The Week That Was
April 3, 2004

1. New on the Web: DAVID LEGATES ATTACKS THE HOCKEYSTICK, ONE OF THE PILLARS OF THE 2001 IPCC REPORT, WHICH USES IT AS EVIDENCE FOR ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING. Independent evidence against the Hockeystick is also presented in a more recent paper by Esper, Frank and Wilson in Eos, v. 85, pp.113, 120, 23 March 2004.



Germany raises doubts over EU's Kyoto policy
Kyoto Stumbles in Europe


No Evidence for Pesticide Threat
Methyl Bromide: No Threat to Ozone Layer


2. Climate Models Flawed: New Evidence

Research by Ken Minschwaner, an atmospheric physicist at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and Andrew Dessler of the University of Maryland suggests that global warming may be less severe than models predict.
Their results, published in the Journal of Climate (v. 17, 1272-1282, 2004), showed that as Earth's surface warms, water vapor in the upper atmosphere rises. But the amount of water vapor they found fell short of the level typical of computer simulations used to predict future warming trends.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates Earth's climate could warm 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the next century, driven by greenhouse gases emitted by fossil-fueling burning. The new research raises questions about the high end of that range but supports the idea that some warming will occur.
SEPP Comment: The model-predicted future warming depends crucially on an assumed positive feedback from upper tropospheric water vapor (UTWV). Some have suggested that the feedback may actually be negative. The new result, based on satellite measurements of UTWV is potentially quite important but not yet conclusive since it covers only the tropics region. It does suggest, however, that conventional models do an incomplete job of simulating important atmospheric processes.

3. Solar Activity And Arctic Climate

Letter in THE HILL TIMES, MARCH 22, 2004
My colleague and fellow paleoclimatologist, Dr. K. Gajewski, University of Ottawa, Department of Geography, correctly points out that there is close to a consensus in the scientific community that climate change is real ("Small, vocal group of scientists against Kyoto," March 15, 2004), and is having impacts on the Arctic that are unprecedented in the past century.

However, I am compelled to disagree that there is a consensus of scientists who agree that this is the consequence of human activities. While the melting of permafrost, retreat of glaciers and waning of the permanent ice pack may be alarming, it is only alarming to those unfamiliar with past changes in climate in the North. Paleoclimatologists recognize such events as part of natural changes wholly unrelated to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. In fact, the waxing and waning of ice shelves, along with glaciers, ice caps and pack ice are largely related to changes in solar inputs.

Arctic paleoclimatologists are very familiar with the Holocene "hypsithermal" event - a warm period some five to 10 thousand years ago that caused widespread retreat of permafrost and changes in vegetation patterns. Indeed, we have shown that Arctic summer temperatures at that time were five to eight degrees warmer than today. Polar bears and those lower on the Arctic food chain survived, as they will with the current warming.

As for 20th century warming, climatologists and paleoclimatologists alike agree that we are observing a solar-driven climb out of the Little Ice Age. In fact, most of the modern warming trend began prior to any substantial increase in CO2. Recent glacier retreats, breakup of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf on the north coast of Ellesmere Island, and permafrost degradation have been in the making since the end of this Little Ice Age. We know that the Little Ice Age was an artifact of solar variability, with key intervals of maximum cooling corresponding to historically documented minimums in solar activity when no sunspot activity was recorded. The cosmogenic isotopes, 10Be in ice cores and 14C in tree rings, are measures of solar activity, and they faithfully correlate with sunspots and with climate.

The return to warmer conditions began in the late 1800s (when ships managed to sail the Northwest Passage for the first time), and we find solar activity has greatly increased since this time, with sunspot numbers now at all-time highs. However, the scientific basis for climate change is poorly presented in the media. That The New York Times published rubbish about ice leads on the northern ice cap appearing for the first time in 50 million years is totally irresponsible (the Times was finally shamed into publishing a retraction). That portion of the scientific community that attributes climate warming to CO2 relies on the hypothesis that increasing CO2, which is in fact a minor greenhouse gas, triggers a much larger water vapour response to warm the atmosphere. This mechanism has never been tested scientifically beyond the mathematical models that predict extensive warming, and are confounded by the complexity of cloud formation - which has a cooling effect.

