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Earth warming myth

mardi 5 octobre 2004.

Economic Note / October 2004


President Putin of Russia announced that finally he would ratify the Kyoto Protocol after claiming the opposite for months. Irrespective of the reason for this change of mind, Russia’s ratification of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions pact may be the clincher for the application of the Protocol. Indeed, it was decided at the 1997 Rio conference, which culminated in its elaboration, that it would only be enforced if the Protocol had been signed by at least 55 countries representing 55% of emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol reflects that climate change and in particular global warming has come to represent a major concern. It is based on the principle that it is crucial for humans to change their energy consumption habits and production of greenhouse gases, which are claimed to be at the source of global warming.

The greenhouse effect is produced by several gases, such as steam, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen protoxyde nerve gas (N2O), CFC gases (chlorofluorocarbons) and ozone capturing heat produced by the earth. "If the earth’s atmosphere didn’t hold any GH gases, the average temperature would be 33°C lower than it is and unlikely that life could have developed."

Given that it accounts for 60% of all additional gases present in the atmosphere and that this percentage is likely to rise due to human activity, CO2 is usually at the heart of the matter. Approximately 80% of these gases come from burning of oil, coal and natural gas while 20% come from deforestation and other changes in the tropics.

Global warming is considered by many to be harmful because of its disastrous consequences on the environment which will be handed down to future generations. It is commonly thought that these effects include rising sea levels and the associated impact on the coastline (flooding, increased vulnerability to storms), affected ecosystems and particularly migration of potentially harmful (to humans and plants) tropical insects, slower flow of sea water and exchanges impacting negatively the halieutique resource and the climate, and extreme weather phenomena.

By reducing carbon monoxide emissions, the Kyoto Protocol should limit global warming and its negative consequences. However, the high cost of such a treaty will be measured in the economic benefits that individuals will have to give up to ensure the treaty’s correct implementation. Before imposing any growth stemming measures, it is worth posing the right questions regarding climate change and considering that an estimated 4.8% and 2.9% of Spanish and German GDP for 2002 would not be produced by 2010.

Economic Note
Type : PDF (206.3 ko)
Mis à jour le : 5 octobre 2004

Media Release
Type : PDF (52.9 ko)
Mis à jour le : 5 octobre 2004

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