The Week That Was
Oct. 23, 2004





No to Kyoto!
Kyoto Challenge Has Just Begun


7. And yet another scare: AID AGENCIES' WARNING ON CLIMATE



2. Electricite De France (EDF) To Build Nuclear Prototype

David Gow in Brussels
The Guardian, October 22, 2004

Europe's nuclear power industry yesterday won an important boost when Electricité de France, the state-owned French electricity group, announced it would build a prototype €3bn next-generation plant on the Normandy coast.

France, which depends on nuclear power for 80% of its energy, is to build a new atomic reactor, which EDF says is safer, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than those in use.

The French decision to go ahead with the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) comes as Britain, spurred by Tony Blair, is rethinking the nuclear option in the face of soaring oil prices, dwindling North Sea oil and gas reserves, and slow progress in developing renewables.

In a move that horrified anti-nuclear campaigners, Pierre Gadonneix, chairman of EDF, said the group would seek swift planning permission for the first EPR it plans to build at Flamanville, southwest of Cherbourg. It will be built on the same site as an existing nuclear plant.,3604,1333064,00.html

Writes Bruno Comby, president of EFN (Ecologists for Nuclear Energy)

In 2005 and 2006, administrative procedures will take place, before the construction starts in 2007. The reactor should be in operation by 2012.

The 58 existing French nuclear reactors are to be replaced starting in 2020. This lead-unit EPR reactor is meant to validate the new EPR concept and design, before building a series of EPR's to replace the 58 existing reactors. The EPR is not a revolutionary reactor, but an optimized version of the pressurized water reactors in operation today, who already work very well and are quite clean and very safe.

The EPR is a EUROPEAN project, putting together the best European technologies. Born from the very start of a Franco-German cooperation (between Framatome and Siemens, now united in Areva), the first EPR was bought in 2003 by Finland, a country with a high reputation of ecological consciousness, and is planned to be operating in 2010. The new EPR in Flamanville will be owned and operated by a European consortium comprising, in addition to EDF, several other partners. Belgium, Spain and Italy, among others, seem to be interested and are considering a participation in the consortium.

The French EPR is not subsidized by the French authorities or other hidden subsidies (contrary to renewable energies, which should also be developed, but produce only minute quantities of energy, in an inconstant manner, and cannot be developed without strong and continued financial backing).

3. Global Warming Row Goes Nuclear As Bishop Quits Friends Of The Earth
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
The Independent, 22 October 2004

He's the nearest thing Britain has to an eco-bishop, having campaigned on environmental issues for more than 30 years. Yet now the Right Rev Hugh Montefiore, the former Bishop of Birmingham, has been kicked off the board of Friends of the Earth (FoE), the leading environmental group, for saying publicly that the fight against global warming should involve using nuclear power.

The outspoken prelate, one of the most colourful figures in the Church of England, has been a FoE trustee for two decades, and chaired the group from 1992 to 1998. But in an extraordinary and acrimonious row, he has been forced to sever his links with the organisation because of an article on climate change that he has written for tomorrow's edition of The Tablet, the Catholic weekly. In it, Bishop Montefiore says that the dangers of global warming are greater than any others facing the planet, and that the solution is to make more use of nuclear energy.

In doing so he becomes the second major green figure this year to advocate a radical step that is deeply unpalatable to most of the environmental movement, which opposes nuclear power as almost an article of faith. It was first put forward in May by James Lovelock, the independent scientist and green guru behind the celebrated Gaia hypothesis (the idea that the whole earth behaves like a single living organism).

Writing in The Independent, Professor Lovelock set off an international argument when he said that climate change was now proceeding so fast that there was simply not enough time for renewable energy, such as wind, wave and solar power - the green movement's favoured solution - to take the place of conventional power stations burning fossil fuels. Only a huge expansion of nuclear energy could check a possible runaway warming which would be disastrous for the world, he said.

Bishop Montefiore's article for The Tablet comes to the same conclusion in a similar way. He writes: "The real reason why the Government has not taken up the nuclear option is because it lacks public acceptance, due to scare stories in the media and the stonewalling opposition of powerful environmental organisations. Most, if not all, of the objections do not stand up to objective assessment."