On the contrary, the role of solar activity on climate warming has been observed in real data sets collected at many different time scales. All are consistent in showing a relationship between changes in solar activity and temperature. Before spending futile billions on Kyoto implementation measures, perhaps we should pay more attention to the role that the sun plays. We know that it was responsible for climate change in the past, and so is clearly going to play the lead role in present and future climate change. And interestingly... solar activity has recently begun a downward cycle.

Dr. Ian Clark
Professor, Department of Earth Sciences
University of Ottawa


4. Europe's Cold Sweat Over Kyoto

Germany raises doubts over EU's Kyoto policy

BRUSSELS, March 26 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Friday Europe should not rush into enforcing targets to curb greenhouse emissions if Russia fails to sign the Kyoto treaty on climate change, warning it could harm industry.

The European Union has set a 2005 start date for measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming. But critics say the Kyoto Protocol's strict requirements may hamper Europe's effort to boost its economic competitiveness.

EU leaders renewed their commitment to economic reforms to boost competitiveness as well as to the early entry into force of the Kyoto treaty in a joint statement at a Brussels summit. Russia, whose support is vital to reach a quorum for the treaty to enter into force, has angered the EU by suggesting it may not sign before the 2005 deadline.

"We hope that Kyoto will be ratified, for example by Russia," Schroeder told a news conference. "But if that doesn't happen, it will distort competition at the expense of European and especially German economy." Without giving a direct answer, he asked: "What happens with the emissions trading system if Kyoto is not ratified?"

EU diplomats say German concerns are shared by Italy, Spain and Denmark. These countries fear that without Russia, the cost of the EU's emissions-cutting scheme will shoot up. Under Kyoto, the EU must cut its greenhouse gas output -- an inevitable result of burning fossil fuels like oil and gas -- by eight percent of 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

To help reach these targets, the EU has designed an international emissions trading scheme, due to start in 2005. Plants in each member state will be granted tradeable carbon dioxide certificates, which allow them to generate a set amount of the polluting gas. If a company exceeds its limit, it can avoid a stiff fine by buying permits from someone with a surplus, thus creating a secondary market. Experts say if Russia joins, the cost of traded emissions will drop as Moscow, whose industrial output fell dramatically in the 1990s, will flood the market with emission credits. If it does not join, countries that have banned "clean" nuclear power, such as Italy, or are phasing it out, as in case of Germany, will face higher costs.
German economics minister Wolfgang Clement arguing against environment minister Trittin: "China in one year emits 30 times the CO2 we are supposed to save by 2012"

(Berliner Zeitung March 21, 2004)4
At the same time, the leading German weekly SPIEGEL-(March 29) carried an unusually critical article about wind energy "The Wind Mill Craze: From Environmentally Friendly Energy To The Highly Subsidized Ruin Of The Landscape"
Europe's Cold Sweat Over Kyoto

The erratic weather of recent years in Europe, from devastating floods to lengthy heat waves, has convinced many on the Continent that human-induced climate change is no mere theory. Then why are so many European Union leaders getting cold feet about doing something about global warming?

Because despite the change in weather patterns and Europe's green rhetoric, the EU faces a reality check on March 31, the day each member nation must submit a plan for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The projected costs, as well as the likely loss of economic competitiveness with the United States, has the EU wondering if it can virtually go it alone in implementing the Kyoto Protocols on climate change. The Protocol has yet to take effect as a binding treaty since the US and Russia won't sign on, and China and India were given a pass for now.

In Germany, the EU's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the government has been in a crisis over details of its plan. Last week at an EU summit, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder asked the body to slow down implementation but was rebuffed by France. All he won was a request for a cost-benefit study on "environmental and competitiveness considerations" in meeting Kyoto's strict targets.

No EU government had submitted a plan by last week, although seven of the 15 have drafts. Many governments are as troubled as Germany's, with the result that the European Commission sent out a warning that failure to submit a plan on time could result in legal action and fines.

