Theory and Policy in the Context of EU Enlargement and Economic Transition
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by John W. Maxwell and Rafael Reuveny
Chapter 2: The Kyoto Protocol: A Flawed Concept
2. The Kyoto Protocol: a ﬂawed concept Richard N. Cooper In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Third Assessment Report on the prospects for and likely impact of increases in global average temperature over the next century. The summary report of Working Group 1 (WG 1), on science, widened the range of likely temperature increase, compared with the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report ﬁve years earlier, to 1.4–5.8 degrees centigrade, with the increase in the upper end of the range receiving wide public attention. The summary report of Working Group 2, on impacts, sketched a somber picture of how both human settlements and non-human ecologies might be adversely aﬀected by the rise in temperature and an accompanying rise in sea level. A close reading of the WG 1 Report, however, reveals that the wider range, and in particular the increase in the upper end of the range, was not at all due to a reassessment of the scientiﬁc evidence accumulated and closely studied since the mid-1990s. Rather, it was due to a change in the way that emissions over the next century of greenhouse gases (GHG), mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel consumption and deforestation, and methane (CH4) from agriculture and waste disposal, were characterized. Instead of the single ‘business as usual’ emissions trajectory used in the Second Assessment Report (SAR), the Third Assessment Report (TAR) produces six diﬀerent scenarios, depending on the evolution both of the world economy and of its...
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