April 2002

Taxes, Taxes Everywhere

The New Zealand government has approved a new energy tax to help control greenhouse gas emissions. The tax on vehicle fuel, electricity and natural gas will cost households an average $2.25 per week starting in 2007. The tax will also raise business energy costs by nine percent. New Zealand is expected to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in August.

Several sectors of the economy have been made exempt from the tax, however. High-energy-using export industries will be exempt, but in return for the exemption they will have to take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The farm sector is also exempt from paying taxes on all agriculture-related emissions, but will be required to invest $6.7 million per year to research methods for reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

New Zealand business groups have argued that the governments plan would hurt the economy. “The risk for New Zealand is that we will achieve neither the intended climate change outcomes nor encourage others. Its more likely that our economic, trading and export competitiveness will be damaged,” said Simon Carlaw, Business New Zealand Inc.s chief executive (Reuters, April 30, 2002).

Canada is also considering a gasoline tax. It was reported in the National Post on April 19 that the federal government was considering a tax of 10 Canadian cents per liter, but the rate was denied by Canadas Environment Minister David Anderson. He did say, however, that a gas tax is an option (Reuters, April 26, 2002).

Energy taxes in Germany have raised household energy bills by seven percent over the last year. However, energy bills are still lower than they were before Germany liberalized its energy markets (Reuters, April 30, 2002).

In London, the Royal Society has announced that it will look into what further measures are necessary in order for Britain to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments. A new carbon tax on top of the Climate Change Levy appears to be at the top of the list of likely recommendations (Reuters, April 29, 2002).

Domingo Jimenez-Beltran, the head of the European Environment Agency, told Reuters in an interview published on April 18 that the world needs a global tax on fossil fuels. “Unless you get some global taxation, it will be impossible to tackle the effects of globalization,” Jimenez-Beltran said.

Earlier, Cooler Heads (April 17, 2002) reported that the European Union is planning an EU-wide tax on aviation fuel.

Cap-and-Trade Follies

In a guest commentary for Electricity Daily (April 29, 2002), David Wojick points out some of the serious flaws behind the assumptions underlying cap-and-trade schemes to reduce emissions.

Wojick points out that “emissions allowances” are nothing more than ration coupons that can be bought and sold. The idea of cap-and-trade systems is that all else being equal, “firms with high compliance costs can buy allowances from those with lower costs. If the price is set by the cost of compliance, another big if, the total compliance cost for all firms will be lower than if every firm has to go it alone.”

The assumptions underlying this claim, however, “ignore the complexities of market dynamics in general, and the structure of technology in particular,” said Wojick. The simple equilibrium models used to simulate how a cap-and-trade system might work assume a marginal cost of compliance curve for each facility and add an allowance allocation mechanism. The market clearing price is then calculated and voila, everybody is in compliance at a lower cost.

“But at the facility level,” says Wojick, “the system is hugely lumpy. Existing power plants, plus any new ones, are very large, so emission control systems are also very large, both in cost and in the time it takes to build them. In extreme cases, an emission control system may cost a third as much as the plant itself, and take five years to design, buy, and build. In many cases, there is only one technology option, as far as cost and time are concerned. One either builds or does not.” There is no marginal cost curve for a given facility.

Such a system cannot be optimized even with perfect information, an assumption that makes the models workable, but does not apply in the real world. Limited information about others intentions and future changes in power demand make it impossible for firms to make rational business decisions. “The economic system described above,” says Wojick, “is likely to resemble a commodity system, because both are driven by lumpiness, lack of information, and unpredictability. The dynamics of such systems are shortage glut shortage glut, or glut first, not equilibrium.”

Aussie Power Bills to Include Individual Emissions

In hopes of convincing the households and businesses of Victoria, Australia to change their energy consumption habits, the state government has announced that it will now list individual greenhouse gas emissions on consumers electricity bills. By linking global warming to electricity use, the state believes that it can convince consumers to reduce energy use and switch to renewable energy sources.

According to Victorias Energy and Resources Minister Candy Broad, “Victoria has a large generation from brown coal which makes our electricity very greenhouse-intensive, and thats a very good reason to include this information on the bill to remind people of how they contribute to the states emissions.”

