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Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126, charleso@elmhurst.edu, Copyright 2004

ISSUE #3
Should the U.S. Senate ratify the Koyto Treaty and agree to quantified legally-binding objectives for greenhouse gas emission limitations and significant overall reductions within specified time frames?

GLOBAL CLIMATE WARMING DEBATE

The final part of this exercise is the "Global Warming Debate ", where you will use the information and concepts from all the sources to engage other students in a general debate. The instructor will divide the class into groups for the debate. The groups should eventually reach a consensus on one of the the options listed below.


 DEBATE QUESTION: Should the U.S. Senate ratify the Koyto Treaty and agree to quantified legally-binding objectives for greenhouse gas emission limitations and significant overall reductions within specified time frames?
 Option # 1: Yes. Establish an international agreement on a long term goal for stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at a level that minimizes the risks to the biosphere and to human societies, with a specific commitment to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2010.

If you endorse this position, make some recommendations about how to reduce the use of fossil fuels or capture the carbon dioxide emitted from them.
Option # 2: No. No action is needed because the "theory" of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is an unsupported assumption. Continued research is necessary, before any costly counter measures are implemented.

Various theoretical climate models used to predict future warming can not be relied upon and are not validated by existing climate record.


INTERNET RESOURCES:

General information:

EPA Global Warming Site - very comprehensive and complete

FAQ from the EPA
Climate Change - Many Links to fact sheets - look on left side for contents

Global Warming - good presentation

The first references are either general information and/or on the YES side of the debate.

1. Global Warming

 Global Warming - an introduction. The major question is whether the global climate is warming as a result of human activities which are altering the composition of the atmosphere and effecting the natural greenhouse effect. A build up of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, has occurred and is not disputed. There is uncertainty about whether the world climate temperature has increased as a result of the increase in the greenhouse gases and whether it is caused by human activities.
Graphic Slides (14) - Excellent Visual summaries of concepts - UNEP
What is the Greenhouse Effect?

Greenhouse effect - EPA

Greenhouse Effect graphic - UNEP
Why isn't the earth an oven? Earth Observatory - do the first three pages in this series - very detailed.

Climate Change Science -

 What are greenhouse gases and how do they work? ProfONotes: Greenhouse gases -
Infrared Spectra of Greenhouses gases - ChemLinks Module
 Are Global Temperatures Increasing? Graphic Temperature Trends - UNEP
Temperature Trends continue in 1999 - Earth Observatory
Global Temperature Trends - ChemConnections

2. Evidence for Global Warming

 Ice Core Data ProfONotes: Evidence for Global Warming
Ice core Information on temperature - Australian Antarctic Division
 Polar Ice and Land Glaciers Polar and Land Glacier Ice Melting - Earth Observatory
Current Climate Clues in the Ice - Earth Observatory
 Other Climate Indicators Phytoplankton and Climate Change - Earth Observatory
Carbon Release from Frozen Soils - Earth Observatory
 Evidence from Climate Change Models

Evidence from Climate Change Models

Evidence from Past Climates

Climate Models: How Reliable are their Predictions? A comprehensive look at how models are constructed, used, and an evaluation of the predictions made from these models.

3. Causes for Global Warming

Evidence for Correlation of Fossil Fuel Use and Carbon Dioxide  ProfONotes: Evidence of Fossil Fuel Use
Greenhouse Gas Emissions - EPA
Carbon Cycle and Combustion of Fossil Fuels ProfONotes:Combustion Reaction
ProfONotes:Carbon Cycle
Carbon Cycle - carbon flux - UNEP graphic
 Biomass burning and deforestation Biomass Burning - Earth Observatory
Tropical Deforestation - Earth Observatory
 Emissions of Greenhouse Gases  National Emissions Reports - EPA

4. Consequences and Impacts of Global Warming -

 General Impact Links

 Impacts - General Reference - EPA

Impact Graphics links (many) - UNEP

 Sea Level Increases  Sea Level Changes - UNEP - Graphic
Are sea levels changing over the past 50 years? ChemLinks Module
What are the effects of sea level changes?
Sea Level Changes - EPA
 Agriculture Agriculture Changes - UNEP
Carbon Storage - Earth Observatory
Agriculture Vulnerability - EPA
 Biodiversity and Ecological Changes  Biodiversity - UNEP
 Water Resources Water Resource Changes - UNEP - Graphic
Water - EPA
 Climate disaster and Extreme Weather  Extreme Weather - UNEP

5. Actions to Limit the Impact of Global Warming

 Variety of links and actions Actions at all Levels - EPA - Look at the series of links in the side menu.
 Alternative Energy Sources Alternate energy Fact Sheets
Remove carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power generation.  Carbon Sequestration

6. Proposed Climate Change Treaty - Koyto

 The "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" was adopted by a large number of nations at the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro.

Beginners Guide to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

At this time firm targets and timetables were established in 1997, in a new effort in Koyto, Japan.

2. ...endorse the Second Assessment Report of the IPCC as currently the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, its impacts and response options now available. ....should provide a scientific basis for urgently strengthening action at the global, regional and national levels, ... to limit and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and for all Parties to support the development of a Protocol; and note the findings of the IPCC, in particular the following:
- The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. Without specific policies to mitigate climate change, the global average surface temperature relative to 1990 is projected to increase by about 2 C (between 1 C and 3.5 C) by 2100; average sea level is projected to rise by about 50 centimeters (between 15 and 95 centimeters) above present levels by 2100. Stabilization of atmospheric concentrations at twice preindustrial levels will eventually require global emissions to be less than 50 per cent of current levels;
- The projected changes in climate will result in significant, often adverse, impacts on many ecological systems and socioeconomic sectors, including food supply and water resources, and on human health. In some cases, the impacts are potentially irreversible; developing countries and small island countries are typically more vulnerable to climate change;
- Significant reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions are technically possible and economically feasible by utilizing an array of technology policy measures that accelerate technology development, diffusion and transfer; and significant no regrets opportunities are available in most countries to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions;

8. Instruct their representatives to accelerate negotiations on the text of a legally-binding protocol or another legal instrument to be completed in due time ...regarding:

* policies and measures including, as appropriate, regarding energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry, waste management, economic instruments, institutions and mechanisms;

*quantified legally-binding objectives for emission limitations and significant overall reductions within specified timeframes, such as 2005, 2010, 2020, with respect to their anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol;"

Comparison of current carbon dioxide levels with Koyto limits. Countries listed without Koyto limits are not included in the treaty. Source: ChemConnections


DEBATE QUESTION: Should the U.S. Senate ratify the Koyto Treaty and agree to quantified legally-binding objectives for greenhouse gas emission limitations and significant overall reductions within specified time frames?


General Information Sites for the final Debate Question

 Sites which support the "YES" side

 Sites which support the "NO" side

Global Warming: Environmental Defense Fund - Click on climate Change

Koyto Protocal - Background - Feeling the Heat

Global Warming in Brief

Is Global Warming Real? - seems to be well done, although it is hard to find the qualifications of the authors

Global Warming Skeptic's page

Still Waiting for Greenhouse - A Lukewarm View of Global Warming by - John L. Daly

Another Skeptic's page -

World Climate Report gives contrary views on global warming. Look at the Current Features section to get a long list of articles from past issues. Might be slow in loading.


DEBATE QUESTION: Should the U.S. Senate ratify the Koyto Treaty and agree to quantified legally-binding objectives for greenhouse gas emission limitations and significant overall reductions within specified time frames?


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