Friday, October 12, 2007

Will the IPCC and the Nobel Committee decide the next US Presidential election?

Today, two related news stories broke that could decide the next US Presidential election.

First, greenhouse gases, which were not expected to cross the critical 450 ppm threshold for another decade, in fact are already at 455. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will report next month that earth passed the 450 threshold in mid-2005, according to Tim Flannery, an award-winning climate scientist who has reportedly seen the report's underlying data. Dr. Flannery was quoted by Reuters and the Christian Science Monitor as saying, "What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that could potentially cause dangerous climate change." See for the Monitor's story.

Second, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 has been awarded jointly to the IPCC and Al Gore "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." See The Committee went on to say:

    "Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.

    "By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control."

The Peace Prize is awarded by an Oslo-based committee of five, coincidentally the same number of (Washington-D.C.-based) people who decided the 2000 US Presidential election against Mr. Gore.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Everything you know about carbon markets and taxes is wrong.

Here's a thesis that's getting some attention:  the growing focus on de-carbon-izing the atmosphere is distracting the world from its only hope of averting climate change disaster.  That hope, according to Alan Carlin, a Senior Economist at USEPA, is solar radiation management, or SRM.  Essentially a form of global climate engineering, SRM involves the introduction of particulate matter into the stratosphere to block incoming radiation and, thereby, turn down the planet's thermostat.  As proof of the approach's efficacy, Mr. Carlin cites evidence that volcanic eruptions have caused measureable, sustained reductions in average world temperature.

Mr. Carlin's article, which appeared in the September/October 2007 issue of The Enviromental Forum (a publication of the Environmental Law Institute), can be found here: