It is irrelevant whether you you per-capita or total net emissions to
calculate rate to stabilization, the real figure is total carbon
equivalent loading of the atmosphere that is projected to drive changes
in the mean annual atmospheric temperature changes.
You are right to raise concerns about total net emissions in the US as
well as the rest of the world. However with GDP growth rates of 9 plus
percent per year, the developing countries are hell bent on maximum
economic growth and development in the shortest period of time at the
least cost to them. So who pays and when do they pay? That is the
political question with a capital P.
Yes there are many alternatives that can significantly reduce emissions
of carbon or carbon equivalent greenhouse gases and the United States
should move to bring many of those alternatives into the mix of options
to stabilize emissions. Among these are the hydrogen alternatives
utilizing fuel cell technologies. The problems are mostly marketing and
overcoming reluctance of the fossil fuel based industries to switch as
well as problems of paying off the costs of capital investment in current
technologies. This is a time for the American public to strongly support
incentives to private industry and agriculture to accelerate the
transition to higher end user efficiency of energy use, transition to non
carbon or carbon equivalent energy supply technologies and push the
innovation of technologies that can be marketed at low cost to the rest
of the world. The US has the capability to capture and economically
capitalize on many environmentally sustainable and economically
sustainable technologies by seeking the market niches as fast as
possible. At that has to be done is to over come inertia.
These opinions are my own and do not in any way reflect policies or
opinions of my employers.
On Tue, 16 Dec 1997, Bob MacGregor wrote:
> Bill Duesing is right to come down heavily on the attitudes of the
> developed-world energy gulpers --particularly in the US. The per-capita
> energy consumption would seem to me to be a better target than the
> 1990 energy consumption; why should the developing economies be
> retarded by our headstart?
> More confusing to me is why we are concentrating on the fossil fuel
> consumption issue at all. It seems to me that we (the world) are
> destined to consume virtually all the readily-accessible fossil fuels.
> Except for the ones that are converted into stable plastics, most will end
> up in the atmosphere as CO2. That is, cutting back our rate of emissions
> will stretch out the period of depletion of fossil fuels and, perhaps, make
> a bit more available to other economies, too, but will not result in any less
> accumulation of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
> I am surprised to see the emphasis so strongly on the limitation of CO2
> emission from fossil fuel consumption rather than on the means to
> sequester more of the CO2. A few years ago, an agronomist made the
> claim that a one percent change in organic matter content on an acre is
> equivalent to the standing biomass on an acre of rainforest. If this is
> true, then the soil-restoring principals of the organic and permaculture
> folks may be addressing the global warming scenario a lot more
> practically than the advocates of restricted fossil fuel consumption are.
> By all means, we should strive for greater energy efficiency. Also, it is
> clearly elitist and greedy for we in the developed world to grab the black
> gold and slurp it down so the less privileged can't have it too. But, I
> don't think this will ultimately have a lot to do with the global warming
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