The required plans are only for setting up an official trading system that would allow companies to buy and sell permits to emit greenhouse gases, starting in 2005. Each government would be given emission allowances, which could be traded in a market system. A company could either meet a target or else purchase a "credit" from cleaner companies and keep on polluting. The scheme is designed to meet the EU's promise of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by 8 percent of 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

But Europe's auto and electric industries recently warned of a slowdown in growth if they are forced to invest in clean energy technologies. The warnings come as the EU has acknowledged that it's falling further behind in its plan to match the US in productivity, employment, and growth.

Those kinds of warnings about slow growth are what compelled the US Senate, and President Bush, to reject Kyoto. If Europe now backpedals, the global effort to influence climate change will be driven mainly by the market, as car buyers and the auto industry choose to become less polluting. And Europe will lose its claim to global leadership in pushing Kyoto.

It could just be that government inducements, such as tax credits, may be preferable over tough regulation on greenhouse gases. But then, would that pace of change be fast enough to slow down climate change? The science is not clear yet on whether the temperature trend could be reversed even if the whole world went full bore to reaching Kyoto's targets.

At the least, this EU debate over Kyoto's trade-offs will set a useful precedent for the rest of the world on whether it too can balance economic sacrifice against a collective will to curb human changes to Earth's atmosphere.
SEPP Comment: As we have pointed out repeatedly, Kyoto is quite ineffective in slowing a putative global warming. Europe should be grateful to George Bush (and to Putin) for not going along with Kyoto -- which is keeping it from becoming legally binding.

Kyoto Stumbles in Europe
From Environment Daily 1639, 30/03/04

European Kyoto Protocol supporters and skeptics clashed on Tuesday over climate change policies as the chances of more than a handful of EU-15 states meeting the 31 March deadline for submitting national allocation plans under Europe's emission trading scheme appeared to fade.

Germany insisted it would deliver its plan on time, even though key details were finalised only on Monday evening. Britain, which has been a race leader in the preparation process, made a surprise admission on Monday that it now needs a further two weeks. Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden have yet even to issue drafts. Environmental group WWF expressed concern over the process. Many plans that have emerged "have been severely weakened due to government inaction and powerful industry pressure", it said. "If governments fail to set credible targets now, emissions will continue to rise and they will have to slash them even harder during the next phase of Kyoto emissions trading in 2008."

London-based NGO the International Policy Network claimed instead that governments' nervousness scheme was justified. "The political realities now being faced by Britain, Germany and France are only a sample of future problems... Faced with low growth and rising unemployment, and the need to remain competitive, the choice is clear: No go to Kyoto," it said.

Meanwhile, carbon brokerage firm Evolution markets warned on Monday that uncertainty over the allowance allocation process across Europe was having a profound impact on the EU emission trading market. After rumours last week that Germany's plan would be unambitious the price of emission allowances collapsed from over ˆ13 per tonne to ˆ8.25 on Monday, it noted. Whether the European Commission will challenge over-generous plans "will be critical to the success of the scheme", it added. (See attached file: IPN media release - Kyoto Stumbles.doc)

Kyoto stumbles at first European hurdle
IPN media release: 30 March 2004

NGO says EU citizens will gain from Member States confronting the stark realities of their commitments to an 'unsustainable' Kyoto Protocol.

Britain announced on Monday, 29 March, that it will miss the first EU deadline of 31 March for submitting its plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, part of the Kyoto Protocol. France, Denmark, Greece and other member states will also miss the deadline. Germany has drastically reduced its initial aspirations, which were driven by the environmental lobby.

These countries' qualms are justified, says London-based NGO, International Policy Network (IPN). "The potential benefits of the Kyoto Protocol are extremely uncertain, mainly because its effects on climate will be negligible and its costs will be extremely high for consumers and EU employees," says Kendra Okonski, Director of IPN's Sustainable Development Project. "It is high time that EU politicians face the economic reality of their dogged commitment to a failed and unsustainable treaty," she concluded.

Studies suggest that during the first Kyoto commitment period (2008-2012) EU consumers could see rapid increases in their living costs. Food, durable goods, transport, heating and cooling would all be more expensive because all energy (not just oil and gas) would be more expensive. Other studies suggest that by 2020, up to 390,000 jobs could be lost in the UK alone.

