|The Week That Was
July 14, 2001
We predict that George Bush by sticking to his guns - and to the facts -- will scuttle the Kyoto Protocol as others begin to see that "the Emperor has no clothes." Someday he will be praised for keeping Europe from committing economic suicide.
The Week That Was July 14, 2001 brought to you by SEPP
OUR STUDENT CLIMATE CRUSADE IS OFF TO BONN And so are we.
Fred Singer can be contacted:
Bonn, 5 July 2001 The structure of the resumed Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention has been revised following last week's informal consultations and Bureau meeting in Scheveningen/The Hague. The new structure is as follows:
Following the cue of their classmates on the left, who have protested at other high-profile world events, the students plan to demonstrate peacefully outside of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, and distributing literature. They also hope to meet with members of the U.S. delegation to the July 16-27 conference as well as European political leaders and media.
"The bottom line is that we think that all voices should be represented at this conference," said Daniel LaBert, national field director with the campus leadership program at the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.
The nonprofit training organization will host and house about 40 students for a summer workshop on July 11-13 in advance of their trip to Germany. "We´re just going to give them training on how to get their message out," Mr. LaBert said.
The trip is being organized by the institute along with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).
CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker calls the student trip an educational experience to teach students more about the United Nations and how the Kyoto treaty works. "We will plan some events that will draw attention to the fact that there are some young people in America who do not agree with the Kyoto treaty," he said. "We´re going to give these students some more ammunition to understand the problems with the treaty." At a previous U.N. conference at The Hague, college students showed up to support the agreement, he said, "stating their opinion that all youth were for the treaty and we need to act now. We felt it did not encompass the whole viewpoint of youth in the United States and around the world."
While some student protests in the past have been marred by violence, Philip Kroll, who is among the students in the U.S. delegation, says the protest in Bonn will be respectful. Mr. Kroll, a junior studying political science at the University of Minnesota, says he will pay for the trip out of his own pocket because it is an educational experience he can´t pass up. "I´m going to show other people that there are people who believe in George W. Bush and what he´s doing," said Mr. Kroll, who has been active in Minnesota politics since he was in high school.
The student protest has little to do with political affiliation, he said, but is a stance on a single issue. The ideas behind the Kyoto protocol are good, but the accord is "too extreme," he added. "There´s not a single person on this planet that is going to tell you that harming the environment is good. The problem I have is that this particular protocol aggressively pushes itself to make other countries try to conform to it and kind of follow it on a short term," Mr. Kroll said. "What a lot of people don´t realize is the indirect consequences that would come from following such a protocol. You can´t automatically switch CO2 emissions overnight," he said. "Trying to implement something such as this on a grand scale in a short period of time is, I believe, detrimental to other things we have in society."
In the Leadership Institute's protesting boot camp, students will learn how to give five-second TV sound bites, design posters, and formulate questions for the members of the U.S. delegation they hope to meet with in Europe.
"We're going to give them the tools to get the message out that not all college students on campuses are extremists," said Rich Moha, national operations director for the institute's campus leadership program.
Call it Protesting 101. The text? A page from the liberal handbook.
"The left came up with the idea," Rucker said. Now conservatives are tweaking it to their advantage.
The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) will prep the students on the science of global warming, an issue at the core of the Kyoto treaty, which requires industrialized nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Students hope to combat, albeit peacefully, the perception that college students are universally opposed to President George Bush's abandonment of the Kyoto treaty.
"Most of the college students out there on TV are environmental extremists throwing chairs through Starbucks windows," Moha said. "We're going to try to show people that not everyone is an environmental extremist, that there are people with cooler heads."
The prospect, however, that there were conservative students willing to protest -- and do it at their own expense -- had Rucker doubting when the Leadership Institute began sending out feelers about the European trip.
The response floored him: Hundreds of calls came in, and now there's a waiting list of students wanting to go. "We could have taken a lot more, but it's a question of logistics," said Rucker, citing the cost of having to charter another bus to get the students around.
Even with just 40 protesters, Rucker - a veteran protester who has led other foreign environmental rallies and who will "quarterback" this Germany trip - expects his group to make a statement. Or, at least, turn a few heads.
"Just the idea that we're sending students - students who paid their own way and oppose the Kyoto treaty - will stun a number of people," he said.
