Monday, December 06, 2004


No wonder they signed up

But first a couple of preliminary remarks about the immediate effects of the European mini-Kyoto. Will it reduce emissions? Contrary to what many believe, it will not. On the basis of the allowances allocated to existing facilities covered by the EU emission trading scheme, Fred Singer, the dean of the climate sceptics, forecasts that European industry will be allowed to increase annual CO2 emissions by 5% during the first phase of the scheme (2005 to 2007) relative to their emissions in 2000. Additional allowances will also be available through reserves set aside for the construction of new plants. If all these reserve allowances are issued, then emissions would be permitted to increase by an additional 6%. In total, the first phase of the scheme could therefore allow emissions to increase by up to 11% relative to 2000 levels. And Singer comments: 'These increases are in stark contrast to the commitments of European Member States under the Kyoto Protocol which require a collective reduction in emissions across all EU 15 countries of 8% by 2010 from 1990 levels.'

Moreover, there is this little snag of 'paper compliance'. As David Victor of the Council on Foreign Relations argues, Russia (and Ukraine) agreed in Kyoto to freeze emissions at 1990 levels, but the collapse of the post-Soviet economy in the early 1990s means that their emissions are already far below that target and unlikely to recover fully by 2008. Selling the windfall to nations in emissions deficit could earn Russia (and Ukraine) a considerable sum of money. Since the windfall is free -- completely an artifact of the luck and skill of the diplomats in Kyoto rather than the result of any effort to control emissions -- these extra credits would squeeze out bona fide efforts to control emissions. That buys 'paper compliance' but no reduction in emissions.

So formally the system will run smoothly, but there will be no reductions of emissions. On the contrary, they will still rise. In the mean time there will be a net flow of resources to Russia (and other countries) in order to pay for the emission allowances which Russia does not need for itself. That is a boon for Russia and -- if we take official statements at their face value -- a source of deep satisfaction of European policymakers because it helps Kyoto to enter into force. Whether the average citizen/taxpayer is equally satisfied remains to be seen. Of course, it is true that all European parliaments have approved Kyoto. But did they know the shortcomings of the underlying science? Have they been fully informed by their governments about the costs and benefits of Kyoto? Did they know that Kyoto will result in a net cooling which is so small that even in 2050 it will not be possible to detect it, even with the most sophisticated thermometers? And did they realise that Kyoto is like the proverbial camel's nose: nothing to get excited about in the beginning, but devastating in the end?

It is often argued that CO2 emission trading is in conformity with market principles. However, if we take a closer look, it is not. It requires a prior act of creating and distributing (property) rights (to emit), where no rights existed before. Only governments can do so.

In Europe, national emission ceilings are the outcome of negotiations between the EU member countries and other countries which will join the scheme. Subsequently, individual countries are free to distribute the emission rights nationally according to schemes to their liking......

More here


The results of two research studies announced this week address the infamous discrepancy between satellite and surface thermometer trends over the last 25 years. The original satellite dataset produced by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) now has a warming trend of 0.08 deg. C/decade since 1979, while the surface thermometer trend is two to three times this value. Climate models, in contrast, claim that any surface warming as a result of global warming should be amplified with height, not reduced. This has led to varying levels of concern in the climate community that the theory contained in the climate models might be in error.

As background, a study published earlier this year by Fu et al. (1) attempted to estimate the amount of tropospheric warming by a simple linear combination of the stratospheric and tropospheric channels of the Microwave Sounding Units (MSUs) flying on NOAA polar-orbiting weather satellites. (The troposphere exists from the surface up to a height of around 8-12 miles, the stratosphere overlays it.) Since the tropospheric channel has about 15% influence from the stratosphere -- which has cooled strongly since 1979 -- the tropospheric temperature can only be estimated through removal of the stratospheric component. Fu et al. used radiosonde (weather balloon) data to arrive at an optimum combination of the two channels that, when applied to the satellite observed temperature trends, resulted in a tropospheric warming trend that was larger than that estimated by UAH with a different technique.

In the first article announced this week, Fu & Johansen (2) estimate the stratospheric contribution to the satellite instrument's tropospheric channel through a slightly different method than in their original article. They used previously published radiosonde estimates of temperature trends through the lower and middle stratosphere to estimate the error in their method, as well as the amount of stratospheric cooling contained in the tropospheric channel. While we would prefer to leave detailed comments for a journal article, a couple of general points can be made. For the period they examined (1979-2001), our (UAH) lower tropospheric temperature trend is +0.06 deg. C/decade, while their estimate of the (whole) tropospheric trend is +0.09 deg C/decade. You might notice that the difference between these two trends is small, considering the probable error bounds on these estimates and the fact that the two techniques measure somewhat different layers. Also, their method depends on belief in the radiosonde-measured trends in the lower stratosphere, even though we know there are larger errors at those altitudes than in the troposphere -- and most published radiosonde trends for the troposphere show little or no global warming (!) As is often the case, the press release that described the new study made claims that were, in my view, exaggerated. Nevertheless, given the importance of the global warming issue, this line of research is probably worthwhile as it provides an alternative way of interpreting the satellite data.

The other study (3), published by Simon Tett and Peter Thorne at the UK's Hadley Centre, takes issue with the original Fu et al. method. Tett and Thorne claim that when the technique is applied to variety of radiosonde, reanalysis, and global model simulation datasets in the tropics, it leads to results which are more variable than the UAH technique produces. It also mentions the dependence of the method on the characteristics of the radiosonde data that are assumed.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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