Реферат: Climate changeInternational Activities
No single country can resolve the problem of global climate change. Recognizing this, the United States is engaged in many activities to facilitate closer international cooperation. To this end, the U.S. government has actively participated in international research and assessment efforts (e.g., through the IPCC), in efforts to develop and implement a global climate change strategy (through the FCCC Conference of the Parties and its varied subsidiary bodies and through the Climate Technology Initiative), and by providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries to facilitate development of mitigation and sequestration strategies (e.g., through the Global Environment Facility (GEF)). Bilateral and multilateral opportunities are currently being implemented, with some designed to capitalize on the technological capabilities of the private sector, and others to work on a government-to-government basis.
In the existing Convention framework, the United States has seconded technical experts to the FCCC secretariat to help implement methodological, technical, and technological activities. U.S. experts review national communications of other Parties and are helping to advance the development of methodologies for inventorying national emissions.
The United States has been active in promoting next steps under the Convention. It has encouraged all countries to take appropriate analyses of their own circumstances before taking action--and then act on these analyses. It has suggested--and, where possible, has demonstrated--flexible and robust institutional systems through which actions can be taken, such as programs to implement emission-reduction activities jointly between Parties, and emission-trading programs. The United States has also sought to use its best diplomatic efforts to prod those in the international community reluctant to act, seeking to provide assurances that the issue is critical and warrants global attention. Through these efforts, the ongoing negotiations are expected to successfully conclude in late 1997. The successful implementation of the Convention and a new legal instrument will ensure that the potential hazards of climate change will never be realized.
As a major donor to the GEF, the United States has contributed approximately $190 million to help developing countries meet the incremental costs of protecting the global environment. Although the United States is behind in the voluntary payment schedule agreed upon during the GEF replenishment adopted in 1994, plans have been made to pay off these arrears.
The principles of the U.S. development assistance strategy lie at the heart of U.S. bilateral mitigation projects. These principles include the concepts of conservation and cultural respect, as well as empowerment of local citizenry. The U.S. government works primarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In fact, mitigation of global climate change is one of USAID's two global environmental priorities. Other agencies working in the climate change field, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, are also active internationally. Projects fit into various general categories, such as increasing the efficiency of power operation and use, adopting renewable-energy technologies, reducing air pollution, improving agricultural and livestock practices, and decreasing deforestation and improving land use.
Perhaps none of the U.S. programs is as well known as the U.S. Country Studies Program. The program is currently assisting fifty-five developing countries and countries with economies in transition to market economies with climate change studies intended to build human and institutional capacity to address climate change. Through its Support for National Action Plans, the program is supporting the preparation of national climate action plans for eighteen developing countries, which will lay the foundation for their national communication, as required by the FCCC. More than twenty-five additional countries have requested similar assistance from the Country Studies Program.
The United States is also committed to facilitating the commercial transfer of energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies that can help developing countries achieve sustainable development. Under the auspices of the Climate Technology Initiative, the U.S. has taken a lead role in a task force on Energy Technology Networking and Capacity Building, the efforts of which focus on increasing the availability of reliable climate change technologies, developing options for improving access to data in developing countries, and supporting experts in the field around the world. The United States is also engaged in various other projects intended to help countries with mitigation and adaptation issues. The International Activities chapter focuses on the most important of these U.S. efforts.
Introduction and Overview
Since the historic gathering of representatives from 172 countries at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, issues of environmental protection have remained high on national and international priorities. Climate change is one of the most visible of these issues--and one in which some of the most significant progress has been made since the 1992 session. Perhaps the crowning achievement in Rio was the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). This Convention represented a shared commitment by nations around the world to reduce the potential risks of a major global environmental problem. Its ultimate objective is to:
Achieve ? stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic human interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
However, since the 1992 Earth Summit, the global community has found that actions to mitigate climate change will need to be more aggressive than anticipated. At the same time, the rationale for action has proven more compelling. Few "Annex I" countries (the Climate Convention's term for developed countries, including Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries and countries with economies in transition to market economies) have demonstrated an ability to meet the laudable, albeit nonbinding, goal of the Convention--"to return emissions of greenhouse gases to their 1990 levels by the end of the decade." While voluntary programs have demonstrated that substantial reductions are achievable at economic savings or low costs, the success of these programs has been overshadowed by lower-than-expected energy prices as well as higher-than-expected economic growth and electricity demand, among other factors.