Senate Passes “Energy” Bill Loaded with Global Warming Policies

On April 25, the Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive energy legislation by a vote of 88-11. Ironically, neither Senate Republicans nor Democrats seemed pleased by the end product.

The Senate bill (formerly S. 1766, then S. 517, and finally passed as H. R. 4) has little in common with either the energy bill the House passed last August or the Bush administrations energy plan released in May 2001. Instead of provisions designed to rebuild Americas energy infrastructure and provide more secure and abundant supplies of energy, the key parts of the Senate bill would raise energy prices for consumers and create countless new government programs, offices, agencies, and reports.

Many key parts of global warming bills introduced in the Senate during this Congress are included. Title XI, which in Majority Leader Tom Daschles (D-S.D.) original version provided for a mandatory registry of greenhouse gas emissions, was replaced with a complex amendment offered by Senators Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Sam Brownback (R-Ks.). Their amendment was accepted after an attempt led by Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) to replace the mandatory registry with a voluntary one was withdrawn because it lacked majority support.

The Brownback-Corzine amendment creates a registry of emissions that would be voluntary in name only. Unless 60% of total U.S. GHG emissions are reported within five years, the registry would automatically become mandatory, although farms and feedlots would be exempt. The amendment would require the reporting of indirect as well as direct emissions, which means that automakers, soda bottlers, and brewers are likely to be forced to report emissions from their products.

Among numerous other global warming provisions, the bill re-directs the efforts of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and makes it a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and includes “sense of the Senate” language that supersedes the Senates 1997 Byrd-Hagel resolution.

The Senate-passed version also includes a renewable portfolio standard that requires that ten percent of electricity produced by utilities be generated from non-hydro renewable sources by 2019. Another provision designed to raise energy prices an expanded ethanol mandate that will triple the amount of ethanol required in gasoline by 2012 survived repeated attempts by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to remove or weaken it.

The Senate and House versions of H.R. 4 now go to a conference committee, which will try to produce a compromise bill acceptable to both chambers.

Eileen Claussen, executive director of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a front group for corporations that hope to profit from energy rationing, was elated over the climate provisions in the bill. “This is more activity than we’ve seen on climate change in the Congress, I think, ever, which is a very positive sign,” she said (Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2002).

Vehicle Emissions Bill Passes California Senate Committee

A California Senate Committee has approved, by a vote of 8-3, AB1058, a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from California automobiles. The measure has already passed the California Assembly, and will be voted on by the full Senate as early as next week.

“The bill,” according to Reuters (May 1, 2002), “would require the states Air Resources Board to adopt regulations that would achieve the maximum feasible reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, emitted by cars and light-duty trucks, the category that includes sport utility vehicles.” The bill originally would have required the regulations to be completed by 2005 and would take effect on January 1, 2006, but an amendment to the bill would give automakers until 2009 to comply with the new standards.

Automakers are attacking the bill, arguing that it is a “driving tax” that would severely impact sales of SUVs, which account for 47 percent of the vehicles sold in California. The bills author, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley of Woodland Hills, dismisses the auto industrys complaints. She claims that automakers will have no problem meeting the new standards, noting that Ford will be coming out with a new gas/electric hybrid SUV in the near future. “A lot of automakers have cars in the works that will offset CO2 emissions,” Pavley said.

EU Hits Rio Target, But Likely to Miss Kyoto Target

The European Union has announced that it has reached the greenhouse gas reduction target that it agreed to under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The voluntary target was to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. The EU claims that it reduced its emissions to 3.5 percent below 1990 levels in 2000.

Although the European Commission congratulated itself for the success, it also expressed concern over increases in greenhouse gas emissions between 1999 and 2000. Emissions of carbon dioxide rose by 0.5 percent while emissions of five other greenhouse gases rose by 0.3 percent.

The commission warned that under existing policies the EU would not meet the target it agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol, which is to reduce emissions to eight percent below 1990 levels by the 2008-2012 compliance period.

“All member states except for the United Kingdom project their emissions by 2010 will be above their burden-sharing target under the Kyoto Protocol,” said Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde. “The new EEA [European Environment Agency] data confirm that in the year 2000 most member states were well above their target path to Kyoto.”

The EU has been trying to implement a Europe-wide tax on greenhouse gas emissions for ten years, the latest being a “harmonization” tax that has been under negotiation for three years. A recent agreement between the member states may clear the way for it to be in place by the end of 2002. Other measures awaiting approval by member states are an emission trading scheme, and renewable energy and energy efficiency requirements (BNA Daily Environment Report, April 30, 2002).

Wind Power Meets Air Power

Five planned offshore wind power projects in the United Kingdom have run into a difficult snag. The Ministry of Defense has decided that the projects would interfere with military flights and radar. According to the British Wind Energy Association, if the Ministry of Defense successfully blocks the wind projects, then it would have a serious impact on the countrys ability to meet its renewable energy goals.

“If they are built, the 18 sites would provide more than one percent of the U.K. electricity supply,” said BWEA communications chief Alison Hill. “The governments own legal requirement is that 10 percent of its electricity is from renewable energy by 2010. It is widely expected that wind power and offshore will provide half of that.”

BWEA claims that by applying radar-reflective paint the projects will pose no problem for the military (Reuters, April 24, 2002).

An article appearing in the April 19 issue of Science looks at how accurately climate models are able to reproduce current and past climate. What the authors conclude is that the models do a decent job of simulating the observed data, but that the data itself may not be that good.

“We can now test how well climate models simulate century-scale variations in the observed climate record,” say the authors, Thomas Smith, Thomas Karl and Richard Reynolds, at the National Climatic Data Center. “There have been numerous intercomparisons of various climate model simulations of 20th-century climate, based on the best available estimates of the climate forcing.”

It is assumed that these simulations closely reproduce observed climate variability, but, “This assumption mustbe viewed with caution,” say the authors. “Observational errors, sampling errors, and time-dependent biases degrade the climate record.” Although researchers have attempted to remove these errors, there are still problems.

The authors compare the errors in the computer models with the errors in the observed temperature record of worldwide sea surface temperatures (SSTs) which stretch back to the 19th century. To illustrate model errors the authors run three separate computer simulations with identical forcings, but starting at different initial conditions. By doing this they were able to “estimate the magnitude of the uncertainty introduced by a chaotic climate system.”

For the observed temperature record the authors calculated the uncertainty by comparing the range of SSTs derived from different observational errors, sampling errors and time-dependent bias adjustments. “The errors in analyzed SSTs,” say the authors, “are comparable to the uncertainty estimate associated with climate chaos over much of the 20th century.”

They conclude, “Todays models are thus within the observed uncertainty of the observations, at least with respect to the global SST record. This does not imply that the model simulations are perfect; rather, it indicates that more attention must be given to improving the records of past climate and ensuring that future climate records have little or no time-dependent biases.

“It is unsettling that the uncertainty related to treatment of the data is increasing in recent decades in the most-sampled oceans. This points to the importance of developing a global observing system that not only has good spatial coverage, but more importantly, strictly adheres to guidelines and principles articulated by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.”


  • In an April 21 editorial in the New York Times, former Vice President Al Gore called Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the new chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a “lets drag our feet candidate who is known for his virulent anti-American statements.”

Dr. Pachauri responded in a letter to the editor in the May 1 New York Times, stating, “Mr. Gores derogatory statements about me reflect a deep disappointment at my election as chairman of the [IPCC], with 76 votes for me against 49 for his protg, Dr. Robert T. Watson.

“In a 1999 speech, Mr. Gore, referring to my commitment, vision and dedication, said; Pachy is the one person in the world who could bring us all here. He is known all over the community of concerned men and women as someone with the intellect and the heart.

“In Earth in the Balance, Mr. Gore acknowledged me among the other scientists who have been helpful in giving me advice during the writing of this book.

“Would the real Al Gore stand up? Does what he says today hold no value tomorrow?”


  • The Cooler Heads Coalition together with the Science and Environmental Policy Project and Frontiers of Freedom will hold a briefing on “Whatever Happened to Global Warming?” on Monday, May 13, from Noon to 2 PM in Room B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Speakers will include John Daly, who runs the highly regarded Still Waiting for Greenhouse web site in Australia, and climate scientists from Europe and North America. Lunch will be served. Attendance is free of charge, but reservations are required. Please contact Ericka Joyner of CEI at (202) 331-1010, ext. 267, or e-mail her at ejoyner@cei.org. Include your name, affiliation, and phone number.

