Friday, August 30, 2002

Chad Orzel suggests, anent Bjorn Lomborg's critique of environmental activism, finding the middle ground in the debate over the Kyoto treaty on CO2 greenhouse gas reduction:

The real problem, though, is a failure to negotiate. Kyoto's too much for the business community to take? Fine-- make a counter-offer. Pick some level of CO2 emissions that you think can be met with a reasonable expense, and let's do that. That's not enough for the environmentalists? Anything's better than nothing, which is what you're going to get if you insist on Kyoto or nothing...

Which seems perfectly reasonable, except that Lomborg's critique of the Kyoto treaty is that full implementation would do so little to actually reduce CO2 emissions that its effects would barely be measurable, and hardly enough to have any real effect:

The effect of the Kyoto Protocol on the climate would be minuscule, even if it were implemented in full. A model by Tom Wigley, one of the main authors of the reports of the UN Climate Change Panel, shows how an expected temperature increase of 2.1?C in 2100 would be diminished by the treaty to an increase of 1.9?C instead. Or, to put it another way, the temperature increase that the planet would have experienced in 2094 would be postponed to 2100.

Orzel suggests doing environmentalists should compromise on a treaty that does even less. Exactly how would this be worthwhile?


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