Recognizing that even the most draconian measures would likely be insufficient to reverse the growth in greenhouse gases and return U.S. emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000, new U.S. efforts are focusing most intensively on the post-2000 period. Thus, while some new voluntary actions have already been proposed (and are included in this report), an effort to develop a comprehensive program to address rising U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is being developed in the context of the ongoing treaty negotiations and will be reported in the next U.S. communication.
In spite of difficulties in meeting a domestic goal to return emissions to their 1990 levels, the U.S. commitment to addressing the climate change problem remains a high priority. President Clinton, in remarks made in November 1996, both underlined U.S. concerns and exhorted the nations of the world to act:
“We must work to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. These gases released by cars and power plants and burning forests affect our health and our climate. They are literally warming our planet. If they continue unabated, the consequences will be nothing short of devastating ?. We must stand together against the threat of global warming. A greenhouse may be a good place to raise plants; it is no place to nurture our children. And we can avoid dangerous global warming if we begin today and if we begin together.”
Difficulties in meeting the "aim" of the Climate Convention prompted the international community, gathered at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCCC (held in Berlin, Germany, in March 1995), to agree on a new approach to addressing the climate change problem. At their first session, the Parties decided to negotiate a new legal instrument containing appropriate next steps under the Convention. At the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2), the United States expressed its view that the new agreement should include three main elements:
* a realistic and achievable binding target (instead of the hortatory goals and nonbinding aims of the existing Convention),
* flexibility in implementation, and
* the participation of developing countries.
Each of these elements was included in a Ministerial Declaration agreed to at COP-2, and the United States expects that a legal instrument containing these elements will be one of the outcomes from the Third Conference of the Parties, to be held in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.
As international negotiations continue on a new legal commitment, the United States is assessing options for a domestic program. The results of this analytical effort are being used to inform the U.S. negotiating positions, and will subsequently be used to develop compliance strategies to meet any commitments established under the new regime.
While the Parties involved in the negotiations are determining next steps for collective action, all countries are still actively pursuing the programs adopted earlier in the decade to control emissions. This document describes the current U.S. program. It represents the second formal U.S. communication under the FCCC, as required under Articles 4.2 and 12. As with the Climate Action Report published by the United States in 1994, it is a "freeze frame"--a look at the current moment in time in the U.S. program. This report does not predict additional future activities. Nor is it intended to be a substitute for existing or future decision-making processes--whether administrative or legislative--or for additional measures developed by or with the private sector.
This document has been developed using the methodologies and format agreed to at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCCC, and modified by the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties and by sessions of the Convention's Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation. The United States assumes that this communication, like those of other countries--and like the preceding U.S. communication--will be subject to a thorough review, and discussed in the evaluation process for the Parties of the Convention. Even though the measures listed in this report are not expected to reduce U.S. emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2000, the United States believes that many of the climate change actions being implemented have been successful at reducing emissions, send valuable signals to the private sector, and may be appropriate models for other countries. The U.S. experience should also ensure that future efforts are more effective in reversing the rising trend of emissions and returning U.S. emissions to more environmentally sustainable levels.
The 1992 Convention effort was largely predicated on the scientific and technical information produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 1990 report. The IPCC consists of more than two thousand of the world's best scientists with expertise in the physical, social, and economic sciences relevant to the climate issue. The United States stands firmly behind the IPCC's conclusions. As the actions being taken by the United States ultimately depend on the nation's understanding of the science, it is important to at least briefly review this information here.
The Earth absorbs energy from the sun in the form of solar radiation. About one-third is reflected, and the rest is absorbed by different components of the climate system, including the atmosphere, the oceans, the land surface, and the biota. The incoming energy is balanced over the long term by outgoing radiation from the Earth-atmosphere system, with outgoing radiation taking the form of long-wave, invisible infrared energy. The magnitude of this outgoing radiation is affected in part by the temperature of the Earth-atmosphere system.