EU Wants an Air Tax

A European Union plan to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights would force air passengers to pay up to $72 per ticket. As noted by Londons Times (April 4, 2002), “The charge could be imposed on all airlines within two years, adding 50 [$72] to the cost of flying from London to California, 35 [$50] to flights to New York and between 5 and 10 [$7 and $14] to flights within Europe.”

Previous attempts to tax airlines were frustrated because airlines simply threatened to change their routes to “fill up” in countries where there is no tax. But the new plan would be implemented throughout the EU to encourage airlines to purchase more fuel efficient airplanes and to discourage people from flying.

Tim Johnson, of the Aviation Environment Federation coalition of environmental groups, said the levy would simply discourage nonessential flights. “Offering flights to Dublin for 8 [$11.50] return is creating demand that wouldnt be there if the price was more realistic.”

But Greener by Design, a lobby group that opposes the tax, said, “This is nothing other than a holiday tax on poor people and those who pay fares out of pocket would suffer the most.”

British Emissions Scheme Flawed

Serious questions are being raised about the validity of greenhouse gas reductions under Great Britains new emissions trading scheme. The program got underway with an auction in which the government offered a price for each ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) reduced. Participating companies then bid by offering greenhouse gas reductions at the offered price.

According to a report by UK-based Environmental Data Services, however, “There are strong grounds for suspecting that at least half and possibly much more of the claimed emission reductions are either not real, or would have been delivered anyway.” What this means is that some of the companies involved in the program may be the beneficiaries of huge financial windfalls without doing a thing.

Under the program, a companys baseline from which it must reduce emissions to get credits is calculated from its average yearly emissions from 1998, 1999, and 2000. The program also attempts to eliminate credit for “hot air” reductions by only taking into account actual emissions that exceeded existing regulatory caps. But according to the report, “DEFRAs [Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] rules are poorly thought through and, when combined with the shortcomings in the Environment Agencys regulatory controls, have failed to prevent a huge injection of hot air into the scheme.”

An egregious reported example is that of Ineos Fluor, a company that makes refrigerants that are also greenhouse gases. The global warming potential of HFC-23, for instance, is 11,700 times that of CO2. In 1999, Ineos installed a 6 million incinerator to reduce its HFC-23 emissions, which fell from 864 tons in 1998 to 304 tons in 1999 and 45 tons in 2000.

HFC-23 emissions were already regulated, but only as part of an overall rule that limited the collective release of all volatile organic compounds. This was the figure applied by DEFRA when it calculated Ineoss baseline.

According to the report, “The baseline would be 148 tons of HFC-23. But if emissions continue at the 2000 level of 45 tons, Ineos is already more than 100 tons or 1.2mtCO2e [metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent] below its baseline.

On this basis, the company could easily meet its final emission reduction target of 0.8mtCO2e and have a massive surplus of credits to sell in the schemes early years when its targets are less tight.” Ineoss incentive payment was worth 43 million, a pretty good return on its 6 million investment.

Other participants that appear also to be in line for such windfalls under differing circumstances are the chemical companies Dupont and Rhodia, oil companies Shell and BP (Beyond Petroleum), and British Airways.

Multi-pollutant Bills are “Cutting Edge” of Kyoto Agenda

A new study published by the American Legislative Exchange Council takes a look at the various multi-pollutant bills being considered by the U.S. Congress and finds that they are wasteful and largely devoid of benefits.

The study notes that, “Senator James Jeffordss (I-VT) “Clean Power Act” (S. 556) and Representative Henry Waxmans (D-CA) “Clean Smokestack Act” (H.R. 1256) are the Kyoto agendas cutting edge in the 107th Congress. These bills would require substantial reductions in power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury, and carbon dioxide (CO2), the principle greenhouse gas targeted by the Kyoto Protocol.

The author, Dr. Marlo Lewis, Jr., a former staff director for Representative David McIntoshs House Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and currently a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, presents several reasons why pursuit of these policies would be folly:

  • The Jeffords-Waxman bills are based on the false premise that reducing fossil fuel use is a prerequisite to reducing air pollution. History shows dramatic air quality improvements paralleling large increases in energy consumption, population and GDP.

