31, Oct 2006 23:24
Emissions of CO2 Continue to Rise Despite Pledges
By JOHN J. FIALKA
October 31, 2006; Page A6
A United Nations agency said most industrial nations continue to increase their emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases thought to be warming the Earth's atmosphere, despite pledges under the Kyoto Protocol during the next six years to make a 5% cut.
While the shuttering of heavily polluting factories in the former Soviet Union and its satellites makes it appear as though industrial nations as a group reduced their emissions by 3.3% from 1990 to 2004, the agency said that without that statistical blip, the U.S. and most other industrial nations have increased their emissions by 11%.
"The rising trend is the worrisome part of it," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since 2000, as their economies revived, countries in Eastern Europe also increased their emissions, rising by 4.1% according to the agency.
From 2000 to 2004, according to the U.N. data, the U.S., which isn't a party to Kyoto, had a slower increase in emissions (1.3%) than members of the European Union (2.4%). EU members have committed to drop their emissions by 8%, compared with 1990 levels, by 2012.
"This means that industrialized countries will need to intensify their efforts to implement strong [reduction] policies," Mr. de Boer said.
Spain and Austria had the highest increases -- 11.4% and 12.4%, respectively -- in Western Europe from 2000 to 2004. Canada, which has pledged a 6% reduction, saw its emissions rise by 4.6%. Germany's emissions dropped by 0.7% and the United Kingdom's emissions fell by 1%.
"The positive part of this is that across the board we're seeing emissions growing more slowly than economic growth," Mr. de Boer said. Parties to the Kyoto treaty meet next week in Nairobi, Kenya, to begin what is likely to be a multiyear debate on what emissions cuts will be required in the second round of the treaty's implementation, which starts in 2012.
The findings were released shortly after a report by Sir Nicholas Stern, head of the U.K.'s Government Economic Service. He estimated the cost of a nation's efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change would amount to about 1% of global domestic product each year. However, he calculated, the cost of "unabated climate change" including rising sea levels would be five times that much, or more. (See related article.)
Write to John J. Fialka at email@example.com
White House Nods at British Climate Change Report
October 30, 2006
White House Nods at British Climate Change Report
Filed at 4:13 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Monday gave a nod to a British report urging action on global warming but one environmentalist said the Bush administration goals on climate change amount to business as usual.
The report by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said immediate international action to stabilize the greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming would have economic benefits that would far outweigh the costs.
In an e-mailed statement, the White House Council on Environmental Quality said, ``The U.S. government has produced an abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change. The Stern Report is another contribution to that effort.''
The statement from spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer said the United States is ``well on track to meet the president's goal to reduce greenhouse gas intensity of our economy 18 percent by 2012.''
The problem, said Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense, is that this goal essentially requires only the status quo.
``This is just business as usual for this economy,'' Petsonk said by telephone. ``The result is no reduction in America's total greenhouse gas emissions.''
The United States is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, producing 25 percent of greenhouse gases from 5 percent of the global population.
``The United Kingdom is moving forward, the EU is moving forward, the developing countries are moving forward, where is the United States?'' Petsonk said.
CAN-DO VS CAN'T DO
Britain is pushing for a framework outside the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions, that would include the United States and such major developing countries as China and India.
President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto agreement in part because he said it hit jobs.
Stern's report estimates that stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cost about 1 percent of annual global output by 2050. Inaction could cut global consumption per person by between 5 and 20 percent, the report said.
``If the Bush administration is truly on board with this then I think they need to put their money where their mouth is,'' said Brian Castelli, executive vice president of the Alliance to Save Energy, whose members include U.S. power companies.
Castelli said there must be more investment in energy-efficient technologies, but added that U.S. government budgets for this have dropped by 34 percent since 2002, from $694 million to $517 million budgeted for fiscal 2007, which amounts to about $460 million in 2002 dollars, factoring in inflation.
``How are we going to square up the fact that we need more research, development and deployment dollars through the administration and the fact that they're on board with what the Stern report says (about) deploying those technologies?'' Castelli said by telephone.
Dave Hamilton of the environmental group Sierra Club contrasted the Stern review with the White House message.
``We can actually make money by changing our tune here'' to limit greenhouse gas emissions, Hamilton said in a telephone interview. ``We can do it in a cost-effective way, we can do it in a way that improves our technology ... This is a very can-do report, when what we've heard from the White House is what we can't do.''