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Letters to the Editor

Fortnightly Magazine - April 2005

is responsible for about 97 percent of the greenhouse effect without which the Earth would be an arctic desert without most forms of life. However, because of a variety of feedback effects, due to various forms of water in the atmosphere (vapor at declining concentrations in the troposphere and stratosphere, clouds at different heights and reflectivity, etc.), the impact of this 1.2°C warming at 5.5 kilometers up in the troposphere on the surface cannot be predicted, except that it is likely to cause a higher temperature increase.

In any event, I am no longer a contrarian on anthropogenic climate change, but a pragmatist. 4 However, I reject the unsubstantiated predictions of the alarmists and believe we should adopt the December 2004 recommendations of the National Commission on Energy Policy as a prelude for a global agreement to follow the recommendations of the U.N. IPCC outlined earlier. The United States, although responsible for about 24 percent of global energy consumption and anthropogenic carbon emissions (as CO 2) and 29 percent of global GDP with less than 5 percent of global population, cannot be held responsible for what happens due to the other 76 percent of energy consumption-increasingly by the developing countries that soon will emit more carbon than the industrial countries. The Kyoto Protocol and schemes using its philosophy fail in not advocating a global agreement for mandatory, economy-wide annual reductions in greenhouse-gas intensity. This should be measured in metric tons of CO 2-equivalents per unit of GDP designed to limit global anthropogenic carbon emissions to 1,000 gigatonnes between 1990 and 2100, then stabilized at a level that caps atmospheric CO 2 concentrations at 550 ppmv.


1. Henry R. Linden, “Let's Focus on Sustainability, Not Kyoto,” The Electricity Journal , Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 56-67, March 1999.
2. J.T. Houghton, et. al. , eds., “Climate Change 1995, The Science of Climate Change,” Contribution of Working Group I to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1996, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. and New York.
3. J.T. Houghton, et. al. , eds., “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis,” Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. and New York.
4. Henry R. Linden, “How to Justify a Pragmatic Position on Anthropogenic Climate Change,” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research , Vol. 44, No. 5, March 2, 2005. Since Sept. 4, 2004, available on the World Wide Web.