Several human and natural activities can change the balance between the energy absorbed by the Earth and that emitted in the form of long-wave infrared radiation. On the natural side, these include changes in solar radiation (the sun's energy varies by small amounts--approximately 0.1 percent over an eleven-year cycle--and variations over longer periods also occur). They also include volcanic eruptions, injecting huge clouds of sulfur-containing gases, which tend to cool the Earth's surface and atmosphere over a few years. On the human-induced side, the balance can be changed by emissions from land-use changes and industrial practices that add or remove "heat-trapping" or "greenhouse" gases, thus changing atmospheric absorption of radiation.
Greenhouse gases of policy significance include carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and their substitutes, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); the long-lived fully fluorinated hydrocarbons, such as perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and ozone (O3). Although most of these gases occur naturally (the exceptions are the CFCs, their substitutes, and the long-lived PFCs), the concentrations of all of these gases are changing as a result of human activities.
For example, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has risen about 30 percent since the 1700s--an increase responsible for more than half of the enhancement of the trapping of the infrared radiation due to human activities. In addition to their steady rise, many of these greenhouse gases have long atmospheric residence times (several decades to centuries), which means that atmospheric levels of these gases will return to preindustrial levels only if emissions are sharply reduced, and even then only after a long time. Internationally accepted science indicates that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases will raise atmospheric and oceanic temperatures and could alter associated weather and circulation patterns.
In a report synthesizing its second assessment and focusing on the relevance of its scientific analyses to the ultimate objective of the Convention, the IPCC concluded:
* Human activities--including the burning of fossil fuels, land use, and agriculture--are changing the atmospheric composition. Taken together, they are projected to lead to changes in global and regional climate and climate-related parameters, such as temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture.
* Some human communities--particularly those with limited access to mitigating technologies--are becoming more vulnerable to natural hazards and can be expected to suffer significantly from the impacts of climate-related changes, such as high-temperature events, floods, and droughts, potentially resulting in fires, pest outbreaks, ecosystem loss, and an overall reduction in the level of primary productivity.
The IPCC also concluded that, given the current trends in emissions, global concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely to grow significantly through the next century and beyond, and the adverse impacts from these changes will become greater. The remainder of this report seeks to elucidate the programs, policies, and measures being taken in the United States to begin moving away from this trend of increasing emissions, and to help move the world away from the trend of globally increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Principal Conclusions of the IPCC's Second Assessment Report
While the basic facts about the science of climate have been understood and broadly accepted for years, new information is steadily emerging--and influencing the policy process. In 1995, the IPCC released its Second Assessment Report, which not only validated most of the IPCC's earlier findings, but because of the considerable new work that had been undertaken during the five years since its previous full-scale assessment, broke new ground. The report is divided into three sections: physical sciences related to climate impacts; adaptation and mitigation responses; and cross-cutting issues, including economics and social sciences.
The Climate Science
* Human activities are changing the atmospheric concentrations and distributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols.
* Global average temperatures have increased about 0.3-0.6°C (about 0.5-1.0°F) over the last century.
* The ability of climate models to simulate observed trends has improved--although there is still considerable regional uncertainty with regard to changes.
* The balance of evidence suggests there is a discernible human influence on global climate.
* Aerosol sulfates (a component of acid rain) offset some of the warming by greenhouse gases.
* The IPCC mid-range scenario projects an increase of 2.0°C (3.7°F) by 2100 (with a range of 1.0-3.5°C (about 1.8-6.3°F).
* The average global warming projected in the IPCC mid-range scenario is greater than any seen in the last ten thousand years.
* Sea level is projected to rise (due to thermal expansion of the oceans, and melting of glaciers and ice sheets) by about 50 centimeters (20 inches) by 2100, with a range of 15-95 centimeters (about 6-38 inches).
* Even after a stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures would continue to increase for several decades, and sea level would continue to rise for centuries.
Vulnerability, Likely Impacts, and Possible Responses
* Climate change is likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse effects on human health. Direct and indirect effects can be expected to lead to increased mortality.
* Coastal infrastructure is likely to be extremely vulnerable. A 50-centimeter (20-inch) rise in sea level would place approximately 120 million people at risk.
* Natural and managed ecosystems are also at risk: forests, agricultural areas, and aquatic and marine life are all susceptible.
* However, adaptation and mitigation options are numerous. Significant reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions are technically possible and can be economically feasible, using an extensive array of technologies and policy measures that accelerate technology development, diffusion, and transfer.
