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CO2 Does Not Pollute: But Kyoto's Demise Won't End Debate

A gas industry leader says Bush got it right, yet admits the worth of carbon abatement.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2001

areas). This problem is exacerbated by the concentration of surface temperature measurements over land. The NASA satellite measurements are considered accurate to 0.1°C and closely match weather balloon measurements in the atmospheric layer between 5000 and 28,000 ft. from 1958 to the present. 5,6 Moreover, the NASA satellite and weather balloon measurements fail to show the generally upward trend of temperature data used by IPCC of about 0.5°C to 0.6°C between 1979 and 2000. Also note that other temperature records differ sharply from those cited in the "Policymakers Summary." In fact, in the United States, the highest temperatures during the past century were recorded during the 1930s 7. The failure to discount this sharp, but temporary, increase in temperatures in the lower troposphere and the closely related surface temperatures caused by the El Niño effect, combined with the general reliance on basically flawed surface temperature measurements by the models developed for the IPCC Third Assessment Report, plus the unrealistic assumptions in several of the cases in the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios, invalidates the extreme projections for the upper bound of temperature increases from 1990 to 2100.

Kyoto Compliance: The Terrible Cost

None of this criticism affects my firm belief that it will prove beneficial to continue and accelerate the ongoing decarbonization of the global energy system. It should be feasible, both technically and economically, to limit additional anthropogenic carbon emissions between 1991 and 2100 to less than 1000 GtC, rather than the 2190 GtC in the IPCC's "business as usual" scenario 1. The voluntary efforts by leading industrial firms to reduce their emissions of the most important greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide and methane - should also help to reduce the threat of global warming.

Kyoto Compliance

What it would take.

The industrial countries cannot possibly meet the Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the required amounts without liberal provisions for emissions trading with low emitters or "clean development" projects in developing countries.

  • 5.2 percent - cut in average greenhouse gas emissions (CO 2 equivalent) below 1990 levels, by 2008-12, on average for all Annex 1 industrial countries.
  • 7 percent - reduction required in United States, below 1990 level.
  • 31 percent - reduction required in greenhouse gas emissions in U.S., below level now projected for 2010.
  • 306 Gigawatts - U.S. fleet of coal-fired generation, much of which would require replacement by gas turbines.
  • 11.3 Tcf/year - added demand for gas to replace 306-gigawatt fleet of coal-fired generation. (Assume gas turbines operate at heat rate of 6,300 Btu/kWh, and at same 68 percent average load factor as coal-fired plants they replace.)
  • 7.6 Tcf/year - added gas demand already projected for new gas-fired generation between 1999 and 2020.
  • 19 Tcf/year - Total new gas demand (11.3 + 7.6) roughly equals total annual U.S. gas production in 2000.

- H.R.L.

It now seems highly unlikely that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol will be ratified by a sufficient number of industrial countries covered by the Protocol (the 35 Annex I countries) to put it into effect. U.S. ratification was already in