‘Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing’–Kyoto is only in its first phase
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide)
Objection: The Kyoto treaty, even if fully implemented, would only save us about a tenth of a degree of future temperature rise many decades from now. What a waste of effort! You can see for yourself here at the Junk Science website.
Answer: There are three big problems with this claim.
First, it’s a red herring. The purpose of Kyoto is to establish international political and economic mechanisms for dealing with global warming, by taking the first tentative steps toward a difficult goal. You may as well time me walking to the sidewalk where I parked my car bicycle and then tell me at this rate I will never get home.
A message from The Wilderness Society:
The Senate is voting on a bill this week that would allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Help stop it!
Second, Kyoto is a step-by-step process. The second phase (much less third, fourth, etc.) has not even been negotiated yet. How can anyone claim anything about how effective it is going to be? Junk Science and other sources of this propaganda are starting their dubious calculations from the assumption that Kyoto ends in 2012 when round one is over. That is just wrong.
Third, the temperature several decades from now is to a large extent already determined by the current energy imbalance, thanks to extra CO2 already in the atmosphere. Short of a complete cessation of emissions today, there is no foreseeable way to avoid the bulk of the warming “in the pipeline.” This is mostly due to the extreme thermal inertia of the oceans and therefore the climate system as a whole. It means that our actions today, or our inaction, will have consequences several decades hence.
Finally, I have a rather personal peeve with people who vociferously criticize any attempt at a solution and yet propose nothing in its place. You’d think if they were so sincerely concerned about how ineffective Kyoto will be (as, frankly, they should be), they would be agitating for more action rather than shrugging their shoulders and saying “I guess we should just sit it out.” It’s like a guy standing on the sidewalk watching all his neighbors fight a house fire, saying “you’ll never make it, you don’t have enough people.”
Shut up and help!
More stories in this series:
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: Despite what the computer models tell us, there is actually no evidence of significant global warming. Answer: Global warming is not an output of computer models; it is …
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: CO2 levels are recorded on top of Mauna Loa … a volcano! No wonder the levels are so high. (image courtesty of Global Warming Art)
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: The apparent rise of global average temperatures is actually an illusion due to the urbanization of land around weather stations, the Urban Heat Island effect.
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: One hundred and some years of global surface temperatures is not long enough to draw any conclusions from or worry about anyway. Answer: The reliable instrumental record …
Get Grist in your inbox