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(Reuters) – A United Nations agency cut its forecast on Wednesday for pre-2012 Kyoto Protocol carbon offsets by 3 percent, estimating that only 981 million tonnes will come to market by the end of 2012.
Under Kyoto, efforts to cut greenhouse gases can be outsourced to emerging countries such as China and India
Most people are familiar with automobile air emissions. Perhaps one day there will only be electric cars and no car air emissions. But there are many on other engines in use by commercial and industrial operations that may cause air emissions. In general these are called reciprocating internal combustion engines, or RICE.
On February 17, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule that will further reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from existing diesel powered stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines.
Delegates from developing nations at the Copenhagen conference were incensed after reading a leaked document purporting to show that a group of wealthy nations intends to sideline the UN in future climate change negotiations and place CO2 emissions restrictions on poorer nations.
The Guardian reported that the so-called “Danish text” — reputedly drafted by wealthy nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Denmark — would abandon the principles of the Kyoto Protocol requiring industrialized nations to commit to binding greenhouse gas emissions while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft text would hand control over financing climate change projects in the developing world to the World Bank and would make funds given to poorer nations for climate change adaptation contingent on those nations taking actions to reduce emissions.
Obama administration officials say they will offer provisional CO2 emissions reductions goals at the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference, although the targets are likely to be far more modest than those proposed by the European Union and other industrialized nations. U.S. officials, not wanting to show up at Copenhagen empty-handed, said the administration will propose U.S. emissions cuts roughly in line with those being considered in legislation before Congress.
Amid a growing call for reducing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 parts per million, a group of economists maintains that striving to meet that target is a smart investment — and the best insurance policy humanity could buy.
The climate change news from Washington is cautiously encouraging. No one in power is listening to the climate skeptics any more; the economic stimulus package included real money for clean energy; a bill capping U.S. carbon emissions emerged, battered but still standing, from the House of Representatives, and might even survive the Senate. This, along with stricter emission standards in Europe and a big push for clean energy and efficiency standards in China, provides grounds for hope for genuine progress on emissions reduction.
But while climate policy is finally moving forward, climate science is moving faster. One discovery after another suggests the world is warming faster, and climate damages are appearing sooner, than anyone had expected. Much of the policy discussion so far has been aimed at keeping the atmospheric concentration of CO2 below 450 parts per million (ppm) — which was until recently thought to be low enough to prevent dangerous levels of warming. But last year, James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist, argued that paleoclimatic evidence shows 450 ppm is the threshold for transition to an ice-free earth. This would imply a catastrophic rise in sea levels, eventually flooding all coastal cities and regions.