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Fw: [fuelcell-energy] 20 years left to achieve climate stability - sci entist

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    Fw: [fuelcell-energy] ... 06/01/2006 20 years left to achieve climate stability - scientist A leading Australian scientist believes that the world has just 20
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2006
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      20 years left to achieve climate stability - scientist

      A leading Australian scientist believes that the world has just 20
      years to turn the tide on global warming and that leaders at a summit
      in Sydney next week must take concrete steps to tackle the problem.

      Tim Flannery, a respected Australian scientist and author, says the
      world's economic powerhouses must take drastic measures over the next
      two decades before the Earth's climate is irreversibly altered.

      "We have to make deep, deep reductions in emissions within the next
      20 years," he said. "We will have won or lost the battle for climate
      stability in that time."

      Flannery's projection is based on the period he says it will take �
      at current emissions levels � to pump out enough carbon dioxide to
      warm the globe by around two degrees, producing "catastrophic"
      climate change.

      Prof. Will Steffen, the director of environmental studies at
      Canberra's respected Australian National University, said Flannery's
      prediction is a "worst case" scenario, but is "not impossible".

      "Certainly we're seeing evidence of global warming. The evidence is
      quite clear now that the planet is warming compared to the baseline
      temperature change over the last few thousand years," Steffen
      said. "It's been warming quite rapidly over the last century and
      particularly over the last couple of decades, those observations are
      quite clear."

      Next week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to
      meet top-level officials from Australia, China, India, South Korea
      and Japan to discuss ways of tackling the issue.

      Along with the US these countries account for nearly half the world's
      population, energy and economic output.

      The White House says the talks will enhance rather than replace the
      1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming that both the US and Australia
      rejected because of its mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide, methane and
      other gases.

      The Kyoto treaty calls for 35 industrialised countries to cut their
      1990 emissions levels by at least 5% by 2012.

      China and India signed the treaty as developing nations, exempting
      them from the first round of emissions cuts. Japan must cut emissions
      by 6% below 1990 levels, and South Korea by 5%.

      So far, little is known about the goals of the "Asia-Pacific
      Partnership on Clean Development and Climate."

      In July, the group issued a vision statement that talks of
      developing, deploying and transferring technologies such as nuclear
      power and clean coal technology in which greenhouse gases are
      extracted and eliminated while burning coal.

      Environmental group Greenpeace slammed next week's meeting as

      "As might be expected from a pact between six of the world's biggest
      coal exporters and users, this appears to be a deal to do nothing,"
      the group said in a briefing statement. "At this stage, it contains
      no provisions to reduce greenhouse pollution. With no targets,
      timetables or even financial mechanisms, it can have no hope of
      meeting its stated objective � assisting the development and transfer
      of climate-friendly technology."

      Earlier this week, James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House
      Council on Environmental Quality, said the partnership would drum up
      more private investment for goals including US and Chinese plans to
      improve energy efficiency in coal-burning power plants and cut acid
      rain-causing sulphur dioxide emissions.

      "I'd say that's wonderful news � and how will it be done?" said
      Flannery, responding to Connaughton's remarks.

      Flannery said there is "no evidence in the world today" that a
      voluntary program to reduce greenhouse emissions could work. Only
      government regulation or "market-based instruments" � such as carbon
      taxes, incentives and government subsidies on green energy � would
      have the necessary impact, he said.

      Frank Muller, a former adviser to US President Bill Clinton and the
      UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, agrees.

      "We need a price on carbon if its really going to drive investment,
      whether that's a carbon tax or emissions trading," he said. "You
      (also) need to address specific barriers to the adoption of existing
      (energy efficient) technologies."




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