"I have been a trustee of FoE for 20 years and when I told my fellow trustees that I wished to write for The Tablet on nuclear energy, I was told that this is not compatible with being a trustee," he writes. "I have therefore resigned because no alternative was open to me." He adds stingingly: "The future of the planet is more important than membership of Friends of the Earth."


4. Climate Science Advances
discussed by Hans Labohm on TCS Europe Oct 6

First of all, a paper by David Douglass and Fred Singer in the July 9 issue of Geophysical Research Letters argues that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims to have carefully corrected the temperature records for the well-known problem of local ("urban," as opposed to global) warming. But this has always troubled serious scientists. The surface temperature record shows a warming rate of about 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1979. However, there are two other records, one from satellites, and one from weather balloons that tell a different story. Neither annual satellite nor balloon trends differ significantly from zero since the start of the satellite record in 1979.

Another interesting paper is that of Jos de Laat and Ahilleas Maurellis of the Earth Oriented Science Division at the National Institute for Space Research in the Netherlands. They posit that local surface changes caused by industrialization account for a significant portion of global temperature increases in recent decades. They published their findings in Geophysical Research Letters 31 (2004). Their key conclusion:

"We speculate that the observed surface temperature changes might be a result of local surface heating processes and not related to radiative greenhouse gas forcing."

A third relevant contribution is a paper by M. L. Khandekar, T.S. Murty and P. Chittibabu, to be published in Pure & Applied Geophysics in October 2004, which comprises most of the critical literature on global warming. This review suggests that the dissenting view offered by the skeptics or opponents of global warming appears much more credible than the supporting view put forth by the proponents. Furthermore, the authors argue that the projections of future climate change over the next 50 to 100 years are based on insufficiently verified climate models and are therefore not considered reliable at this point in time.

5. Russian Duma Ratifies Kyoto Climate Treaty

Oct 22, 2004
MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Russia's lower house of parliament ratified the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming Friday, putting the sweeping environmental pact firmly on the road to realization.

The State Duma voted 334-73 to approve the treaty, which gives industrialized nations eight years to cut their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels.
Once approved by Russia's upper house and President Vladimir Putin -- which is all but expected -- the pact will have been ratified by the necessary 55 countries that accounted for at least 55 percent of global emissions in 1990.

Although presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov has fiercely opposed ratifying the pact, Putin vowed to speed up the ratification process in May in return for the European Union's support of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization.

First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov has said restrictions of greenhouse gas emissions imposed by the pact wouldn't affect Russia's economic growth in the near future. Even after a five-year economic recovery, the collapse of Soviet-era industry in the 1990s has left emissions some 30 percent below the baseline. Zhukov has said Russia would try to negotiate terms for its participation in cutting emissions after 2012.

In an interview last week with a German newspaper, Russia's minister for economic development and trade, German Gref, said the Kyoto Protocol should provide the means to reduce wasteful energy consumption by increasing investment in Russian industry.

He indicated that he also wants to use the pact to help modernize Russian industry. The mechanism offers the opportunity to any developed country to achieve part of its Kyoto commitment by investing in emissions reduction projects in other developed countries to get carbon credits. A top candidate for such help would be Russia's electricity monopoly, Unified Energy System, which produces nearly 30 percent of total Russian emissions.

Kyoto would "open up the possibility of significantly solving (Russia's) problems of energy efficiency, energy supply and adaptation to climatic changes by receiving in fact free international resources."

No to Kyoto!
USA Today (Oct 21, 2004)
By S. Fred Singer

In July 1997 the US Senate voted 95:0 for the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, opposing any international treaty that would damage the US economy by restricting the use of energy -- raising the cost of fuels for transportation, heating and electricity. This unanimous vote included Senator John Kerry -- and also John McCain and Joe Lieberman, who are currently advocating just such restrictions. But Robert Byrd and Chuck Hagel are right: A treaty obligating developed nations but not China, India, Brazil and Mexico would produce huge US job losses as industries moved overseas.

However, because of the initiative of then-Vice President Al Gore, the US signed just such a treaty, the protocol negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December1997. But President Bill Clinton never submitted it for Senate ratification. And George Bush has consistently declared Kyoto "fatally flawed." Neither Bush nor the Senate has pointed out, however, that Kyoto is not only costly and unfair to the US, but also completely ineffective in averting a feared Global Warming. Scientists all agree that at best it would reduce the calculated temperature rise in 2050 by an insignificant one-tenth of a degree.

