Climate Change Policy

Climate Change Policy

Climate Change The Policy Dimensions www.ipcc.ch The Human Condition: http://www.breathingearth.net/ The Problem Scientific Conclusions IMPACTS

The impacts of climate change are, with high confidence (90%), expected to be most significant when and where they occur in the context of multiple stresses from other sources such as poverty, unequal access to resources, food insecurity, and environmental degradation. The intensities of these interactions vary from place to place and over time along specific development pathways.

Medium confidence (50%) global estimates of the number of people adversely affected by climate change by 2080: water scarcity 1-3 billion, hunger 200-600 million, coastal flooding 2-7 million. AR4 WG2 fresh water resources Glacial-Interglacial Sea Level Changes

Interglacial Sea Level Greenland = 6 meters West Ant. = 5 meters East Ant. = 60 meters Human impacts are HUGE Thereisisaafundamental fundamentalasymmetry asymmetry between scales

There between the the timetime scales that that the climate reacts to increases in greenhouse

the climate systemsystem reacts to increases in greenhouse gases and gases and the time scales to recover

fromincreases. such increases. the time scales to recover from such Sea Level Rise will Stabilizes Reduction CO2 missions sooner, moves in over

1000 these years delayed consequences downward and reduces the Temperatures time requiredStabilizes to stabilize the responses. in about 500 Hundred years Carbon Dioxide Stabilizes in several

Hundred years 100 Years Today 1000 Years Tons CO2 20

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Per Capita CO2 Emissions 5.3 Tons C per American U.S. Europe Asia Africa

Lat Amer World 1 Ton C for World Energy-Income Inequity 20000

U.S. 10000($) Capita Income Ireland Haiti 0 12

2000 Energy Use (Watts) 12000 Population vs. CO2 Emissions 30% 25%

20% Percent Pop 15% Percent CO2 10% 5% 0% India and China &

SE Asia neighbors Africa Latin America W. Europe, CA

E. Europe, N. Asia USA Japan, Aus, NZ Middle East

Projected Carbon Emissions Conversions Converting between carbon (C) and carbon dioxide (CO 2) units: 1 unit carbon (C) = 3.67 units carbon dioxide Treaty Solutions UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) Ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations

in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system. The objective does not specify what these concentrations should be, only that they reach a level that is not dangerous. This acknowledges that there is currently no scientific certainty about what a dangerous level would be. CO2 is currently 381 ppm, goal is < 450 ppm. Requires states to do GHG inventories, national reports. Help for developing countries in meeting incremental costs. Scientific processes continuing through IPCC.

Signed by 161 nations at the Earth Summit, June 1992; Ratified by the required 50 nations, December 1993; Treaty took effect, March 1994. Response of the FCCC to Problems The uncertainty problem. It is an agreement for further action, allows nations to respond flexibly, takes preliminary steps now. The fairness issue. It puts the puts share of the responsibility for battling climate change -- and the lion's share of the bill -- on the rich

countries; recognizes the vulnerability of the LDCs. The development issue. It supports the concept of "sustainable development, promotes technology transfer and education. The problem of other pressing problems. It is a start, a commitment, and it is expandable as needs arise. It links science and policy and seeks to share the burden widely. Pressures to Conform

FCCC creates its own institutions for monitoring compliance. Parties to the Convention must regularly provide information on their performance to the Conference of the Parties (COP). Subsidiary bodies are created by the Convention to provide expert advice and assessment (IPCC) These mechanisms can provide incentives for a state to comply with its obligations. This is the so-called "institutional supervision" method where a country's failure to meet its commitments affects not just one other state, but the entire international community.

Conference of the Parties (COP) # 1 First high-level climate change meeting, Berlin, 1995. First step in a long process of practical institution building. What was on the agenda? Review of national communications and need for future reports. Adequacy of commitments. Is returning greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels an "adequate" step? Institutional arrangements: a permanent secretariat, treaty implementation, scientific and technological advice, financial arrangements.

Rules of procedure, including voting mechanisms. COP 15 next week in Copenhagen Kyoto Protocol (1997) Commits industrialized nations to legally binding reductions in emissions of 6 "greenhouse gases. US target 7% below 1990 levels during a "commitment period" between 2008-2012. US stalling until developing countries also make commitments to participate. 22-Oct.-2004 Russia ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.

US will not submit the protocol to the Senate for advice and consent, thereby delaying indefinitely any possibility of ratification What are the policy problems? 1. (the big problem): Scientists see a real risk that the climate will change rapidly and dramatically over the coming decades and centuries. Can we handle it? 2. If the consequences of a problem are uncertain, do you ignore the problem or do you do something about it anyway? 3. It's not fair (to developing countries).

4. If the whole world starts consuming more and living the good life, can the planet stand the strain? 5. Who has the energy, time, or money left to deal with climate change, when we have so many other problems like poverty, disease, terrorism Economic Solutions Economic Mechanisms Transferable Permits on CO2 Idea is to set a quantitative limit on the global emissions

of a greenhouse gas and then allow emissions permits to be traded like ordinary goods and services. A conceptually identical approach is being used in the US to limit the production of CFCs and SOx. Proven to be cost-effective, but hard to monitor. Reductions in CH4 may be an effective start. Carbon tax has same result in the end as Cap and Trade Focus on Carbon Tax Could reduce global warming and use of fossil fuels. Would have to include all fossil fuels.

Who gets the revenue? (Domestic or international)? If international, who dispenses it? Still, an effective way to remove CO2 from the air. Such a fuel tax is regressive. New taxes may not be offset by reductions elsewhere. Moneys raised may not be used for environmental purposes. Cannot predict response to it. Would raise the price of crude oil. Would have to be monitored carefully. Hard to implement during an economic recession.

A Sustainable Energy Future 1. Taxes on non-renewable (fossil) fuels. 2. Economic incentives to reduce fossil fuel wastes. 3. Fines and penalties for polluters. 4. Legislation to mandate reduced emissions. 5. Conservation and efficiency 6. Research On renewable energy sources, especially solar Batteries for solar electric power and electric autos. Long-distance, low-loss electric power transmission. 7. International Agreements -- U.S. should join and lead.

8. Personal lifestyle choices and changes Mass transit and national transportation planning. Bicycles and walking. Meatless meals. Stabilization Wedges, Socolow and Pacala

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