The Kyoto Protocol

In 1992, most countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is considered a major step forward in addressing the problem of global warming. Article 2 of the UNFCCC states The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that...

Americas Policy Toward Global Warming

Shortly after taking office, President Bush made it clear that he would keep the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol. His stance offended much of the international community and many Americans as well. However, the president defended his administration's record on climate We believe we need to protect our environment. We believe we need to strengthen our energy security. We believe we need to grow our economy. And we believe the only way to achieve these goals is through continued advances...

A warmer earth is beneficial to humans

Humans have not fared well during times of extreme cold. Seventy thousand years ago, the Earth experienced a volcanic winter followed by a thousand-year ice age. According to scientists at Stanford University, the human population might have dropped to 2,000, pushing our species to the brink of extinction. During the most recent ice age, it was much more difficult for humans to survive than it was during the interglacial period that followed. Even today, cold is deadlier to humans than heat....

Abrupt Climate Change and National security

In 2002, a National Academy of Sciences report concluded that human activities could trigger an abrupt change in the Earth's climate. One possibility often discussed by scientists is a shutdown of the Gulf Stream, which could cause an abrupt shift to ice age conditions in Europe, possibly within a few years. This has happened before. One shutdown called the Younger Dryas occurred 12,700 years ago. It lasted for about 1,300 years, during which time Britain was covered in permafrost and icebergs...

Using Capand Trade to Fight Acid Rain

Supporters of a cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions point to the success of a similar program aimed at reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, a compound that interacts with moisture in the atmosphere to create acid rain, precipitation that is more acidic than what naturally occurs. Acid rain is deadly to trees, insects, and creatures that live in lakes and rivers. The term acid rain was coined in 1872 by Robert Angus Smith, a British government official who argued that...

The end of Fossil Fuels

Steve Lohr, a reporter for the New York Times, remarked In the very long term, environmental experts say, the world's economy needs a technological transformation, from deriving 90 percent of its energy from fossil fuels today to being largely free of emissions from fossil fuels by 2100, through cleanup steps or alternative energy sources.14 Much has been written about alternatives to oil, gas, and coal as energy sources. Even though alternatives are promising, each has significant drawbacks....

Senator Inhofes Case Against Global Warming

James Inhofe, a U.S. senator from Oklahoma, is Congress's most outspoken critic of climate legislation. On July 28, 2003, on the floor of the Senate, Inhofe delivered a now-famous speech entitled The Science of Climate Change. It was a wideranging attack on the Kyoto Protocol, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some excerpts from that speech Much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than...

Important Dates Relating to Global Warming

The Industrial Revolution begins after James Watt invents a version of the steam engine that would later be put to use in mines and factories. A team of men led by Edwin L. Drake, an oil company executive, drills an oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Drake's well leads to the development of a large and powerful oil industry in America. Nikolaus Otto, a German inventor, builds an internal combustion engine capable of powering an automobile. Otto's former business partner, Gottlieb Daimler,...

What Is Contraction and Convergence

In 1990, a group of activists led by Aubrey Meyer founded the Global Commons Institute GCI . Its objective is to find a solution to global warming that is fair to all inhabitants of the Earth. A GCI publication, Contraction and Convergence A Global Solution to a Global Problem, states Because everyone regardless of status is now increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the rich have little choice but to share the burden of contraction fairly. The GCI presented its original...

Notes

6 Singer and Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, p. 76. 7 Christopher C. Horner, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. Washington, D.C. Regnery Publishing, 2007, p. 72. 8 Ronald Bailey, ed., Global Warming and Other Eco-myths How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death. Roseville, Calif. Prima Publishing, 2002, pp. 4-5. 9 Jens Bischof, Ice in the Greenhouse Earth May Be Cooling, Not Warming, Quest, January 2002, http www.odu. 10...

The Industrial Revolution the Automobile and Fossil Fuels

For most of the time humans have been on the Earth, our energy consumption was modest. Our ancestors burned readily available materials, like wood and animal dung, to provide heat and light. However, energy-usage patterns changed dramatically beginning with the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late eighteenth century. A Scottish engineer named James Watt improved the design of the steam engine, making it efficient enough to power machinery. The steam engine was followed by the...

Alternatives to the Kyoto Approach

Even though the Kyoto Protocol does not expire until 2012, it is already too late for this country to meet the treaty's emissions target. Even Al Gore recently conceded that it is time to move on from Kyoto and focus on an agreement that will replace it. The climate-change framework that drew up Kyoto remains in existence, setting the stage for a possible follow-up treaty. At the climate change summit held in 2007, delegates discussed, but did not agree to, an emissions-reduction target of 25...

Scientists agree that humans are causing global warming

In science, there is never complete certainty that a theory is correct. However, there is broad agreement among scientists that the Earth is growing warmer and that human activity is responsible for it. According to Jim Baker, the former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, There is a better scientific consensus on this issue than any other . . . with the possible exception of Newton's Law of Dynamics.8 In 2004, Naomi Oreskes, a science historian at the University of...

The Byrd Hagel Resolution

As members of Congress learned more about Kyoto Treaty, they became increasingly concerned over its effect on our economy. In July 1997, five months before Kyoto was ratified, Senators Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, introduced a sense of the Senate resolution that expressed opposition to the proposed treaty. The so-called Byrd-Hagel Resolution Public Law 105-54 passed by a vote of 95 to 0. The resolution called the exemption of...

The Kyoto Protocol is unfair to the United States

Many Americans believe that President Bush acted wisely in keeping this country out of Kyoto. To begin with, the treaty does nothing to regulate emissions from developing countries. China is of particular concern because its government has adopted a growth at any cost policy that has serious environmental consequences. Mark Lynas explains A fifth of the country's native biodiversity is now endangered. Three--quarters of its lakes are polluted by agricultural or industrial run-off, whilst the...

Why President Bush Rejected the Kyoto Protocol

On March 13, 2001, President George W. Bush wrote a letter to four Republican members of the U.S. Senate on the subject of global warming in general and the Kyoto Protocol in particular. The following are excerpts from his letter As you know, I oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the U.S. economy. The Senate's vote, 95-0 in favor of the Byrd-Hagel...

If Global Temperatures Rose six degrees What Would Happen

Climate models, cited in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC Third Assessment Report, projected that global temperatures could rise by as much as 10.4 F 5.8 C by the end of the twenty-first century. To find out what would happen if the world warmed by that much, journalist Mark Lynas read thousands of scientific papers dealing with how climate change affected life on Earth in the past. The result of his work was a book entitled Six Degrees. An increase of one degree would bring about...