* Early mitigation may increase flexibility in moving toward a stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Economic risks of rapid abatement must be balanced against risks of delay.
* Significant "no regrets" opportunities are available in most countries. Next steps must recognize equity considerations.
* Costs of stabilization of emissions at 1990 levels in OECD countries could range considerably (from a gain of $60 billion to a loss of about $240 billion) over the next several decades.
In responding to the threat of global climate change, U.S. policymakers must consider the special circumstances created by a unique blend of challenges and opportunities. The National Circumstances chapter of this report attempts to explain the particular situation in the United States--including its climate, natural resources, population trends, economy, energy mix, and political system--as a backdrop for understanding the U.S. perspective on global climate change.
The United States is unusual in that it encompasses a wide variety of climate conditions within its borders, from subtropical to tundra. This diversity complicates the discussion of impacts of global climate change within the United States because those impacts would vary widely. This diversity also adds to U.S. emission levels, as heating and cooling demands drive up emissions. Recent record levels of precipitation--both in snowfall and rain--consistent with what could be expected under a changed climate, have raised the awareness of climate impacts at the local and regional levels, and may make it somewhat easier to predict the effects of increased precipitation.
The United States also is uncommonly rich in land resources, both in extent and diversity. U.S. land area totals about 931 million hectares (2.3 billion acres), including grassland pasture and range, forest, and cropland. Forested land has been increasing, while grasslands and croplands are slowly declining and being converted to other uses. The decline in wetlands has slowed significantly as a result of the "no net loss" policy being implemented.
With just over 265 million people, the United States is the third most populous country in the world, although population density varies widely throughout the country, and is generally very low. Although population increase is moderate from a global perspective, it is high relative to the average for all industrialized countries. Moreover, the number of households is growing rapidly. These and other factors drive U.S. emissions to higher per capita rates than those in most other countries with higher population densities, smaller land areas, or more concentrated distribution of resources to population centers.
The U.S. market economy is based on property rights and a reliance on the efficiency of the market as a means of allocating resources. The government plays a key role in addressing market failures and promoting social welfare, including through the imposition of regulations on pollutants and the protection of property rights, but is cautious in its interventions. Thus, the infrastructure exists to limit emissions of greenhouse gases--although the strong political and economic preference is to undertake such controls through flexible and cost-effective programs, including voluntary programs and market instruments, where appropriate.
U.S. economic growth averaged 3 percent annually from 1960 to 1993, and employment nearly tripled as the overall labor force participation rate rose to 66 percent. The service sector--which includes communications, utilities, finance, insurance, and real estate--has grown rapidly, and now accounts for more than 36 percent of the economy. The increasing role of trade in the U.S. economy heightens concerns about the competitiveness effects of climate policies.
During the 1980s, the U.S. budget deficit grew rapidly, as did the ratio of debt to gross domestic product, and a political consensus emerged on the goal of a balanced budget. The result is a tighter federal budget with many competing priorities.
The United States is the world's largest energy producer and consumer. Abundant resources of all fossil fuels have contributed to low prices and specialization in relatively energy-intensive activities. Energy consumption has nearly doubled since 1960, and would have grown far more, because of growth in the economy, population, and transportation needs, had it not been for impressive reductions in U.S. energy intensity. Industrial energy intensity has declined most markedly, due to structural shifts and efficiency improvements. In the residential and commercial sectors, efficiency improvements largely offset the growth in the number and size of both residential and commercial buildings. Likewise, in the transportation sector, efficiency moderated the rise in total fuel consumption from 1973 to 1995 to only 26 percent, despite dramatic increases in both the number of vehicles and the distances they are driven. Fossil fuel prices below levels assumed in the 1993 Climate Change Action Plan, however, have contributed to the unexpectedly large growth in U.S. emissions.
While unique national circumstances point to the reasons for the current levels (and increases) in U.S. emissions, they also suggest the potential for emission reductions. Successful government and private-sector programs are beginning to exploit some of the inefficiencies in the manufacturing sector. The development of new, climate-friendly technologies is a rapidly growing industry, with significant long-term potential for domestic and international emission reductions.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Inventorying the national emissions of greenhouse gases is a task shared by several departments within the executive branch of the federal government, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture. The Greenhouse Gas Inventory chapter summarizes the most current information on U.S. greenhouse gas emission trends--and represents the 1997 submission from the United States in fulfillment of its annual inventory reporting obligation. The estimates presented in this chapter were compiled using methods consistent with those recommended by the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; therefore, the U.S. emissions inventory should be comparable to those submitted by others under the FCCC.