And now some contributions from colleagues
BACKGROUND ON KYOTO PROTOCOL
By Will McNamara, Director, Electric Industry Analysis
An archive list of previous IssueAlerts is available at www.scientech.com. Please consult it for many insightful analyses of energy issues
President Bush and European leaders "agreed to disagree" over a global warming treaty, as the president sought to reassure allies that sharp policy differences would not hamper relations between Europe and the United States. During several closed-door sessions, Bush and his European counterparts confronted one of their most contentious areas of disagreement: the president's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. "We agreed to disagree," Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson told reporters. "The European Union is sticking to the Kyoto Protocol. The United States has chosen another policy."
Analysis: It is rather amazing how prominently energy issues have factored into the first six months of the Bush administration. In contrast to the eight years of the Clinton administration, when energy policy often took a backseat to other concerns, President Bush—as a result of California blackouts, a national shortage of natural gas, sky-high electricity prices, and a controversial energy task plan—has been comparatively consumed by energy issues. Now, in a political legacy from the previous administration, President Bush finds himself grappling with another contentious energy problem that has global ramifications. Departing from what appears to be an international consensus, President Bush has declared the Kyoto Protocol an ineffective treaty and has instead decided to further examine the greenhouse gas problem, which has raised further questions about the president's commitment to environmental issues.
First, let me provide some background. The Kyoto Protocol developed out of meetings held in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, during which time the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed in principle to a series of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. About 170 governments of various countries, including the United States, participated in the Protocol and agreed to reduce their aggregate carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Noticeably exempt from the Protocol were developing countries such as China and India—two of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world—which resisted taking on any sort of formal reduction plan until industrialized countries proceeded with their own. This marked the central flaw in the Protocol in that participants such as Europe, Japan and the United States argued that it would be impossible to reach the Protocol's goals without the active and controlled participation of developing countries. Consequently, the United States could not garner two-thirds support from the Senate, which would be required to ratify the Protocol, despite endorsement from the Clinton administration. The United States is the largest emitter of CO2, accounting for one-quarter of the world total per year, and thus its participation in the Protocol has been considered essential.
The Protocol's emissions targets include all major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide (NOx), and greenhouse gases created by industrial processes, which are artificial chemicals called halocarbons (CFCs, HFCs and PFCs) and long-lived gases such as sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The Protocol requires the main developed countries to reduce their emissions of the greenhouse gases by varying amounts: 8 percent for European Union countries, 7 percent for the United States and 6 percent for Japan.
With the onset of his new administration, President Bush announced last March that the United States would not support the Kyoto Protocol, again arguing that developing nations were not included and the goals were not realistic. Further, Bush has voiced the concern that ratifying the Protocol would severely damage the U.S. economy as it would restrict industrial production. The president has also pointed out that, although European nations espouse support for the Protocol, none of the EU members has yet to ratify the treaty. Instead, President Bush has adopted a "go-slow" approach toward global warming and has vowed to spend more money to investigate the problem and work with other nations to produce a better plan.
A new report from the National Academy of Sciences, requested by the Bush administration, found that global warming is indeed occurring as the result of human activity. Specifically, the report found that the Earth's temperatures could rise between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. On the other hand, the report could not reliably establish how much of the warming trends result from natural variations, how fast future warming will occur or how corrective actions might correct it. Thus, the president asserted that these unanswered questions warranted further investigation into the greenhouse gas problem.
The president has come under fire both domestically and abroad for what is perceived as a policy that gives preference to business over the environment. In addition to his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, President Bush also announced in March that he opposes any domestic restrictions in CO2 emissions from the nation's power plants, retracting on a pledge that he had made during his campaign. Carbon dioxide is not classified as a pollutant by the Clean Air Act, and thus the White House said that Bush's original promise was a "mistake" inconsistent with the president's broader goal of increasing domestic energy production. Toward that end, the Bush administration has focused on the construction of some 1,900 new power plants across the country to resolve a growing supply / demand imbalance. On the other hand, business groups have applauded the president's approach, echoing his belief that the Protocol would harm the nation's economy and that domestic, technology-based solutions represent a better solution.
This is obviously a political story packed with passion on both sides of the debate. I won't use this space to criticize or defend President Bush's environmental stand. Instead, I think it will be useful to clearly identify the two polarized approaches that world leaders are taking toward the Kyoto Protocol. European leaders have vowed to enact the Protocol without the United States, which may not be possible. The Protocol can only be enacted if nations that produced 55 percent of the industrialized world's carbon dioxide in 1990 decide to ratify it. Japan could be the wild card in the debate, as it is leaning toward the Protocol but has not yet officially ratified it. If Japan does participate, proponents of the Protocol would have 57.5 percent of 1990 emissions (enough for ratification).
Nevertheless, here is how the two approaches shake out:
The Bush Approach
We were given the best indication of the approach President Bush plans to take in his own environmental proposal (expected some time this summer), in a recent radio address. "With new technology, sound regulation and plain good sense, we can expand our energy production while protecting the environment," the president said. The Bush administration's previously released energy plan is primarily focused on building the nation's energy supply through the expedited construction of new generation (including nuclear power plants). Further, the president has said that "energy production and environmental protection are not competing priorities" and can both be achieved with new technology.
While the president has not made any specific references to new provisions for limiting CO2 emissions from existing or new plants, the new technology to which he has referred most likely includes clean-coal technologies that can be implemented to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants. As noted in the 3/27/01 IssueAlert, new, clean-coal technologies are being tested and developed by various companies throughout the United States. One example is the integrated gasification-combined cycle (IGCC) technology that first converts coal into a combustible gas, cleans the gas of virtually all pollutants, then burns the gas in a turbine much like natural gas. More than 99 percent of sulfur, nitrogen and particulate pollutants can be removed in the process. Three gasification power plants have been built in Florida, Indiana and Nevada. As coal remains the United States' most abundant fuel source, constituting 95 percent of our nation's fossil energy reserves, much of the nation's plan for reducing emissions will focus on coal-fired generation. It is important to note, however, that most of the clean-coal technologies currently being developed eliminate SO2 pollutants and NOx, but may do little to address CO2 emissions, which is the primary focus of the Kyoto Protocol.
President Bush has also stated that his administration will fully fund high priority areas for scientific research into climate change over the next five years, and help developing nations such as China and India to match the U.S. commitment.
The Kyoto Protocol Approach
Moreover, the two approaches being pursued by President Bush and the European Union represent inherently different philosophies regarding the urgency of emissions control and methods that should be employed to reduce greenhouse gases. There is little possibility that President Bush will change his stand and include the United States in the Kyoto Protocol. Without U.S. participation, the Protocol may once again be stalled unless another large industrialized country such as Japan decides to join. On his own, President Bush now moves forward with constructing a plan for the United States that attempts to balance the reduction of emissions while aggressively expanding the country's generation supply. This will be a difficult balance to achieve, but the president remains confident that environmental protection and industrial expansion do not need to be mutually exclusive.
Copyright 2001. SCIENTECH, Inc. All rights reserved.
From: "Gerald Westbrook" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An essay on electrical energy in California, in the format of a sci-fi reporting, with the aim of attracting a bigger readership.
"Just look what they've done to California - The Invasion of the Gorons III"
Essay is available at www.freedom.org, on the eco-logic on-line option, as the 10th entry.
And finally, some solid info about wind energy
Wind Energy Fact Sheet
During the next few weeks, wind energy advocates will be lobbying Congress to extend tax shelters and provide more funds for US DOE wind programs. This fact sheet has been prepared to help you evaluate claims that DOE and other advocates are likely to make.
a. Lucrative tax shelters: Developers are permitted to escape corporate income taxes because they can "write off" their entire capital cost quickly (about 5 years) by using five-year double declining balance accelerated depreciation. In addition, they receive a "production tax credit" of $0.017 for each kWh of electricity produced during the first 10 years of a project's operation (worth millions of dollars). The tax burden is merely shifted to remaining taxpayers.
8. DOE-funded "wind energy" R&D has produced major advances in wind energy technologies. Highly doubtful. DOE and its predecessor agencies have spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars on wind energy R&D. However, most of the wind turbines being used in the US are from Danish companies.
Attachment: Tables showing US Energy Consumption by energy source and energy sources for US Electricity Production: 1999 Actual and EIA forecasts for 2010 & 2020.