At the end of their recent climate report, Lehman Brothers has one of the best brief discussions of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) that I have seen. Since the EU ETS is often viewed in this country as a failure, I thought I would reprint their somewhat different perspective in its entirety:
An Inconvenient Truth is so last year! Al Gore's book may have been No. 1 in 2006, but the global warming deniers and delayers are outselling everyone this year. Of course, BjÃ¸rn Lomborg's collection of cherry-picked misinformation, Cool It is the top-selling book in four categories: Climatology, Climate Changes, Public Policy, and even Conservation. But who knew that the top book in both Meteorology and Weather was the Competitive Enterprise Institute's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) -- a book whose title would be accurate if only the word "politically" were removed? And the no. 2 book in both Climate Changes and Weather is coauthored by world-class denier Fred Singer -- Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. Sounds like disaster movie dialogue: "It's unstoppable, I tell you, unstoppable."
There's going to be a lot of hype around the Bush climate summit this week. The key buzzwords of the global warming delayers are "aspirational," "technology," and "intensity." The more someone uses those words, the less serious they are about stopping climate change. The bottom line is that any international global warming agreement must include prompt, binding, and enforceable greenhouse-gas reductions by the United States or else the agreement will fail and all nations will suffer the consequences. Some other key points:
Hitting a record low on September 16, 2007, the Arctic lost half a million square miles of ice compared to its last record low just two years ago. For all the details, check out the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) website, which notes "the Northwest Passage is still open, but is starting to refreeze." We are still on track for an ice free Arctic by 2030, decades ahead of the climate models. This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Global warming makes wildfires more likely and more destructive -- an amplifying climate feedback that releases more carbon into the atmosphere. The full committee of the Senate for Energy and Natural Resources is having a hearing on the subject today. You can get live video here -- click on Live Webcast. I'm looking forward to this hearing since one of the witnesses is Dr. Thomas Swetnam, Director of the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research and Professor of Dendochronology, University of Arizona. He coathored the August 2006 Science cover story, "Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity" ($ub. req'd). The abstract is viewable online -- here is the conclusion:
Bush may be hosting a climate summit this week, but "what he will not do, officials said, is chart any shift in policies." Specifically, the Washington Post reports: Top Bush administration officials said the president is not planning to alter his opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gases or to stray from his emphasis on promoting new technologies, especially for nuclear power and for the storage of carbon dioxide produced by coal plants. This is straight from the Frank Luntz playbook on how to seem like you care about the climate when you don't: Technology, technology, technology. Yada. Yada. Yada. Delay, delay, delay.
This weekend, the AP released the following story: Global warming -- through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding -- is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches. It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say. And it will reshape the nation. Wow! The first amazing thing is the confidence with which AP makes a statement beyond the IPCC's scientific consensus. This is what most of the experts I spoke to for my book said, and I'm glad to see it in print (kudos to AP reporter Seth Borenstein): Few of the more than two dozen climate experts interviewed disagree with the one-meter projection. Some believe it could happen in 50 years, others say 100, and still others say 150. The second amazing thing is this quote:
Lehman Brothers has just released a terrific report, "The Business of Climate Change II." The theme is, "Policy is accelerating, with major implications for companies and investors"; but the piece has a lot of breadth, with cogent comments on everything from the social/damage cost of carbon, to auctioning vs. grandfathering, to the Stern Report. Here are some extended excerpts:
This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. How fearsome must the headlines be about tomorrow before people change their ways today? -- Nancy Gibbs, TIME In Greenland today, the ice is thawing at a pace that is alarming climate scientists. Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Congress remains frozen on the issue of carbon pricing. And that may be a good thing. Carbon pricing, as most readers of Gristmill know, is the idea that some portion of the costs of greenhouse-gas emissions should be reflected in the price consumers pay for carbon-intensive fuels. The energy that is causing global climate change would cost more than the energy that isn't, and the marketplace would become the ally of climate stabilization. There are two schemes on the table. The first is a carbon tax -- simple, straightforward and, according to conventional wisdom, political suicide. The second approach is carbon trading. Carbon emissions would be capped; polluters would buy and sell emission permits. Carbon trading is more complex and would take longer to make a difference, but because it is not a tax, it appears to be the favored approach in Congress. Several cap-and-trade bills have been introduced in Congress, some setting tougher goals than others. The word on the street is that the leading bill will be proposed soon by Senators Warner and Lieberman. It reportedly will call for a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, compared to current levels. Therein lies the rub. Is the glass (of melted ice) half empty or half full?