  • The bills include CO2 reductions as a component of air quality management even though the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no effect on air quality.

  • Including CO2 in an air quality management bill is “horrendously wasteful.” As noted by the Energy Information Administration, “Reducing NOX and SO2 emissions 75 percent below 1997 levels by 2005 would cost $6 billion. Reducing CO2 emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2005 would cost $77 billion.” Integrating the two reduction strategies would also cost $77 billion, which would get the same “air quality” results that could be obtained for $6 billion.

  • These bills would be completely useless in averting global warming. If fully implemented, the Kyoto Protocol would prevent a mere 0.07 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050 too little to detect. A domestic program would do even less. To obtain a copy of the study, contact Bob Adams at (202) 466-3800.

Cold Winds Blowing in Canada

Canadian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol continues to recede into the future, as provincial opposition led by Alberta increases. The Chretien government had pledged to ratify before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in lat August, but it appears unlikely that it will meet that target. Prime Minister Jean Chretien said that, “I think its important for Canada to position itself so as to sign Kyoto one day” (The Globe and Mail, April 16, 2002).

Environment Minister David Anderson admitted in an interview for the first time that meeting its Kyoto target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by to 6 percent below 1990 levels could cost about $10 billion (US$6.35 billion) per year. But, said Anderson, that is a worthwhile cost in a $1.1 trillion (US$ 700 billion) economy. He also pointed out that Canada spends $12.5 billion (US$ 7.94 billion) per year on national defense (The Globe and Mail, April 5, 2002).

In a last-ditch effort to make a deal that would assuage internal opposition, Anderson tried to secure concessions from the European Union at the recent meeting of the G-8 environmental ministers that would allow Canada to receive emissions credits for exporting natural gas and oil to the U.S., arguing that by selling these “cleaner” fuels to the U.S. Canada is actually contributing to greenhouse gas reductions.

The European Union rejected the proposal out of hand. Margo Wallstrom, the EUs environment commissioner, responded that, “To count credits from trading with the United States, (which) has chosen to stand outside the protocol, would undermine the fundamentals and principles of Kyoto” (The Toronto Star, April 13, 2002).

Unlike Japan and Russia, Canadas ratification is not essential to meet the legal threshold to bring the protocol into force. Thus, while Japan and Russia have succeeded in extracting huge concessions from the EU, Canada is negotiating from a position of weakness.

“Canada does not want to sign up to Kyoto but it also wants to avoid the image problems which that would cause,” said one senior EU delegate at the G-8 meeting (Reuters, April 15, 2002).

Under Canadas federal system its national government has authority to ratify treaties. However, implementing domestic measures to satisfy international commitments, such as the Kyoto Protocol, requires provincial co-operation. Alberta Prime Minister Ralph Klein now appears determined that his provinces vast oil, gas and oil sands reserves will not be locked up or devalued by the Kyoto Protocol.

EPA: Clear Skies Initiative Would Increase Coal Use

An analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency claims that under President Bushs Clear Skies Initiative the amount of coal burned for electric power will increase by 7.3 percent over 2000 levels by 2020, or by about 79 million tons per year.

“Fuel diversity is maintained under the Clear Skies Initiative,” according to the EPA document. “Without legislation, generation from coal would likely be a smaller portion of the total fuel mix in 2020.”

Even with Clear Skies, however, the proportion of coal use in the production of electricity will fall from over 50 percent to under 45 percent. Moreover, “Enactment of Clear Skies will result in a slight increase in the number of coal mining jobs projected in 2020 relative to not enacting Clear Skies,” said the document.

Frank ODonnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust, claims that the real motive behind the administrations Clear Skies Initiative is “to protect the coal industry.” Environmental activists are also concerned that the initiative would wipe away many existing Clean Air Act provisions and actually lower the emissions reduction required under law. They favor the Jeffords bill that has tougher emissions cuts under shorter timetables and would force more switching from coal to natural gas.

