loopholes, in finding ways to reduce greenhouse gases and stem global warming. "We're determined to meet our target," Mr. Anderson said. "And if we're to take Kyoto as a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you have to say, in our view, all possible sources should be canvassed." Canada signed the Kyoto agreement in 1997, promising to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions to 565 megatonnes per year by 2012 -- down from 601 megatonnes in 1990. But Canada's emissions have continued to rise. The country now pumps 682 megatonnes of greenhouse gases into the air every year: mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels in cars, power plants, factories and oil refineries.

Representatives from around the world will meet Nov. 13-24 at The Hague for negotiations on how to implement the greenhouse gas reduction targets -- talks that will be as much about politics as about the environment. Every country is looking for ways to get credit for reducing greenhouse gases, without actually cutting the full amount from their factory and vehicle emissions, which they fear could hurt their economy or cause a backlash from industry and consumers. Mr. Anderson, who will take only a couple of days from the election campaign to attend the negotiations, will argue that Canada should get credit for reforestation projects, since forests soak up carbon dioxide. He will also take the controversial stand that Canada should get credit for selling nuclear reactors abroad, since nuclear energy does not produce greenhouse gases.

"As far as Kyoto is concerned, nuclear (power) has reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions dramatically," Mr. Anderson said. "We'll argue it should be included. If other nations turn us down, so be it." But Mr. Suzuki sees these alternative measures as just political sleight-of-hand to avoid tackling the real issue: reducing emissions from sources like cars, factories and oil refineries. "(Canada) has got a position that I think is reprehensible," he said.

"We want to keep all of the loopholes available, as options to get credit for our efforts on reducing greenhouse gases, without actually reducing greenhouse gases." Scientists believe that greenhouse gases cause global warming, with consequences that could be cataclysmic for humans and wildlife. They predict that coastlines and small islands like Prince Edward Island will be swamped when the polar ice caps melt and the oceans rise. They also believe global warming will result in an increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes, tidal waves, droughts and floods.

The negotiations in The Hague, coming in the middle of the federal election race, should make the environment a campaign issue, Mr. Suzuki said. But the environment does not even figure in the campaign of Stockwell Day's Canadian Alliance party, which is mounting the main challenge to the Liberals. Alliance Environment critic Rahim Jaffer said it's "not the end of the world" if Canada doesn't hit its Kyoto target. "You'd have to really come down hard on the natural resource industry to meet those targets," he said. "We would make a commitment to move in the direction of Kyoto but, in reality, it would be unrealistic to hit those targets." The NDP's Alexa McDonough made the environment one of the main focuses of her questioning in the House of Commons's last session and environmental themes are expected to surface in the party's platform, to be released today. Mr. Anderson said the Liberals will also have something for the environment in their platform, to be released later this week.


The following is a press release for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech of 24 October 2000, "REAWAKENING THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE"

Prime Minister Tony Blair today called for a break from the old notion that there must be a trade off between the environment and prosperity. Urging all sectors of Britain to reawaken the environmental challenge, he made a personal commitment to attend the next Earth Summit, in 2002. The Prime Minister also announced £150 million of New Opportunities Funding (NOF) to help the environment:

*Supporting renewable energy technology (vital in the move to a low carbon economy), £50m from NOF will invest in the development of offshore wind and wood-fired and other energy crop power generation;

*Helping tackle Britain's waste mountain, NOF will also invest £50m over three years in local arrangements for maximising recycling and composting. To boost public involvement in cutting waste, this funding will help provide kerbside recycling for 700,000 more households;

*And improving people's local environments, the NOF will invest £50m for projects to improve the quality of life in urban and rural areas.

Speaking in London to the CBI and the Green Alliance, he urged all sectors to work together to harness the power of science and the market to protect the environment and stated: "I want to push green issues back up the political agenda. Let's sell the new insight - we can be richer by being greener; and by being greener we will enrich the quality of our lives." The Prime Minister confirmed that a new Carbon Trust will shortly be launched to help move the UK towards a competitive low carbon future. The Trust will spend £50m a year developing low carbon technology, partly funded from the Climate Change Levy. Continued close participation of business and the research community will be vital to the Trust's long term success. The Trust will take the lead on low carbon technology and innovation, putting Britain in the lead internationally.

From April 2001, a Kyoto mechanisms office will also be up and running to help deliver the UK's climate change objectives, encouraging business to invest in innovative energy saving projects abroad. The new office will provide a one-stop shop to guide companies through international rules; help them turn ideas into activities and access other Government services; and provide the formal approval necessary for projects to go ahead. As a further world first for Britain, helping link market forces to cutting pollution, a national emissions trading system will be launched next Spring. The scheme has been worked up by the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment, and is based in part on BP's experience in setting up the world's first internal global emissions trading system. The early start will help deliver real environmental benefits in the most cost- effective way, putting UK business, City and Government at the forefront of international developments.

Mr Blair also took the opportunity to launch officially the Sustainable Development Commission and revealed he has asked the Performance and Innovation Unit to carry out an in-depth study into renewable energy and environmental efficiency. Setting out the Government's green record, he said: "No other British Government has put the environment at the heart of its policy making across the board - from foreign affairs to the national curriculum - in the way this Government has. "It is time to re- awaken the environmental challenge as part of the core of British and international politics."

For more information see

Notes to Editors

As part of the energy efficiency measures under the Climate Change Levy the Chancellor provided £50m pa to promote and encourage the take up of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The allocations are: £13m for DTI renewables, £4m for MAFF and energy crops, £6m to the Devolved Administrations and £27m to accelerate the take up of energy efficient technologies. This will be primarily through the creation of a new body, provisionally known as the Carbon Trust. The Trust will provide impartial advice to non-domestic energy users; manage and develop the Government's enhanced capital allowances scheme for eligible energy efficiency measures; stimulate and support the take-up of sustainable carbon technologies, processes and products.