In recent weeks, many European organisations and government ministers have indicated that the EU's commitment to Kyoto is misguided since the treaty lacks participation by Russia or the United States. Neither country has ratified the treaty due to similar concerns about its effect on their respective economies and citizens.

Studies show that if EU states continue to implement Kyoto's emissions targets, the increased costs to businesses would be passed on to consumers. Combined with the increased costs in energy, the average EU citizen would see a sharp reduction in the buying power of their wage packet. Companies may ultimately move their investment elsewhere, leading to substantial EU-wide job losses.

These political realities now being faced by Britain, France and Germany are only a sample of future problems, and hence their legitimate backsliding on Kyoto commitments. Faced with low growth and rising unemployment, and the need to remain competitive, the choice is clear: No go to Kyoto.
(1) For more detailed information see "The impact of EU climate change policy on economic competitiveness", produced by Brussels-based International Council for Capital Formation:
5. ENRON and Kyoto
by Gordon Prather

You've probably heard the bad news about Enron going down in flames. But maybe Enron's spectacular fall from grace will cause the carbon-dioxide emissions reduction program, mandated by the Kyoto Protocol, to also take a kamikaze dive, and that's good news.

About 20 years ago, Enron basically was an owner and operator of an interstate network of natural gas pipelines. But, as a result of recent congressional deregulation acts, interstate transporters of both gas and electricity have become "common carriers." They transport a commodity - which they frequently do not own - from supplier to consumer for a fee, fixed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Well, being a fixed-fee common carrier is not sexy. Who would buy that company's stock?

Yet, just before it went down in flames last year, Enron had become a sexy Wall Street high-flyer. Enron had transformed itself into a billion dollar a day commodity trader, buying and selling contracts - and their derivatives - to deliver natural gas, electricity, Internet bandwidth, whatever. In the early 1990s, Enron had even helped establish the market for - and became the major trader in - EPA's $20 billion-per-year sulfur dioxide "cap and trade" program.

The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to put a "cap" on how much pollutant the operator of a fossil-fueled plant was allowed to emit. Suppose that after being assigned a cap by the EPA, the operator then installed equipment - or switched to fuel - that reduced his emissions below that cap. The EPA then allowed him to sell that excess "allowance" to the highest bidder.

Who would want to buy that EPA allowance? Well, the operator of another fossil-fueled plant, who, for whatever reason, was unable to operate his plant within his own EPA cap.
What if the allowance the seller has to sell is not exactly the amount the buyer needs to buy? Aha. Establish a "commodity" exchange, wherein emission allowances - denominated in so many tons of pollutant reduction - can be bought and sold by speculators, just as if they were warehouse receipts for bales of cotton or barrels of oil.

Well, Enron became the major trader in the sulfur dioxide "cap and trade" programs and Enron's stock began to rise. What next? How about a carbon dioxide cap and trade program? Well, there was a problem. CO2 is not a pollutant, and therefore, EPA has no authority to cap its emission. Without a cap there is no basis for determining either ownership of the commodity or its value.

How about getting EPA to just "certify" CO2-emission reductions for projects and see if the markets think that unofficial certification is worth anything?
In 1993, almost immediately upon taking office, the Clinton-Gore administration set up the U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation program, run by an interagency group co-chaired by the EPA and the Energy Department. All during the Clinton-Gore administration the USIJI solicited applications for projects sited all around the world that could reduce CO2 emissions. The USIJI would review each project proposal and then "credit" the project with so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction.

What the USIJI tried to do - without authorization - all during the Clinton-Gore administration was essentially what the Kyoto Protocol would have required, in law. Kyoto would have placed CO2 emission caps on nation-states, and established an international entity like the USIJI to review individual project proposals for reducing emissions and then award Certified Emission Reduction credits. Since - by treaty - there would have been an enforceable cap, the CERs awarded to the project would have had value, and could then be traded.
Of course, that's what Enron wanted, something it could trade. So Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking either EPA regulatory authority over CO2 or U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Whatever.

