Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol Amy Braun Liliana Lavalle
The Big Question • Even if all of the countries in the world followed the Kyoto Protocol by reducing CO2 emissions, would it have a significant effect on reducing CO2 in the atmosphere? • Our project shows that the restrictions of Kyoto would only slightly slow the amount of CO2 emissions increase globally, which would not be significant enough to reduce the ramifications of greenhouse gases
Global Warming: Review • Greenhouse Gases are trace gases that absorb infrared radiation in the atmosphere • A certain level of greenhouse gases are necessary to sustain life • Some greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulfides
Global Warming: Review • Human activities are causing increased carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel emissions • Although CO2 is not one of the most aggressive GHGs, the large amount of it in our atmosphere is causing global surface temperatures to rise • CO2 accounts for 80% of global warming
Global Warming: Review • How do we know that global warming is happening? • In the past 1000 years, researchers have found in Greenland and Antartic ice cores that CO2 concentrations have been stable. • In the past 400,000 years, CO2 concentrations have been below 300 ppmv. • In the past 200 years, however, concentrations have increased 30%.
Kyoto Protocol • The United Nations organized a conference in Kyoto, Japan to draft an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. • They created the Kyoto Protocol that entailed that “annex 1 countries” (developed countries) reduce their emissions to ten percent below 1990 levels
Kyoto Protocol: Emission Regulations • Options to reduce emissions include: • Improved technologies • Nation-created sinks • Tradable Permits for Emissions • Unfortunately, these have some down sides: • Sometimes it is less expensive to buy permits then decrease emissions • There are no credit for conservation, even though existing forests contain 40% of terrestrial carbon.
Kyoto Problems • Currently, 166 countries have ratified the protocol but: • United States, the number 1 emitter of CO2 gases has not joined • Developing nations, such as China (#2 emitter) and India (#5 emitter) are not required to reduce or limit their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Debate • The United States has not ratified the Protocol because the Bush Administration believed it gave developing countries an manufacturing advantage that would hurt the U.S. economy.
The Kyoto Debate • The rebuttal to the United States point of view is that the developing countries don’t have the financial resources to be able to support the changes needed to decrease emissions • Also, per capita, China and India have very low emissions and it is unfair to be judged nationally.
Per Capita CO2 Emitters Per Capita Emission
The United States Today • This model shows that the emissions have increased to about 395 ppm
EU Today • This model shows that the emissions have increased to about 360 ppm
China Today • This model shows that the emissions have increased to about 345 ppm
World Today • The world level of emission is reaching 400 ppm
Under the Kyoto Protocol • Even if the rules were changed for the Kyoto Protocol the results would be only minimally different. • The models that follow show the difference between current levels of the United States, the EU, China and India and level with a ten percent reduction from their 1990 levels.
The United States Current emissions • With a 10% reduction, the ppm changes from 395 to about 365 10% reduction in 1990 emissions
EU 10% reduction in 1990 emissions • With a 10% reduction, the ppm changes from 365 to 335 Current emissions
China Current emissions • With a 10% reduction, the ppm changes from 345 to 325 10% reduction in 1990 emissions
World Current emissions • With 10% reduction, the ppm changes from 405 t0 380 10% reduction in 1990 emissions
The Future • These models only show until 2002 levels which we have already reached. • Under the Kyoto Protocol, the future emissions will be reduced through lowering carbon dioxide emissions and increasing sinks
World Projection to 2150 with 10% reduction in CO2 emission (following Kyoto Protocol):
Sinks • Sinks are the utilization of the carbon-absorbing abilities of forests • There are many types of sinks, including forests, grasslands and soils • To verify as necessary in the Kyoto Protocol can be expensive and difficult
Sinks, Con’t • P. Smith states in “Monitoring and verification of soil carbon changes under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol” that “the Kyoto Protocol states that sinks and sources of carbon should be accounted for `taking into account uncertainties, transparency in reporting, verifiability'.”
Sinks, Con’t • “Managing carbon sinks by changing rotation length in European forests” from Science Direct • To achieve the largest eligible carbon sink mentioned in Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol, the rotation lengths need to be increased on areas varying from 0.3 to 5.1 Mha sometimes causing 1–6% declines in harvesting possibilities. The possible decreases in carbon stock of soil indicates that reporting the changes in the carbon stocks of forests may require also measuring soil carbon.
World Projection to 2150 with current CO2 levels (not under Kyoto Protocol) and manmade sink through reforestation of 1 gigaton/year
World Projection to 2150 with 10% reduction in CO2 levels (under Kyoto Protocol) and manmade sink through reforestation of 1 gigaton/year
So what does this mean? • Even if the Kyoto Protocol was written more strictly, making every nation reduce emissions by 10%, including developed and developing nations, that would not be enough. • More action must be taken, such as decreased emission limits and more carbon sinks, to have any significant impact on slowing the increase of atmospheric CO2 emissions.