Table 1-1 summarizes the recent trends in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 1995. The three most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are also inventoried. Consistent with the requirements in the Climate Convention only to address emissions of gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions are not inventoried, nor are mitigation measures for these compounds described.
Note: The totals presented in the summary tables in this chapter may not equal the sum of the individual source categories due to rounding.
* These estimates for the conterminous United States for 1990-91 and 1993-95 are interpolated from forest inventories in 1987 and 1992 and from projections through 2040. The calculation method reflects long-term averages, rather than specific events in any given year.
Overall, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have increased annually by just over one percent. The trend of U.S. emissions--which decreased from 1990 to 1991, and then increased again in 1992--is a consequence of changes in total energy consumption resulting from the U.S. economic slowdown in the beginning of this decade and its subsequent recovery.
Carbon dioxide accounts for the largest share of U.S. greenhouse gases--approximately 85 percent--although the carbon sinks in forested lands offset CO2 emissions by about 8 percent. During 1990-95, greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise in the United States, with CO2 increasing approximately 6 percent, methane approximately 4 percent, N2O nearly 10 percent, and HFCs approximately 7 percent. Fossil fuel combustion accounts for 99 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions. (Chapter 3 of this report explains the use of MMTCE in converting emissions of greenhouse gases to carbon equivalents.)
Although methane emissions are lower than CO2 emissions, methane's footprint is large: in a 100-year time span it is considered to be twenty-one times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere and is responsible for about 10 percent of the warming caused by U.S. emissions. In addition, in the last two centuries alone, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled. Emissions of methane are largely generated by landfills, agriculture, oil and natural gas systems, and coal mining, with landfills comprising the single largest source of the gas. In 1995, methane emissions from U.S. landfills were 63.5 MMTCE, equaling approximately 36 percent of total U.S. methane emissions. Agriculture supplied about 30 percent of U.S. methane emissions in that same year.
Nitrous oxide is also emitted in much smaller amounts than carbon dioxide in the United States and is responsible for approximately 2.4 percent of the U.S. share of the greenhouse effect. However, like methane, it is a more powerful heat trap--310 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period. The main anthropogenic activities producing nitrous oxide are agriculture, fossil fuel combustion, and the production of adipic and nitric acids. Figures from 1995 show the agricultural sector emitting 46 percent of the total (18.4 MMTCE), with fossil fuel combustion generating 31 percent.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are among the compounds introduced to replace ozone-depleting substances, which are being phased out as a result of the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Because HFCs have significant potential to alter the Earth's radiative balance, they are included in this inventory. Many of the compounds of this nature are extremely stable and remain in the atmosphere for extended periods of time, which results in a significant atmospheric accumulation over time. U.S. emissions of these gases have risen nearly 60 percent as they are phased in as substitutes for gases that are no longer allowed under the Montreal Protocol--a rate of growth that is not anticipated to continue. Currently, HFCs account for less than 2 percent of U.S. radiative forcing.
Mitigating Climate Change
In October 1993, in response to the threat of global climate change, President Clinton and Vice President Gore announced the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). The Plan was designed to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, while guiding the U.S. economy toward environmentally sound economic growth into the next century. This report updates the programs in the CCAP (including an appendix providing one-page descriptions of each program), describes several additional initiatives developed to further reduce emission growth rates, and estimates future emissions based on the current set of practices and programs.
CCAP programs represent an effort to stimulate actions that are both profitable for individual private-sector participants as well as beneficial to the environment. Currently, more than forty programs are in effect, combining efforts of the government at the federal, state, and local levels with those of the private sector. The CCAP has five goals: preserving the environment, enhancing sustainable growth environmentally and economically, building partnerships, involving the public, and encouraging international emission reductions.