The Government has given its full support to early development of a greenhouse gas Emissions Trading scheme in the UK. SR2000 made £30m funds available to kick start trading in the UK (PN 491). A consultation document will be published shortly setting out proposals and seeking views. Details of additional environmental resources as a result of SR2000 are set out in PN 506 (26 July 2000)

The Waste Strategy, published in May, set tough statutory targets for recycling (PN 375). To help develop the market for recycled material the DETR and DTI have launched the Waste and Resources Action Programme to promote sustainable waste management and in particular develop markets for recycled materials. Further information on WRAP is in PN 583 (7 September 2000). As part of the Waste Strategy every local authority should offer doorstep recycling to take advantage of the new markets developed for recycled materials. The Government will also play its direct part in encouraging this market, by trialling purchasing of recycled products and assessing the impact this has in boosting the market. Full details of the Sustainable Development Commission membership are set out in PN 665 published today.

For more information: 020 7944 3041; out of hours: 020 7944 5925/5945; e-mail:; e-mail contacts:; DETR website:


Earth Times

1 November


UNITED NATIONS--The United States and European Union (EU) appear to be on opposite sides of one of the most contentious issues of a landmark treaty intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the United Nations' highest ranking official on climate change issues.

The issue of "sinks", climate change terminology meaning something that removes carbon from the air, will be one of the most hotly debated issues at this month's Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the United Nations Framework on Global Climate, according to Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Convention's Secretary. During COP6 the parties will debate how to implement the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol, which was adopted in 1997, calls for ratifying nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below their 1990 levels by 2008 to 2012. COP6 will be held in the Hague from November 13th to 24th.

Countries will debate at COP6 how to define a sink. In addition, how much credit a country would get towards their greenhouse gas emissions from actions such as reforestation or decreasing their deforestation or other changes in land-use that would increase carbon absorption. According to Zammit Cutajar, this offers some developed countries a "easy domestic option" to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Credits are "prolifically easier than long terms changes in consumption patterns," said Zammit Cutajar, speaking to reporters at UN headquarters.

The land rich US is pushing for the Protocol to include language favorable to a sink credit system. Japan appears to be taking similar stance as the US on the sink issue. The EU, with significant limits on land available for reforestation by its member countries, is lobbying for these credits to have a lower value in an emissions trading system, says Zammit Cutajar. "The EU," said Zammit Cutajar. "is holding that it (the Protocol) should be more environmental and developed step by step." Increases in carbon emissions into the atmosphere have been linked scientists by scientists to increases in global temperatures, and most recently a leaked report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a coalition of some 2,000 scientists, projected that in the next century the Earth's temperatures may increase as much as 11 degrees fahrenheit.

The irony of this situation is that because of the provisions contained in the Protocol, if the US and EU were not to ratify the Protocol it could not go into force. The Protocol can only come into force if 55 countries ratify it of which industrialized countries representing 55 percent of this group's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions must be included. The Protocol has been ratified by 30 countries, but none of the major emitting countries are included in that group.

In line with the question of sinks, is whether there should be a limit on these credits and trading systems. The action of developing countries in the Protocol will be another issue that will be debated during COP6. The Protocol fails to put emissions limits or calls for decreases by developing countries like China. The emphasis of the discussion in COP6 with respect to developing countries such as China is "not capping them (carbon emissions), because they need to grow, but changing their course," says Zammit Cutajar.

The greatest concern of both developed and developing countries has been that to limit greenhouse gas emissions will lead to decreases in economic growth. China, the very country that the US and other industrialized countries fear may gain an unfair advantage by being exempt from the Protocol, has been able to "de- couple" its economic and carbon emission growth. China has been able to decrease it carbon emissions without offsetting economic growth, according to the World Bank. China decreased its tons of carbon emissions per million dollars of gross domestic product from 579.2 tons in 1980 to 324.9 tons in 1996. The US cut its carbon emission rate by only 320.7 to 262.4 tons during that same time period. The EU decreased its rate from 198.2 tons in 1980 down to 143.9 tons per million dollars of GDP.

The private sector appears to be taking the first steps to reduce their contributions to carbon emissions, albeit a limited few. Recently, BP, Shell International, DuPont, and the Canadian aluminum company Alcan joined several other major corporations in agreeing they would reduce their carbon emissions by 90 million tons per year by 2010. The total amount of carbon emitted by these companies in 1990 placed them among the total carbon emissions for the top 15 industrialized countries on that year. These corporations are trying to get ahead of the curve, and are betting on the establishment of a carbon emission trading system where they can earn significant funds by selling their credits to other corporations. Experts of emissions trading speculate that carbon emissions could be traded at approximately eight dollars per ton. The carbon emissions totals for 1999 exceeded six billion tons, according to the World Bank.

Countries will also debate issues such as compensation for countries affected by climate change or measures contained in the Protocol. Small island states that are facing sea level rise and coastal erosion would fall into these categories. Compensation for the oil-exporting developing countries will also be debated. In addition, creating a "compliance regime" or body that would enforce the rules of the Protocol and more simply what the penalties for noncompliance would be.

Zammit Cutajar acknowledged these issues will have to be addressed during COP6 in order for the major industrialized countries to consider ratifying it the Protocol. Time may be running out for countries to be able to implement the measures of the Protocol if it were to go into force.

Decisions need to be made on these issues during COP6, "because the targets of the Kyoto Protocol are quite close," said the Convention Secretary. "They take effect in 2008 which is really very close when you think of the actions that governments have to take to pass laws, institutions must make regulations...and when you think what investments the private sector has to make."

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