Enron even lobbied candidate George Bush and thought it had got him to commit to EPA regulation of CO2 emissions. Wrong. No regulation of CO2 emissions by Dubya's EPA. And no compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

So, Enron intensified its lobbying efforts last year with Bush-Cheney to get support for some kind of voluntary CO2 emission-reduction program. And last year, trading over the Internet by Enron and other traders did begin of these voluntary CERs.

Now, there is no evidence that any of Enron's commodity trading was the reason it went down in flames, but seeing that it has, it would be a good thing if this whole CO2 emission reduction cap and trade business now did an empathetic kamikaze dive, too.


6. Ozone agreement faces challenge

By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent
Published: 2004/03/26

A plea by developed countries to be allowed to go on using a gas that destroys ozone is being debated at an international meeting in Canada.

They want the meeting of signatories to the ozone protection treaty, the Montreal Protocol, to allow continued use of methyl bromide. The gas, a pesticide for fumigating crops, damages the ozone layer. It was due to be phased out by 2005, and critics say reprieving it could badly damage the 1987 Montreal Protocol.

The Earth's thin layer of ozone protects all living things against harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, which can cause cancer and blindness and damage the immune system.

Industrial gases, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons, had been eating away at the layer until the ozone "hole" was discovered above Antarctica in the 1980s.

The Montreal Protocol does allow continued use of ozone-destroying gases for purposes agreed to be "critical". The US is asking at the meeting, also in Montreal, for "critical use exemptions" which environmental groups say would in fact expand its use of methyl bromide.

Other countries pressing for similar exemptions include Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The use of the gas had been cut to 30% of the high 1991 levels.

Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Programme, said: "We need to see a commitment to a declining trajectory for methyl bromide. Otherwise we're left with a job unfinished.

"If this happens it may send the wrong signal, and so other aspirations and goals like delivering safe and sufficient drinking water in the Third World, reversing the loss of the world's wildlife, and fighting global warming can also be put on hold."

David Doniger, of a US lobby group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, said of the American request: "It's the first time any country has proposed to reverse the phase-out and increase the production of a chemical that's supposed to be eliminated."

Some environmentalists believe the US administration is acting under pressure from the powerful farming lobby in key electoral states like California.
No Evidence for Pesticide Threat
Letter to Editor, Financial Times, March 30, 2004

Sir, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom tries to make a case for eliminating the production and use of the uniquely important pesticide methyl bromide as a "last chance to protect the ozone layer" (FT, 25 March). However, her argument lacks any scientific base.

According to the latest UN-WMO assessment report, about two-thirds of all MeBr emitted into the atmosphere comes from natural sources, mainly from the oceans. If human-produced MeBr were really making a contribution to ozone destruction, we should be seeing a gradual increase of bromine in the stratosphere. We are not aware of any such evidence. Additionally, MeBr has such a short lifetime, measured in days rather than years, that its chance of reaching the stratosphere is minute. By the same token, if ever it is found to cause a problem for ozone, its production can be stopped without any lasting effects.

S Fred Singer
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences,
University of Virginia

Methyl Bromide: No Threat to Ozone Layer
Letter to Editor, Financial Times, April 3, 2004

From Prof S Fred Singer
Sir, Margot Wallstrom, the European Union environment commissioner, dances around the facts and ignores relevant scientific data ("Evidence is growing that methyl bromide damages the ozone layer" FT, 1 April). There has never been any evidence that methyl bromide, an essential agricultural pesticide, damages the ozone layer. In theory, MeBr may well be 60 times more effective than CFCs in destroying ozone - but only if it can reach the ozone layer at around 20 km. There is no observational support whatever for this in the UN report she cites. On the contrary, it confirms that the atmospheric lifetime of MeBr is measured in days not years -- far too short to reach the stratosphere.

The same UN report informs us that ozone has not been declining for at least a decade, despite continuing emissions of MeBr. And we still have not observed an actual rising trend in ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surface - anticipated from theory and much hyped. All this makes the widely touted "success" of the Montreal Protocol ring a bit hollow.


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