Carbon dioxide emissions constitute the bulk of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. CCAP recognizes that investing in energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce these emissions. The largest proportion of CCAP programs contains measures that reduce carbon dioxide emissions while simultaneously enhancing domestic productivity and competitiveness. Other programs seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by investing in renewable-energy and other low-carbon, energy-supply technologies, which will also provide longer-term benefits, such as increased efficiency and related cost-savings and pollution prevention. A smaller number of programs are targeted at methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases (Table 1-2).
A review and update of the CCAP was initiated in 1995, involving a federal government interagency review process and a public hearing and comment period. Revisions to the CCAP (and to the calculation of the effects of its measures) were initiated in light of comments received during this process and are reflected in this document. In addition, as called for under FCCC reporting guidelines, the projections of the effects of measures taken are extended to the year 2020, with the understanding that uncertainties become greater in more distant years.
One of the principal products of the review was an assessment of the effectiveness of the CCAP programs, which were rated to be successful at reducing emissions. Currently, more than 5,000 organizations are participating in programs around the United States. The pollution-prevention benefits of these innovative programs are beginning to multiply rapidly in response to the groundwork laid and the partnerships made. In all, the programs are expected to achieve a large portion of the reductions projected in the CCAP. In fact, it is estimated that these programs will result in energy cost savings of $10 billion annually in 2000.
However, the review has also made clear the significantly reduced impact to be expected from the programs as a result of the nearly 40 percent reduction of CCAP funding by Congress from the amount requested by the President, higher-than-expected electricity demand, and lower-than-expected energy prices. In addition, before the programs' implementation, CCAP program managers could not always anticipate the impacts of projected climate change emission reductions. Information available from the first tranche of activity was considered in developing the current projections.
A second product of the review was the identification of several measures that have since been added to the CCAP portfolio. The most significant of these is the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, which greatly expands activities already included in the CCAP, and focuses on reducing the emissions of extremely potent greenhouse gases from three industrial applications--semiconductor production, electrical transmission and distribution systems, and magnesium casting. The expanded initiative is anticipated to reduce emissions by an additional 6.5 MMTCE by 2000, and 10.0 MMTCE by 2010. Other programs include improving energy efficiency in the construction of and supply of energy to commercial and industrial buildings, expanding residential markets for energy-efficient lighting products, and providing information on renewable energy to reduce barriers to the adoption of clean technologies.
The analysis of individual actions is integrated with revised forecasts of economic growth, energy prices, program funding, and regulatory developments to provide an updated comprehensive perspective on current and projected greenhouse gas emission levels. This analysis involved an updating of the baseline calculation in light of new economic assumptions regarding energy prices, economic growth, and technology improvements, among other factors. In 1993, the first U.S. submission projected year 2000 baseline emissions to be 106 MMTCE above their 1990 levels; with current program funding, emissions are now projected to exceed 1990 levels by 188 MMTCE. Two principal factors are responsible:
* The analysis used to develop CCAP significantly underestimated the reductions that would be needed by programs to return emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. This was due to several factors, including lower-than-expected fuel prices, strong economic growth, regulatory limitations within and outside of CCAP, and improved information on emissions of some potent greenhouse gases.
* In addition, diminished levels of funding by Congress have affected both CCAP programs and other federal programs that reduce emissions, limiting their effectiveness.
While neither the measures initiated in 1993 nor the additional actions developed since then and included in this report will be adequate to meet the emissions goal enunciated by the President, they have significantly reduced emissions below growth rates that otherwise would have occurred. Based on current funding levels, the revised action plan is expected to reduce emissions by 76 MMTCE in the year 2000--or 70 percent of the reductions projected in the CCAP. Annual energy cost savings to businesses and consumers from CCAP actions are anticipated to be $10 billion (1995 dollars) by the year 2000. Even greater reductions are estimated from these measures in the post-2000 period: reductions of 169 MMTCE are projected for 2010, and 230 MMTCE for 2020. Annual energy savings are projected to grow to $50 billion (1995 dollars) in the year 2010.
A separate component of this chapter addresses the U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation. Projects undertaken through this initiative allow private-sector partners to offset emissions from domestic activities through reductions achieved in other countries. The Climate Convention established a pilot program for joint implementation at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties. Guidelines for reporting under the pilot program were established by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice at its fifth session in February 1997. This report uses those guidelines to report on project activity.
