Questions - Session IV

Jeremy Leggett, Paul Walitsky, John Shlaes, Abby Young, Patrick Michaels Arturo Sanchez, Mark Hambley, and Patrick Ramage

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: For Jeremy Leggett, there seem to be some inaccuracies regarding the role of developing countries in the economic convention in the Berlin mandate. Would you perhaps help us clarify this issue?

MR. LEGGETT: This question refers to the statement that was made that developing countries have no obligations, and they are the problem. There are strong inferences that developing countries are where we have to be concerned.

First of all, of course, they do have obligations under the climate convention. They may not have obligations to have targets and timetables for emissions limitations, but they are very much embroiled in the process. They have to report data. They are clearly engaged to a much greater degree with the convention than they would be if we didn't have it.

Passing the buck in this way, I should say, is one of the core strategies of the carbon club. The aim here is to obfuscate and switch the blame to the extent that we can, and hide the basic facts, which are that 80 percent of the greenhouse gasses up there right now have come from the 25 or 30 percent of us who live in the OECD. So we do have manifestly an ethical responsibility to take the lead.

Then there is also the technology transfer issue. One is quite right when he says the emissions from the developing countries are coming like a rocket behind us. But does anyone think for a minute that the Indians and the Chinese are going to switch to solar and biomass and wind and energy efficiency if we don't take a lead, if we don't show the first signs of addressing the challenge of reshaping our own energy infrastructure in the years ahead?

Anybody who has been to the Climate Convention's meetings and talked to diplomats from the developing world will be quite clear on this. They all say we are not going to go unless you go first, unless you show the way. I think that makes obvious sense. So we have another ethical imperative to get going, slowly and in an orderly fashion, building down our fossil fuel dependence and our energy profligacy, and, in an economically sustainable way, switching as fast as we can to the new technologies of the next century, and of course, maximal energy efficiency.

MR. SHLAES: May I comment? If I am a member of the carbon club, 80 percent of U.S. manufacturing is dependent on fossil fuels. That is a competitive advantage we have. We also have reduced energy intensity by 50 percent while the economy has doubled in the last 20 years. This is in the U.S. Those are real figures, and we can give them to you if you want.

But the fact remains that what has built these economies has been our ability to have reasonably low cost energy. The Chinese are going to build 30 power plants per year for the next ten years. It is all going to be driven by Chinese coal, or most of it. We are much more efficient in both the building and operating of power plants than the Chinese, mainly because we have made the investment in technology, we made the investment in processes, and we have the cooperation of our customers.

So the fact remains that we are living in a global world, but we should not rush to judgment and cap the U.S. economy -- and you heard enough this morning about what the impact of that is. Developing countries are required to report emissions if they get resources from developed countries. They have no obligations in relationship to the post-2000 negotiations and they keep reminding us of that.

I don't have the exact language here, but it is almost that specific. Therefore, they are participating in this negotiation, where developed countries will take on additional negotiations, and they will participate in what those obligations might be.

All we're saying is, if we're going to look at this issue, let's look at it pragmatically, let's look at it economically, and let's look at it in a way where there is mutual benefit. I'm not going to go into what joint implementation is all about, but that is something that the convention says we're going to try to advance. That is an important issue, but it is also a technology issue, which means we've got to deal with barriers. They are there. They are there in all evolving economies. That is also the essence of debate when we talk about trade.

So it is a very complicated issue. It is not as simplistic as one would make it.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: The next question is to Mr. Shlaes. Does the Global Climate Coalition support the Montreal Protocol?

MR. SHLAES: Several of our members are involved in the Montreal protocol. That is a very different treaty. If you will recall,it reflects a few gasses developed by a few industries. Several of our members are not involved in the Montreal protocol, because those industries are not involved in CFCs. Every treaty should be considered in all of these international negotiations, separate and unique. We have made our case in that context.

I think the bottom line in relationship to the Climate Convention is that it affects lifestyle issues. That is the essence of this debate in the United States, in Europe,and in developing countries everywhere. We are in a very new context of debate internationally. But in any regard, several of our companies are involved in the Montreal, several are not, because it involves CFCs, not the climate issue, not CO2.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: For Abby Young, please, is there research on the effects on the urban ecosystems due to Climate Change? Specifically, would you also address what cities or counties that you work with are doing in maintaining the green spaces, the tree systems, parks, et cetera, for CO2 update? There are two parts to that question, please.