Russia has been more outspoken. The Russian Academy of Sciences, in its May 2004 report, questioned the reality of a substantial future warming - concluding that Kyoto lacks any scientific base. President Vladimir Putin declared Kyoto "scientifically flawed" and intimated that Russia would not ratify.

Yet, ironically, the Duma will likely ratify before the end of the year, making Kyoto binding on all ratifiers. Why? The reason may be short-term economic gain, as the Protocol permits selling Russia's unused emission rights to Europeans nations anxious to ease the economic penalties of Kyoto's energy restrictions.. Russia's economic collapse after 1990 nearly halved its emissions -- and the base year chosen for Kyoto is 1990. This arbitrary choice also favors Germany, which took over a faltering East German economy, and Britain, which switched its electric generation from coal to natural gas -- at about that time.

The US would lose out -- and maybe that's why our economic competitors are so anxious to get us to ratify Kyoto.
S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and the author of "Hot Talk Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate" (Independent Institute, Oakland CA, 1999)

Kyoto Challenge Has Just Begun
Nature 431, 613 (07 October 2004); doi:10.1038/431613a

A move by Russia to support the Kyoto Protocol should usher in an era of international collaboration in mitigating climate change. Validating emissions trading and bringing developing economies into the fold are the next priorities.

Russia's climate politics are something of a mystery to outsiders, but the Russian government has reportedly decided to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, and approval by the parliament should be a formality. Thus the last obstacle to the protocol's coming into force is set to be removed.

The decision is emerging in a way that lacks conviction from Russia's political and scientific elite (see Nature 431, 12-13; 2004 </cgi-taf/DynaCitation.taf?id=N1&jtl=NATURE&cd_year=2004&vid=431&ppf=12&ppl=13> ), and the country's Kyoto sceptics can still delay matters. What is important, however, is that the first multilaterally binding climate-protection regime now seems certain to see the light of day.

Even more important is the need to tackle the treaty's limitations. The legal force behind some of its key rules - including penalties for countries emitting more greenhouse gases than they should - is questionable. And excess emitters have little to fear: compensation for emissions at a later date could be endlessly postponed.

Another penalty is suspension from emissions trading. But whether the creation of an international emissions market - essential to reduce the costs of implementing the protocol - will provide an efficient tool for reducing 'hot air' is yet to be seen. It will soon be tested in the European Union (EU), where emissions trading is set to begin in January. The EU's political leaders, who have pressed ahead despite reservations from large European industries, would be delighted if the Kyoto Protocol were to come into effect then.

Many details of the treaty still await clarification. But its true significance is its potential to establish confidence in the practicability of a complex international climate-protection agreement. In particular, Russia's participation will greatly increase the scope for buying and selling emissions rights, and for gaining credits for exporting 'clean development' technologies - key issues for European, Canadian and Japanese industries concerned about the fairness and liquidity of the international emissions market. Whether emissions can be checked against permitted levels remains a key technical challenge.

Russia's ratification should provide a push towards future climate negotiations, and may even prompt the next US administration to take a constructive role. And the authority and credibility of the International Panel on Climate Change can only benefit as well.

The problem of global warming is here to stay, however. Fossil fuels still account for some 90% of the world's energy consumption and are still in abundant supply. Hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries have more spending power, and their consumption is surging, pushing up their energy demand. Any emissions control strategy is therefore ultimately doomed to fail without the inclusion of tomorrow's mega-economies, which are exempted from the need to cut emissions from 1990 levels. Russia's wobbly goodwill provides a glimmer of hope, but our planet's future climate will be determined, above all, in China and India.

6. Naive Science About Kyoto
Ian Clark
The Ottawa Citizen
15 October 2004

Re: Kyoto deal will take too long, 'do little good', Oct. 11.
Bjorn Lomborg is correct when he asserts that Canada should re-evaluate its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and focus on more pressing issues. However, in relegating climate change to the bottom of the Copenhagen Consensus list, he doesn't go far enough -- it shouldn't be on the list at all.

Unlike malaria, malnutrition, AIDS, political corruption and the other issues addressed by the consensus, the most up-to-date science indicates that global climate is not significantly affected by human activity. It is a natural phenomenon that has occurred ever since Earth has had an atmosphere.
This view is shared by many of the world's leading climate experts and is one of the main reasons Kyoto was rejected by the Russian Academy of Science.

