from: Susan Subak
subject: Protocol Projections
The one-pager was sent to Bonn on Saturday, and an email
version went out over Clim-L and to WWF's paper, also some
media mailings. What do you think of this letter to the New
Scientist? This is based on a tip from Mick about how to get Fred
Pearce to write a story.
August 4, 1997
London SE1 9LS
Dear Fred Pearce,
Enclosed is a briefing sheet we recently prepared for the FCCC
talks for the two sessions leading up to COP3 in Kyoto. Please
feel free to incorporate these results into a piece, or we could
write it up as a NS article ourselves, if you suggest.
In isolation, these proposed cuts would not lead to a
significant reduction in global warming, says Subak.
Industrialized countries would need to sign onto more stringent
cuts after the 2000-2020 period under negotiation, and an
agreement would need to be made with developing countries to
slow the growth in their emissions. These protocols are an
important first step, Subak said.
While the EU protocol involves less stringent cuts of
carbon dioxide and in a longer time frame than the AOSIS
protocol, says Subak. It should achieve an equivalent reduction
in temperature because the target also encompasses the other
The proposed greenhouse gas emissions protocols
are not significantly different in their implications for future
temperature, says Subak. Countries should support protocols
instead on the basis of cost, burden-sharing and verification.
In the nearer term, trends related to the emission of
sulfur from coal will have a more important impact on climate
change than will the control of greenhouse gases, Hulme said.
Because the atmospheric residence time of sulfur
dioxide and other aerosols is short-lived compared with
greenhouse gases, says Hulme, the relative cooling effects of
aerosols will diminish over time, because the build-up of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will eventually far outweigh
future aerosol emissions, Hulme said.
Both of these sulfur scenarios assume a rather high
reliance on coal in the future, says Hulme. For a given scenario
of carbon dioxide emissions, if a higher share of oil, gas and
renewables were assumed instead, sulfur emissions and hence
cooling would be lower and the projections would show a greater
temperature increase than shown here, said Hulme.
I hope that this briefing is of interest.