MS. YOUNG: The first part was on reduction of CO2 effects on the urban ecosystem, is that correct?

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: The effects on the urban ecosystem, specific research in these areas.

MS. YOUNG: First of all, I probably can't answer that question. Being a program coordinator for the U.S. cities, -- I don't know who asked that question, but if it is an issue of wanting to get research, yes, I am in a position where I can find the research for you and get it to you. But I am afraid that I can't cite any specific studies that directly discuss CO2 reduction on the urban ecosystem, But maybe if that person can talk to me afterwards, we can have an exchange of cards. That is something I can get to you later.

The other question was, cities and counties that are part of our program, what they have done to preserve open spaces, parks and open spaces. This has been a component in some of the cities. I am thinking specifically of Portland. I can't think of which cities and counties particularly. I know Minneapolis has done a lot as well.

The aim is first for the biggest reductions in CO2, so they are looking at the transportation systems as well as looking at energy efficiency, because that is where they get the biggest initial change. But many of them are integrating their approaches with other city policies that may or may not have been very aggressively enforced or aggressively instituted. Many of those aspects contain open space and promote accrual and reversion of commercially used spaces to open space.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: A question for Dr. Michaels regarding whether you have done a statistical test of significance on your multivariate analysis, and if you have done the significance test, has this been released along with any other information on the particular results?

DR. MICHAELS: Yes, that was done. It is in the Journal of Technology, 1994. The standard that is used was a slope test, so it is very straightforward.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: Another to Jeremy Leggett. Could you please clarify further the role of aerosols? There seems to be much discrepancy on this issue.

MR. LEGGETT: That is a very difficult question to answer quickly. But let me just make one quick point. I definitely got the impression that in the 1992 air report completed in Guanjao, China, there was no treatment of aerosols at all.

That is plain wrong. Anyone who reads that report will see that the aerosol cooling factor is discussed extensively and was one of the reasons why the warming was revised down, the other one being the unexpectedly fast depletion of CFCs.

At the risk of being combative, I do want to make the point that there is something here that is a little bit surreal. We see an individual scientist representing a very small group of peers, complaining about not being given access to data and so forth. He could have gone to any one of those IPCC plenaries. There are no barriers. Even people like me from Greenpeace can go, for heaven's sake. 1990 he wasn't there, 1992 he wasn't there, 1995 he wasn't there, either. He could have gone.

To me, as a scientist, I should say quite honestly as an ex-scientist, I was a university academic for 11 years, on the faculty of Imperial Science and Technology, there is something surreal about pretending that this is just an academic debate, where reputations and whether or not data is exchanged is the substance. What we are dealing with here is a threat assessment which, if we get it wrong and the roll of the dice is unkind to us, poses a real threat, not just to our economies and ecosystems, but to the future of civilization. That is something that really distresses me. I don't have any recipe for how to deal with it. But I find it really distressing, and somewhat surreal.

DR. MICHAELS: In IPCC 1992 there is not one spatial representation of the projected temperatures as modified by sulfate aerosol.

With regard to the review process for these documents, there are not a lot of reviewers, I suspect, that would have picked up the high latitude problem in the new model. It seems to me that what really should happen here is, there should be an exceedingly free exchange of the so-called transient model results, because the validity of any scientific endeavor is determined by the sanctity of peer review.

So whether or not one attended meetings in 1990 and 1992 has nothing to do with the free exchange of information. I don't understand the logic that connected those two comments.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: Has Costa Rica studied the direct impact of forest resource development on employment and economic development in Costa Rica, and watershed protection to insure sustainable delivery of hydropower?

DR. SANCHEZ: Regarding the one on sustainable development and employment in the development of Costa Rica, most of the forestation that has been documented is for expansion and basically to export to the U.S. market. It is well known, in Central America, where we turn old forests into grasslands for exports to the United States, especially during the '70s and '80s.

There is a direct and striking pattern of employment. In the areas that have been deforested, we don't develop any kind of industries, actually we are encouraging people to move out of the towns and move into the compound where they have a better quality of life.