The National Mining Association disagrees with the EPAs assessment, however. According to their own analysis, based on Department of Energy numbers, coal use will increase by 300 million tons by 2020 under the existing Clean Air Act. Clear Skies, on the other hand, would lead to much smaller increases in coal use (BNA Daily Environment Report, April 17, 2002).

Changes in European Growing Season Due to Natural Factors

A study in the February 2002 issue of the Journal of Climate looks for possible explanations for the advent of earlier growing seasons in Europe other than global warming, noting that there is “a strong variability in the timing of seasons in Europe, which is perceived as a signal of a global climate change.” According to the researchers, led by Paulo DOdorico with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, “The study of the interannual variability of timing and length of the growing season is gaining importance because plant phenology [biological response to climatic conditions] is a sensitive indicator of climate change and has broad impacts on terrestrial ecosystems through changes in productivity and in the annual carbon and water cycles.”

The study looks at the relationship between the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), “a large-scale displacement of air mass between the subarctic and the subtropical regions of the North Atlantic,” and the early onset of the spring season. What they found is that “spring phenology in Europe is found to be significantly affected by the North Atlantic Oscillation.” In fact, the researchers characterize the dependence of the early spring on the phases of the NAO as “remarkable.”

Amazon in Carbon Balance

A new study in Nature (April 11, 2002) has found that the rivers and wetlands of the Amazon rainforest may emit as much carbon dioxide as the dry regions of the forest absorb. This suggests that the Amazon may be in carbon equilibrium.

The researchers, led by Jeffrey E. Richey with the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington, conclude that, “Estimates that the tropics are a net carbon sink are not consistent with recent calculations from global inverse modeling, which imply that the tropics are at least in balance with the atmosphere if not a net source.”

In other words, the Amazon may not be a net carbon sink. If true, scientists will have to search for other carbon sinks to account for large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, both natural and anthropogenic, that do not end up in the atmosphere and are not accounted for by known carbon sinks. These findings, however, will help scientists get a better handle on mans contribution to climate change, if any.


The National Post (April 13, 2002) has reported that, “The world’s most powerful environment ministers will ride in buses powered by natural gas and greenhouse gas credits have been exchanged to negate their environmental impact on Banff, a World Heritage Site, during meetings here this weekend.” As a result of air and car travel and hotel accommodations the ministers attending the G8 environmental summit meeting last weekend would be responsible for tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“However, under the scrutiny of environmental organizations gathered here,” reported the National Post, “the ministers have attempted to avoid embarrassment by purchasing carbon-dioxide credits from a solar-powered housing project in South Africa that will make the gathering an emission-neutral meeting, said David Anderson, Canada’s Minister of the Environment.” The ministers also dined on organically grown food.

Russians Pressure Japan, EU to Buy Credits

Russia is demanding that it receive guarantees from the European Union and Japan that they will buy Russian carbon dioxide credits before it will agree to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, according to the Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun (March 28, 2002). Kyoto supporters want the protocol to come into force before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in late August.

Vsevolod Gavrilov, head of the department of natural resources at the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry, said, “We will try to ratify the pact within a year, but we cannot make it by the time the World Summit on Sustainable Development is held.”

He added that, “We cant accept selling the [carbon dioxide] credits cheaply to the EU.” Aleksander Popov, head of the environment department at the Fuel and Energy Ministry, said, “It will depend on how Japan responds. If we cannot secure buyers it will be meaningless.”

Yomiuri Shimbun noted that, “Observers said that Russias attempt to gain a promise from Japan to buy Russias emission credits before agreeing to sign the protocol is taking advantage of Japans situation. Japan is not likely to meet its reduction targets by domestic means. It is believed that Russia intends to try to sell the emission credits at high prices. However, EU countries do not plan to buy emission credits from non-EU countries and it is likely that Japan will become the sole buyer of Russias emission credits.”

A member of Russias Duma, Vladimir Grachev, told the BBC (March 22, 2002) that, “The Kyoto Protocol for industrial gas emission cuts has turned into a smoke screen for diktat in international trade and it no longer promotes improvement of the ecological situation in the world.”