Notes: Several of the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) programs are part of larger federal efforts. These programs include Actions 2, 4, 6, 7, 15, 16, 27, 32, and 33. Only the CCAP portions of these programs are included in this table. Also, numbers may not add precisely due to interactive effects and rounding.
* There is uncertainty in any attempt to project future emission levels and program impacts, and this uncertainty becomes greater with longer forecast periods. The results of this evaluation of CCAP represent a best estimate. They are also based on the assumption that programs will continue to be funded at current funding levels.
** Includes Waste Wise, NICE3, and USDA's Expansion of Recycling Technology. Energy savings and sequestration are scored separately.
*** Energy savings and N2O savings are scored separately.
+ Additional forestry initiatives by electric utilities are included in Climate Challenge, a Foundation Program.
++ Foundation action partners provide additional reductions in almost all sectors and gases. These values only represent incremental savings not accounted for in other actions or baseline activities.
+++ For the Climate Challenge program, there is considerable uncertainty at this time in quantifying impacts beyond the year 2000, largely because partners' Climate Challenge plans do not currently extend beyond 2000.Given that participation levels are growing and that most utilities appear to be meeting or expanding upon their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is reasonable to expect that the Climate Challenge program will deliver more significant reductions.
Research and Systematic Observation
The U.S. government has dedicated significant resources to research on global climate change. U.S. research efforts (some of which include the private sector) are divided into several general categories, including prediction of climate change, impacts and adaptation, mitigation and new technologies, and socioeconomic analysis and assessment. In addition, U.S. scientists actively coordinate with research and capacity-building efforts in other countries.
The principal vehicle for undertaking climate change research at the federal level is the United States Global Change Research Program. The multiagency program was funded in fiscal year 1997 at approximately $1.8 billion. A significant portion of the Research Program's activities is targeted at improving capabilities to predict climate change, including the human-induced contribution to climate change, and its implications for society and the environment. The United States also is committed to continuing programs in research and observation, with the aim of developing the information base required to improve predictions of climate change and its repercussions, as well as the ability to reduce emissions while sustaining food production, ecosystems, and economic development.
Extensive efforts also are being made to understand the consequences of climate change, regional impacts, and the potential for adaptation. Another area being explored by researchers is the development of technologies that would enable the United States to supply energy, food, water, ecosystem services, and a healthy environment to U.S. citizens, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts have been divided into short- and longer-term projects involving the private sector, as well as government-sponsored research.
Perhaps most notable in the international component of the research effort is U.S. participation in IPCC work. U.S. scientists participated in the preparation and review of nearly all of the more than 100 chapters of the over 2,000-page report. Researchers also participated in the collection and analysis of the underlying data through programs as varied as the World Climate Research Program, the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and an impressive array of bilateral scientific and technical work.
Overall, the conclusions to be drawn from this report can be summarized in three parts:
* Climate change is a clearly defined problem and is well recognized at the highest levels in the U.S. government. Senior officials (from the President to heads of cabinet agencies and departments) have taken a strong stand in favor of seeking to reduce emissions.
* The combined effort to address climate change (described in this report, and including the Research Program, the total costs of U.S. mitigation actions, and the international effort) are in excess of $2 billion--a significant step by any standard.
* Notwithstanding this effort, emissions continue to grow. More aggressive actions must be taken to combat the threat of climate change.
The United States is developing a long-term, post-2000 strategy to address the climate change problem. This effort, which has both a multilateral, international focus and a domestic focus, is expected to be made public in the next few months. It will be based on an extensive analytic effort to assess the effects of an array of additional policy choices, including setting legally binding, internationally agreed caps on emissions. It will consider the advantages of market-based instruments for both domestic and international emissions trading, as well as joint implementation for credit with developing countries. It will consider approaches to be taken for gases for which monitoring and measurement are relatively simple (e.g., for carbon dioxide emissions from stationary energy sources), as well as those gases for which emissions are more difficult to measure (such as nitrous oxides from agriculture).
Currently underway, the effort is intensive and time-consuming. It involves more than twenty agencies within the federal government, as well as several offices in the Executive Office of the President. Congress will be consulted in the development of policies and will most likely need to enact legislation to implement any agreed program. A significant stakeholder outreach program will be undertaken over the next several months to engage the best thinking on alternative approaches, and following adoption of a program to ensure maximum compliance with the course of action chosen.
- Global Warming International Center
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