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Equal Time for President Bush


Global warming is 'very likely' caused by man, meaning more than 90 percent certain. ... Many attribute this winter's low snowfall to global warming. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Equal Time for President Bush

Equal Time for President Bush
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The IPCC 2007 report
  • Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon
    dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased
    markedly as a result of human activities since
    1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values
    determined from ice cores spanning many thousands
    of years.
  • The global increases in carbon dioxide
    concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel
    use and land-use change, while those of methane
    and nitrous oxide are primarily due to

  • 11 of the past 12 years are the warmest since
    reliable records began around 1850

  • Global warming is "very likely" caused by man,
    meaning more than 90 percent certain. That's the
    strongest expression of certainty to date from
    the panel.
  • If carbon dioxide concentrations in the
    atmosphere reach twice their pre-industrial
    levels, the report said, the global climate will
    probably warm by 3.5 to 8 degrees. But there
    would be more than a 1-in-10 chance of much
    greater warming, a situation many earth
    scientists say poses an unacceptable risk.

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  • A snow-maker created snow on the slopes of
    Parsenn in Davos, Switzerland in February. Many
    attribute this winter's low snowfall to global

  • But if the world does get greenhouse gas
    emissions under control _ something scientists
    say they hope can be done _ the best estimate is
    about 3 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Sea levels are projected to rise 7 to 23 inches
    by the end of the century. Add another 4 to 8
    inches if recent, surprising melting of polar ice
    sheets continues.
  • Sea level rise could get worse after that. By
    2100, if nothing is done to curb emissions, the
    melting of Greenland's ice sheet would be
    inevitable and the world's seas would eventually
    rise by more than 20 feet, Bindoff said.

That amount of sea rise would take centuries,
said Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria
in Canada, but 'if you're in Florida or
Louisiana, or much of western Europe or southeast
Asia or Bangladesh ... or Manhattan ... you don't
want that,' he said.
  • The debate over whether global warming is
    happening and that it is anthropogenic is over
    (fierce resistance from petroleum companies is
    now past) but now the debate is what does it
    cost to reduce carbon emissions to certain levels
    that will prevent the worst harm?)

The Stern Report-2006
  • The economic model used in the Stern Review finds
    that the damages from business as usual would be
    expected to reduce GDP by 5 based on market
    impacts alone, or 11 including a rough estimate
    for the value of health and environmental effects
    that do not have market prices (externalities,
    in the jargon of economics). If the sensitivity
    of climate to CO2 levels turns out to be higher
    than the baseline estimates, these losses could
    rise to 7 and more than 14, respectively.
  • A disaggregated description of impacts by sector
    and region is generally in agreement with these
    numbers, according to the Review. Stern
    speculates that an adjustment for equity
    weighting, reflecting the fact that the impacts
    will fall most heavily on poor countries, could
    lead to losses valued at 20 of global GDP.
  • These figures are substantially greater than the
    comparable estimates from most economists

  • These damages can be largely avoided, at much
    lower cost, through emissions reduction (or
    mitigation, in the jargon of climate change).
    Stabilization at 500550 parts per million (ppm)
    of CO2-equivalent7 in the atmosphere would avoid
    most, though not all, of the business as usual
  • Both direct estimates of mitigation costs and a
    review of results from many different models
    suggest that stabilization at this level would
    cost about 1 of GDP. Stabilization below 450
    ppm, according to Stern, is no longer feasible

  • First, what is the maximum atmospheric
    concentration of CO2 at which unacceptable
    climate outcomes can be ruled out with a high
    degree of confidence?
  • Second, what is the least-cost strategy for
    stabilizing at that concentration?
  • The first question is the essence of a
    precautionary approach to policy, in a context of
    complex and uncertain scientific information. It
    involves several difficult, but not impossible
    judgments about the (probabilistic) link between
    CO2 levels and climate outcomes about which
    climate outcomes are unacceptable and about how
    high a degree of confidence is required that we
    can avoid those outcomes.

What To Do?
  • Adaptation-Favorite argument of neoclassical
  • They believe that large uncertainties in climate
    projections make it unwise to spend large sums
    trying to avert outcomes that may never
  • They believe that human systems can adapt to
    climate change much faster than they occur.
  • They maintain that while doubling of CO2 will
    take place over the next century, financial
    markets adapt in minutes, labor markets in
    several years, and the planning horizon for
    significant economic and technological change is
    at most two or three decades.
  • But what are the risks of large, abrupt, and
    unwelcome shifts in climate?

  • curtailing the greenhouse gas buildup to
    prevent, minimize, or at least slow global
    warming (harper, p. 97)
  • White surfaces and vegetation.
  • Residential water heating.
  • Residential space heating
  • Residential and commercial lighting.
  • Industrial energy management
  • Fuel efficiency

Transportation Energy Management
  • Vehicle efficiency
  • Alternative fuels (ethanol from biomass,
  • Transportation demand management
  • Electricity and fuel supply

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Carbon Tax?
  • tax on energy sources which emit carbon dioxide
    into the atmosphere. It is an example of a
    pollution tax, which some economists favor
    because they tax a "bad" rather than a "good"
    (such as income). Because a carbon tax addresses
    a negative externality

Equity issue that Harper raises (p. 101)
  • the regressivity of a carbon tax could be
    minimized or eliminated by allocating the tax
    revenues to benefit the less affluent.
  • Wealthier households use more energy, on average
    they drive and fly more, have bigger (and
    sometimes multiple) houses, and buy more products
    that require energy to manufacture and use. Most
    carbon tax revenues will therefore come from
    families of above-average means, as well as
    corporations and government.
  • This creates a basis for progressive
    tax-shifting transferring a portion of the tax
    burden from regressive taxes such as the payroll
    tax (at the federal level) and the sales tax (at
    the state level) onto pollution and
    pollution-generating activities.
  • Another progressive approach in the United States
    is to rebate the carbon tax revenues equally to
    all U.S. residents a national version of the
    Alaska Permanent Fund, which once a year sends
    identical checks to all state residents from the
    states North Slope oil royalties. Because income
    and energy consumption are strongly correlated,
    most poorer households would get more back in
    rebates or tax savings than they would pay in the
    carbon tax.
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