He also said that, “One might get the impression that countries of the European Union believe that Russia is simply obliged to ratify the protocol but this position is deeply erroneous. Russia had already cut its greenhouse emissions by 41 percent. I believe that the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is possible only after negotiations are held with the European Union to which certain terms should be set. In particular, Russia objects to the fact that the European Union might easily adapt to clauses of the protocol in order to exercise pressure in the field of international trade. If the European Union does not change its politics, Russia will not agree to the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.”

Renewable Energy Seeks Charity

The renewable electric power division of Lincoln Electric System in Nebraska is facing mounting financial losses, according to Electricity Daily (March 26, 2002).

Under the current program, those who wish to buy power from wind turbines pay a $4.30 per month premium for three years. Due to the lack of significant participation, the program is currently losing about $12,000 per month.

To keep the program going, the municipality has turned to asking for charity. “Under the new charitable program,” reports Electricity Daily, “four levels of participation are offered: Friend of the Environment for $4.30 to $20 per month; Supporter of the Environment for $21 to $60; Conserver of the Environment for $61 to $125, and Protector of the Environment for a whopping $126 or more per month. LES declined to comment on whether these donations are tax deductible.”

Shareholder Resolutions On The Rise

A major weapon in the arsenal of environmental activists over the last eight years has been the shareholder resolution. The Wall Street Journal (April 3, 2002) reports that the number of global warming resolutions originating from activists is increasing significantly in 2002. Already 18 resolutions have been filed, more than twice the amount filed in any other year in the previous eight years.

“Most resolutions,” says the Journal, “ask corporations to disclose estimated greenhouse gas emissions from their operations, as well as the products they make, and ask for an assessment of the costs of reducing those levels.” One resolution that targets Exxon Mobil Corporation, demands that it separate the positions of chief executive and chairman, saying that Exxon Mobils CEO and Chairman, Lee Raymond, is endangering shareholder value by his stance on global warming.

The groups behind most of the resolutions are the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an association of 275 religious institutional investors, and the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, a coalition of 70 groups that includes “environmental activists and investors, managers and analysts representing $300 billion in assets.”

Alberta to Propose Kyoto Alternative

The province of Alberta, Canada will propose a greenhouse gas reduction plan as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, according to its Environment Minister, Lorne Taylor. The plan will resemble the one proposed by President George W. Bush, in that it will rely on financial incentives to develop technologies that would emit fewer greenhouse gases.

Taylor argues that the early numbers from a joint federal-provincial group analyzing the potential economic impact of Kyoto show the costs to be unacceptable. He told the National Post (March 28, 2002), “My understanding is that the numbers that will come out of that process will be higher than Ottawa has expected and so [Ottawa is] looking outside that process now at other studies to see what they can find.”

The studys preliminary findings are similar to those from a study that Albertas provincial government conducted last year, said Taylor. That study found that the cost of Kyoto to the Canadian economy would be about two to four percent of GDP, or about $20 to $40 billion per year. The alternative plan is designed to help persuade the federal government not to ratify the Kyoto protocol and to give it another acceptable option.

According to Taylor, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and New

Brunswick support Albertas stance on Kyoto, while Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are opposed.

The National Post also reported on March 29 that Prime Minister Jean Chretien “appeared to be softening his commitment to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.”

Americans Mostly Unconcerned About Global Warming

A new Gallup Poll to measure the publics attitudes towards global warming has found that a plurality of the public, 40 percent, are either “only a little” or “not at all” worried about global warming. Twenty nine percent said they are worried a “fair amount” and another 29 percent said they are worried a “great deal.”

The number of Americans worried a great deal about global warming has fallen from 40 percent in 2000. As an issue, however, it has always ranked near the bottom of a list of the top ten environmental problems that Americans worry a great deal about, with only acid rain ranking lower.

Asked whether they understand the issue of global warming only 17 percent said they understand the issue “very well.” Another 52 percent said they understand if “fairly well” while the remainder of those polled said “not very well” or “not at all.”

The public is evenly split over its perceptions about media coverage of global warming. Thirty one percent believe that the medias reporting of the problem is “generally exaggerated,” while 32 percent believe it is “generally correct” and 32 percent believe it is “generally underestimated.” The full analysis of the poll can be found at www.gallup.com.

Global Warming Bill Progresses in California Senate

On April 1, the California Senates Environmental Quality Committee approved a bill that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from car tailpipes on a 5 to 2 party-line vote, with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans against. The bill passed the California Assembly on January 31.

