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Monday, May 24, 2004

Using the Oceans as Carbon Sinks

I ran across this post on human activities that could cause the ocean's to absorb more CO2 on FuturePundit awhile ago. This is a facinating concept to me. I am not competant to evaluate how much of a problem global warming is or how much of it is caused by human activity. I am pretty sure though that the best way to combat such difficulties is by increasing our technological power and expanding our knowledge, rather than limiting ourselves and shackling our progress as the Kyoto Protocols would do.


Blogger Aric said...

I'm not sure by what definition that the Kyoto Protocols can be said to shackle our progress.

According to the DOE:

"The greenhouse gases covered by the Protocol are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride."

The Kyoto Protocols were attempting to reduce the emissions of these gasses between the years 2008 and 2012, using 1990 as a baseline comparison. The U.S. target was a reduction of 7% compared to 1990 levels.

With the exception of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), nitrous oxide, and CO2 (carbon dioxide), U.S. emissions of these gasses are already below 1990 levels.

If you wade through the rather detailed reports on the DOE's site, you will find that there are several scenarios specced out regarding reducing these types of emissions. The 1990 -7% which is the target, could potentially see a reduction in GDP growth by 0.2% between implementation and 2020. This would cost the U.S. economy roughly 60 billion dollars a year. Note that at know time does the report say the economy will stop growing, just that it won't grow as fast for that period of time. Of course, one of the things that the DOE report does specifically mention is that they make no allowances for alternative methods of reduction as specified by the Kyoto Protocols, such as Carbon Sinks, reforestation and such. They also do not make any allowances for improvements in technology over this course of time (which is a sensible precaution IMHO). They DO say that if these targets are to be met, it becomes more expensive the longer we wait to start.

Therefore, if by shackling our progress, it means costing money, then yes, the Kyoto Protocols would be expensive.

However, if the government wants to help foot the bill, then they could...
Retain Estate Taxes (24 billion dollars)
Tax dividend earnings if you make more than 100K per year (19 billion dollars)
Borrow money from Microsoft (Lots and Lots and Lots)
Save the Whales (Whales are cute!)

5/24/2004 09:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple of quick googles

5/25/2004 12:14:00 AM  

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