US gases to 'dwarf world savings' in CO2

BBC News, 3/8/2005

[See Rabbi Waskow's comment on this in the Blog]

The President of Britain's leading science academy, the Royal Society, is to accuse the US of undermining global efforts to tackle climate change.

Lord May will tell a Berlin meeting that the growth in US greenhouse gas emissions will more than offset cuts made by other industrialized nations.

He will be speaking to scientists and policy makers at the British Embassy.

Lord May will call on the US government to accept that the case has been made for making cuts in emissions.

"The Royal Society has calculated that the 13% rise in greenhouse gas emissions from the United States between 1990 and 2002 is already bigger than the overall cut achieved if all the other parties to the [Kyoto] Protocol reach their targets," he will tell the embassy gathering.

"Even if emissions from the United States stay at the same level until 2012, which is an unrealistically conservative assumption, while the other targets are met, the overall results for the original parties to the protocol will be a rise in emissions of 1.6% instead of the desired reduction of 5.2%"

Lord May's comments come at a critical moment in Britain's presidency of the G8 group of industrialised countries.

Britain has already declared that climate change is one of it priorities for the presidency, and next week it will be chairing a meeting of energy and environment ministers which will focus on the effects of global warming on Africa.

Although the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 it indicated in 2001 that it would not ratify the agreement. This means that it is not bound by its agreed target of reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases by 7% by 2012 compared to 1990.

Lord May will say: "It is essential that the G8 summit [in Gleneagles, Scotland in July] focuses on securing from the United States an explicit recognition that the case has now been made for acting urgently to avoid the worst effects of climate change by making substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions."

The UK science academy is publishing a document on Monday that it claims will challenge the myths put about by some sections of the British media that doubt humans are impacting the climate system.

Lord May was formerly the UK government's chief scientific adviser. His successor, Sir David King, has taken a particularly outspoken stance on climate change, arguing that it poses a greater threat to society than terrorism.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/07 11:15:11 GMT