According to the Los Angeles Times (April 2, 2002), “The bill, AB 1058, by first-term Assemblywoman Fran Pavely (D-Agoura Hills), would require the state Air Resources Board to adopt regulations by 2005 that would reduce tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide from passenger cars and light trucks and other noncommercial motor vehicles.

The actual implementation of the rules would not apply to cars and trucks made before the 2008 model year.” Pavely argues that “We [California] need to do our fair share as the fifth-biggest economy in the world,” especially since President Bush has refused to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification.

According to the Fresno Bee (April 1, 2002), carmakers say the “technology doesnt yet exist to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike previous bills to regulate toxic emissions such as ozone and diesel soot, the bill requires carmakers to begin limiting natural byproducts of the internal combustion engine.”

Watson Out as IPCC Chairman?

The U.S. State Department has decided not to renominate Robert T. Watson for the chairmanship of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a story in the New York Times (April 2, 2002).

The story says that Watson is “highly regarded as an atmospheric chemist by many climate scientists.” In reality Watson is a career bureaucrat who hasnt been a working scientist for decades. The story also characterizes Watson as an “outspoken advocate of the idea that human actions mainly burning oil and coal are contributing to global warming and must be changed to avert environmental upheavals.”

Many critics have complained that the biggest problem with the IPCC Third Assessment Report, which was completed under Watsons chairmanship, is advocacy and not science.

As Dr. David Wojick noted in his analysis, The UN IPCCs Artful Bias, “It is as one sided as a legal brief, which it resembles.” In our last issue of Cooler Heads we quoted Swedish sea-level expert Nils-Axel Moerner, a professor at Stockholm University and president of the INQUA (International Union of Quaternary Research) Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, who said of the report, “It is absolutely remarkable how inferior and one-sided this report is.” That is the product of advocacy, not science.

The U.S. has officially thrown its support behind Indian nominee, Dr. Rahendra K. Pachauri, an engineer and economist. The State Department received an e-mail from Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist who is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, urging it to at least replace Watson with another atmospheric scientist. But, since the position is entirely administrative, its not clear why it must be filled by an atmospheric scientist.

The New York Times noted that, “Some climate panel scientists said that other countries were planning to push for Dr. Watson to remain, and that it might be possible to craft a compromise in which the two scientists served as co-chairman.”

A period of high global temperatures near the beginning of the last millennium closely matches the warming witnessed, about one degree Fahrenheit, during the 20th century, according to a new study in the March 22 issue of Science.

The studys authors, Drs. Jan Esper and Fritz Schweingruber at the Swiss Federal Research Institute, and Edward Cook at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, state that “Much of the current debate on the Earths climate variability is driven by the observation of a modern, century-long temperature increase, culminating with the last decade of the 20th century as the warmest since 1856.”

Using tree ring data from 14 different sites on three different continents in the Northern Hemisphere, the researchers constructed a temperature record of the last 1000 years. What they found was that the “MWP [Medieval Warm Period] was likely to have been a large-scale phenomenon in the NH [Northern Hemisphere] extratropics that appears to have approached, during certain intervals, the magnitude of 20th-century warming, at least up to 1990.”

This finding contradicts an earlier study by Mann, et al. that appeared in Geophysical Research Letters in 1999. That study combined tree ring data and the instrumental temperature record and “shows an almost linear temperature decrease from the year 1000 to the late 19th century, followed by a dramatic and unprecedented temperature increase to the present time,” according to Esper, et al. That study served as the basis for claims in the Third Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the current warming is greater than at any other time in the last 1000 years.

A commentary that accompanies the study notes that, “The warming of the 20th century is seen more clearly as a continuation of a trend that began at the start of the 19th century, not the early 20th.” It also notes that, “the curve of Esper et al. provides evidence for greater climate variability in the last 1000 years than has yet been generally accepted.”

“We dont use this as a refutation of greenhouse warming,” Edward Cook told CBS News. “But it does show that there are processes within the Earths natural climate system that produce large changes that might be viewed as comparable to what we have seen in the 20th century. Greenhouse gases were not a factor back in the Medieval Warm Period.”