Yet, in his Ottawa presentation, Mr. Lomborg said, "(W)e know eminently well what we should do about climate change. Climate change is in many ways just as simple as HIV-AIDS. HIV-AIDS is handing out condoms; climate change is about cutting carbon emissions. In that way, it's not really rocket science ... It is actually possible to say, if we cut one tonne (of carbon emissions), it will do this much good; if we cut two tonnes, it will do this much good."

This simplistic assessment of climate is scientifically naive. Climate is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon that even the world's best computer models are far from simulating reliably. Further, current research reveals that climate change is closely associated with variations in the output of the sun, not human-produced greenhouse gases.

Our new minister of the environment, Stephane Dion, must acknowledge that expensive plans to "stop climate change" are misguided. Science no longer supports Kyoto and the billions being wasted on this futile endeavour should be diverted to society's other pressing concerns.
Dr. Ian Clark,
Professor, Isotope Hydrogeology and Paleoclimatology
University of Ottawa


7. And yet another scare:
Aid Agencies' Warning On Climate

By Alex Kirby, Environment correspondent, BBC News website

The greenhouse effect could wreck attempts to lift the world's poorest people out of poverty and reverse human progress, campaigners say. A report by a coalition of environment and aid agencies calls for urgent action to avert the threat. The Working Group on Climate Change and Development says industrialised countries must cut carbon emissions massively by mid-century. They must also help developing nations adapt to climate change, it argues.

A report by the coalition, Up In Smoke, says global warming threatens to make the Millennium Development Goals unattainable. They are the internationally agreed targets for halving world poverty by 2015. The report says the warming could "even reverse human development achievements".

The coalition's 17 members include ActionAid, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF. Two other members, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the New Economics Foundation (Nef), organised the report's production, with the involvement of all the rest.

The foreword to the report is by Dr RK Pachauri, director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), India, who also chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He writes: "Most notable as a major issue of concern is the nexus between climate change and the widespread prevalence of poverty in the world. "
SEPP Comment: It seems that Dr Pachauri already knows the conclusions of the 2007 IPCC report. How convenient!

8. Politicisation Of Science And Global Warming
Letter to Editor, Canberra Times
By D. Zivkovic

I draw your attention to the increasing politicisation and misuse of science, with the British government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, warning that the devastating effects of climate change, including floods and storms, could become far more familiar - even though he has no clear evidence of an increasing TREND in severe weather events, and certainly no way to PREDICT such events. No doubt Sir David's warning was timed to coincide with the Greenpeace conference that is being attended by prominent Global Warmist, Tony Blair.

Also, US scientist David Keeling, who has been collecting data on atmospheric CO2 levels at the summit of Mauna Loa mountain in Hawaii, has reported a rise of 2 parts per million in each of the past two years (TWO years being enough to establish an alarming trend!!). Rises of this magnitude have previously occurred in El Nino years (El Nino is a natural phenomenon), so in the absence of El Nino, and the absence of data to explain the increase, and also the absence of any theory on climate, Mr Keeling said ONE explanation for the rise "COULD BE a weakening of the earth's carbon 'sinks' (oceans and forests), associated with the world warming, as part of a climate change feedback mechanism.

Of course, there COULD BE an infinite number of other explanations too, given that climate is a chaotic system that we don't really understand at all, and our best climate models are hopelessly inadequate. Mr Keeling was careful to say "ONE explanation", but of course this will be interpreted as "THE explanation".

9. And finally, A Reply From No.10 Downing Street

Letter sent:
Re.: PM Speech on Climate Change
Why didn't the PM see a psychiatrist before delivering such an idiotic speech?

Otto Wildgruber
Am Tiefen Weg 12
91077 Dormitz

Answer received

Thank you - your comments have now been delivered to the Prime MinisterAs Prime Minister, Mr Blair receives so many letters and e-mails from members of the public that it is impossible for him to reply personally. He received over 1 million letters during 2003. But he does receive regular reports detailing the matters that interest those who contact him. This ensures that he is constantly aware of issues that are important to you.Over time we will be looking to further expand and improve this system, including making it available via other formats such as digital television.
Included below are contact details for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as well as links and further information about the Government's environment policies.



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