From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


July 29, 2005

No. 44



* The Global Warming Debate: Updates And Activities






the Global Warming Debate:

updates and activities


There have been a few significant developments within the last few weeks in the debate over global warming, both within the U.S. and internationally.


1. The U.S. has created a pact with Australia, China, India, and South Korea to curb their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, called the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This pact is called “complementary” to the Kyoto Protocol, and there is much discussion about whether this is a good-faith effort to address global warming or a smokescreen to allow business as usual.


The U.S. and Australia are the only two industrialized countries that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that the treaty did not require China, India, and other emerging economies to cut back on GHG emissions. The Bush administration in the U.S. and Howard administration in Australia have also complained that the Kyoto Protocol would hurt economic growth and cause job losses in those two countries. The U.S. decided instead to rely on a voluntary approach to GHG reduction.


The new five-nation pact does not call for mandatory limits on GHG emissions, or mandatory reductions. Instead, the five signatory countries will aim to voluntarily encourage the use of the latest technologies (including solar and wind energy) to limit emissions and to make sure the technologies are available in the areas and industries that need them most. The pact is not very specific about how this will be achieved.


One aim of the regional agreement is to try to involve India and China in limiting greenhouse gas emissions through the updating of industrial and energy technology. Nuclear energy is also part of the considerations.


2. The non-partisan National Commission on Energy Policy has proposed that the U.S. government implement mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions, along with a trading scheme, by 2010. This has set off a flurry of criticisms and rebuttals. See all the details at:


3. The G8 summit on July 6-8 in Scotland declared that enough is known now about global warming to state that the problem could have profound environmental effects. Average global temperatures are expected to go up by between 1.4 and 5.8 C over the next century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Leaders of the Group of 8 countries issued a joint communiqué and a "plan of action" on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Development. In the communiqué, the leaders declared that "climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe" and that human activities "contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of the Earth's surface."  

The plan of action adopted by the G8 leaders identifies a range of activities to promote research, information exchange, and cooperation on energy efficiency, renewable and other clean energy sources, adaptation, and illegal logging.


The G8's cornerstone measure is a "dialogue" with emerging economies, mainly on how poorer countries can adopt cleaner energy technology to avoid becoming gigantic C02 polluters. The first dialogue meeting takes place in Britain on November 1. The nations called for a report to be submitted at the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan that would include research and information tied to new technologies in energy efficiency and renewable energy.


Some environmental groups criticized the G8 for not making a stronger statement on global warming and calling for tougher limits on GHG emissions. Others have been more generous. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, for example, stated: “The G8 Summit in Gleneagles has advanced the international debate on climate change and opened a new political dialogue that can in time lead to broad, effective international action. In acknowledging the human contribution to global warming, and the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the leaders took an important step toward that deeper political consensus. The Summit delivered little in the way of concrete action; there was little reason to believe it would. Yet by placing climate change at the top of the Summit’s agenda, Prime Minister Blair forced a necessary debate at the highest levels and won agreement to take the conversation forward.”



The full text of the G8 Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development agreement and the Gleneagles plan of action can be found at:
A summary of the agreement can be found at:



4. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force several months ago, and Europe and Canada are leading the way in establishing mandatory cuts in GHG emissions as a result. In the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries are committed to bringing emissions down to about 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The European Union's target is 8 per cent. “Dirty” industries in signatory countries come under pressure to clean up. Countries and individual businesses not meeting set targets can buy credits from others that generate less pollution.


Many argue that the next generation, post-Kyoto treaty must have far deeper cuts than the current Kyoto Protocol in order to make headway against greenhouse gases. With present trends, emissions will surge by 63 percent by 2030 compared with 2002, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates.



5. New car emission standards have been proposed in California. In the U.S., when it comes to cars, where California goes, the rest of the country follows. California’s latest move – to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2015 – may prove just as far-reaching. Nine states have announced they will follow. The new standards are, of course, being challenged in court.


6. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has unanimously agreed last month to implement aspects of the protocol locally. A total of 169 U.S. cities have agreed to match or better the standards laid out in the Kyoto Protocol through actions such as restoring forests, reducing urban sprawl, developing alternative energy technologies, and educating the public. They have also agreed to pressure state and federal governments to follow Kyoto's targets, and to push Congress to pass the bipartisan Climate Stewardship Act, which would establish a national emissions trading system.

7. Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the first and only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction and trading program in North America, says it will extend and expand the program for an additional four years through 2010. The extended reduction commitment schedule involves annual emission reductions that result in a 6% emissions reduction below baseline by the year 2010.






UPCOMING CONFERENCES (all dates are 2005 unless otherwise noted)


August 2-11

Carbon Cycle and Climate Symposium

Beijing, China

Conference website: 

Contact: Ying Ping Wang –


September 26-30

7th International CO2 Conference

Broomfield, CO

For more information:


November 13-17

Greenhouse 2005: Action on Climate Control

Melbourne, Australia

For more information: 

Contact: Paul Holper








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