« PreviousContinue »
probably those of Germany, Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The German plan, for example, is designed to achieve a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2005 compared to 1987. This plan was formally adopted by the German Federal Cabinet on November 7, 1990. The Environment Minister has publicly stated that this plan was based on analysis of former West Germany, and that a larger reduction of 30% should be achieved for Germany as a whole (but this target has not been formally adopted). Relevant Ministries will draft legal instruments to implement this plan in each sector. These will include regulations to increase energy efficiency by amending Ordinances on insulation, heating installations, small incineration plants, and large combustion plants. The efficiency of automobiles is to increase by an average of 30% by 2005, and increased reliance on rail transport will be promoted.
Germany's plans will be coordinated with the European Community (EC) as a whole, which has adopted the aggregate target of stabilizing emissions of CO2 at 1990 levels by 2000, with reductions thereafter. To help achieve this target the EC is moving forward with plans to adopt a CO energy tax equivalent to $10 per barrel of oil by 2000 as proposed by the Commission of the EC on September 22, 1991. This proposal follows up on a policy statement adopted by the EC Council of Ministers on December 21, 1990. It is instructive that the Council noted that there was a risk to the competitiveness of some industries, but that a reinforced policy of environmental protection leads European companies to an adaptation of their marketing and R&D efforts ahead of others, these companies will in the future be better placed on world markets." The Council concluded that the EC CO, stabilization policy will have a "...positive overall impact. The available evidence indicates that their macroeconomic effects could be small, even when abstracting from the expected environmental benefits."
Status of the Climate Negotiations
Only 48 hours of formal negotiating time remains before the Earth Summit. The draft treaty text remains a nest of square brackets and alternative language. This is largely the result of countries hedging their negotiating positions while waiting to see what the United States will do. Without U.S. leadership the treaty talks will fail. High-level consultations must take place in the weeks ahead in order to resolve policy differences before the final formal session. If the United States waits too long to take the next step in advancing its climate policy it may be too late to resolve subsidiary issues and produce an agreed treaty for signature in Rio.
In conclusion I would like to quote from a statement made by Nobel laureate Henry Kendall to the closing session of last week's climate negotiations on behalf of environmental nongovernmental organizations. I ask that the full statement be entered into the record as an attachment to my testimony.
"Time is running out. As the distinguished delegate from Pakistan told you earlier this week, the environmental clock stands at a quarter to midnight. There is an urgent need to bring an effective climate change treaty to the Rio conference in June, not just an empty framework. The success or failure of these negotiations will also set the tone for the many other environmental and development challenges that confront developing and industrial countries alike. Given the high stakes, failure of these talks would be a costly and irresponsible act."
Costs and Savings Compared to Reference Case
Cumulative Present Value (Trillion 1990 Dollars) at 3% Discount
Attachment to Daniel Lashof's Statement
Statement by Dr. Henry Kendall,
Chairman, Union of Concemed Scientists
at the 5th INC session, New York, February 28th, 1992
Chairman Ripert, Distinguished Delegates:
On behalf of the numerous environmental organizations from all over the world participating in this fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, I thank you for this opportunity to share our views on the situation now confronting you -- and the world as this session comes to a close.
Time is running out. As the distinguished delegate from Pakistan told you earlier this week, the environmental clock stands at a quarter to midnight. There is an urgent need to bring an effective climate change treaty to the Rio conference in June, not just an empty framework. The success or failure of these negotiations will also set the tone for the many other environmental and development challenges that confront developing and industrial countries alike. Given the high stakes, failure of these talks would be a costly and irresponsible act.
It is no surprise that I am greatly disappointed that, despite more than a year of hard 'work, you have yet to reach agreement on the major issues. I am saddened that the main responsibility for this state of affairs belongs to my own country. The refusal of the United States to make a commitment to reduce, or even to stabilize, its huge emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases has been the principal roadblock to progress. Yesterday's announcement of a new "action plan" by the U.S. delegation was useful, but we must have a firm U.S. commitment on emissions limits by the time these negotiations resume later this spring.
In early 1990, I transmitted to President Bush an appeal for action to prevent global warming on behalf of some 55 American Nobel Laureates and more than 700 members of the National Academy of Sciences. It said, in part, that "uncertainty is no excuse for complacency. Only by taking action now can we assure that future generations will not be put at risk."
Other industrial countries must also do more, both to increase their commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and to reach agreement within the OECD to stabilize and reduce emissions and to provide financial assistance to developing countries. Industrial nations must not use U.S. intransigence as an excuse for backsliding themselves.
Dr. Bert Bolin's statements to you last week were sharp and to the point, and so I know you are well aware of the broad consensus within the knowledgeable scientific community as to the likely range and consequences of global warming. We scientists are cautious by nature, hesitant to sound the alarm until we are confident of our findings. When a scientist of Dr. Bolin's caliber tells you, on the basis of three years of analysis by several hundred of the world's climate scientists, that "more far-reaching efforts are required than are now being contemplated in order to achieve a major reduction of the rate of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere," it is significant. Let me add that in my discussions with a number of the world's leading scientists in recent months, I see an increasing worry on this and other issues.
Dr. Bolin is right: the stabilization of carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000, which seems to represent the "upper edge of the possible" in these negotiations, is inadequate to meet the threat of global warming. Based on the IPCC analysis, it is our view that reductions in industrial carbon dioxide emissions, of at least 20% by 2000, and 60% or more by 2025, are needed if we are to lower the risk of unacceptable damage to natural ecosystems and humanity. Accordingly, the treaty should require further negotiations on emissions reduction targets for industrial nations at the earliest possible date.
Some wish to view the uncertainties in the climate change predictions as a reason to postpone action. This is imprudent. We must insure against the risk of the expected climate response to greenhouse gas buildup. No military planner would dismiss a potentially grave military threat on the basis that the expectation was somewhat uncertain neither should we dismiss such a peacetime threat as we now face.
Others argue that an adequate response to climate change would be damaging to national economies. Much of this comes from those whose interests reflect the world's addiction to fossil fuels. The fact is that increased energy efficiency, and a move to reliance on renewable energy sources, will enhance, not harm, economic. prosperity while doing much to slow the steady buildup of greenhouse gases. Numerous studies by government and nongovernmental groups alike have documented the enormous potential for cost-effective reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. A recent analysis by my own organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and several others demonstrates that the United States could cut its energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2005, and 70% by 2030, at a net savings of over $2 trillion to U.S. energy consumers! The scope for energy savings and the potential for use of renewable resources varies from country to country, but it is substantial in virtually every nation. The climate treaty you negotiate should aggressively exploit the great potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, both for developed and developing countries.
While all countries must help avert the worst of the global warming threat, the primary responsibility lies with the industrial nations of the world. They are the sources of the bulk of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. They have also an obligation to provide financial resources and access to appropriate technologies (including development of indigenous technologies and capacity) so that the developing nations of the world can meet their legitimate development needs without greatly boosting greenhouse gas emissions. This is by no means charity, or a handout, but is a sound investment in a more equitable and environmentally sustainable world for our children and grandchildren. And, I would add, very likely a more peaceable world. Of course, these measures must be accompanied by broader reform of international trade, aid, and lending pattems that in most cases, favor the industrialized countries.
You are meeting in the headquarters of the United Nations. If a nation or group of nations were invading a small country, the Security Council would now be in emergency session, a multinational peacekeeping force would be organized, and the unjustified aggression would be resisted with all the means at the world community's disposal.