On the other hand, we are moving backwards. We have right now some projects in joint implementation with different institutions that we hope can help to develop some kind of economic sources for the communities still in the developed areas. But we need to see about that in the next five years. It is too soon to say that the forest resources management in joint implementation is producing a positive outcome. We are just starting this project.

Regarding the question of watershed protection to insure sustainable development of hydropower, the most critical issue in hydropower generation is transport into the reservoirs. You have drainage basins without a sound land use and soil conservation project, you are going to have your reservoir silted twice a year. We have specific cases in Costa Rica and Central America where we have to actually drain reservoirs to clean them from sediment that comes out of the upper parts of the watershed.

So from an economic point of view, the key for a sound delivery of hydropower is to help us with sustainable management of the land use in these basins.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: For Mark Hambley we have a number of questions. One relates to the Administration's request for the State Department's Office for Global Change, if you might tell us something about the current appropriation numbers and if they are lower than the ones coming out of the House and Senate. If they are lower than the Administration's request, how would these reductions affect the United States' ability to carry out its negotiations in other work related to the FCCC and the IPCC?

MR. HAMBLEY: Our appropriations bill is one of the ones which is being held up. It has not been finalized. There are two different versions, one from the Senate, one from the House, both of which would have very negative impacts on our overall foreign policy programs.

I can't give you a specific figure regarding the Office of Global Change. The way these cuts are managed, central management will tell us we will lose 10 to 15 percent of your outlays from the previous year. I will say that it has impacted on our ability to staff conferences, and prepare for conferences. I think that is something which we are going to have to live with in the future and somehow try to direct what resources we have to these international obligations in a manner which we think is appropriate.

I will say that a more serious budgetary impact concern is the Congressional attitude towards funding the actual conventions themselves. For the Climate Change Convention, the IPCC and other instances, the House and the Senate have decided to cut the appropriations significantly. We thus far think we are going to be able to meet our obligations, but not much more than that. That is something which will impact very seriously on our ability to carry forth this process.

DR. FOX-PRZEWORSKI: Who and perhaps also what will we need to engage to get the science findings into the public conscience and onto the public agenda? How do we go about doing that in a better way?

MR. RAMAGE: I attended a pretty conference recently at the Hay Adams Hotel, where Working Group Two was releasing some of their recent findings. It is a tremendous challenge. I just sat there, as did some others, shaking their heads, because you have advocates on this issue who are hoping to hear silver bullet kind of language, and then you have scientists who are inherently careful, and using, in the best sense, weasel words to hedge bets and discus probability. It doesn't get itself onto the radar screen quite like we would hope.

Indeed, the Post after that press conference, I thought they attended a different event than I had been at. But I think a lot of it is not taking the issue as a whole and getting into a karate style debate, the planet is warming up, the planet is not warming up, whatever, but taking specific impacts on issues like food, like human health, like migration, like threats to coastlines, et cetera, and going after that little piece with the folks that are concerned with that issue.

Just to use an example, one of our GLOBE members who might be approachable on this issue,is a fairly conservative moderate Republican, Porter Goss from South Florida, who has real issues he is going to be dealing with, both in terms of immigration and his own coastline in his district, and packing it that way. It is a real challenge.

We had Dr. Bolin come at the outset of this Congress, when they were all full of vinegar and I don't know what else with the Contract with America. We got about five Congressional staffers in addition to a healthy contingent from CRS, and for somebody of that stature who brings that perspective to bear, to get that kind of low turnout, we are doing something wrong in getting the issue to resonate properly.

It is a real challenge, but I think trying to segment it and tie it to particular issues that people already care about may be a step in the right direction.

MR. HAMBLEY: Could I just add something to that? I was very impressed with what Patrick Michaels said earlier about the importance of somehow galvanizing the public reaction and approach to this whole issue of Climate Change and Global Warming. We are very acutely aware of our dismal failure in this Administration in focusing public attention on what is a growing problem.

In 1988, it was an issue that was very much on peoples' lips. There was a very distinguished British colleague in Chicago over the summer, where several hundred people were dying from heat prostration. That may or may not be related at all to this particular topic, but in Europe, this was directly blamed on Global Warming, not in Chicago. It is something that I think we have to find ways to address.

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