Gilles Rheaume, vice-president of policy for the Conference Board of Canada warns of serious problems to come in the Kyoto saga if the federal government doesn't make a fundamental change in how they approach treaty negotiations (Lack of Focus on Kyoto Makes Long-Term Commitments Tough, April 29). But the change required is not one Mr. Rheaume appears to have in mind when he alerts us to the likelihood of "stricter targets for a longer time period" in the next round of Kyoto negotiations.
As everyone in the Bush administration knows, warming in the next 100 years is likely to mirror what has happened since 1970. At this time, the coldest air of Siberia and northwestern Canada began a disproportionate warming -- a hallmark greenhouse signal. The central tendency of all of our climate models is to produce a constant (not a "runaway") warming once this starts.
We therefore know the rate and it is modest: 1.6C in this century. Other (solar) warming also occurred in the last century. During the 0.8C of warming from 1900 to 2000, crop yields quintupled, lifespan doubled and wealth was democratized beyond anyone's dreams. Further, the Bush administration knows, and all Canadians should know, that the Kyoto Protocol, while enormously expensive, with U.S. participation, would stop only 0.07°(C) of warming in the next half-century, an amount too small to be reliably measured.
Rather than turn Canada inside out trying to meet Kyoto's draconian greenhouse gas reduction targets, Environment Minister David Anderson should finally admit what non-governmental climate scientists have been telling him for years: Global warming is an overblown issue. The paradigm shift Canada needs to make regarding Kyoto is simply to withdraw from an ineffectual treaty that won't stop a problem that isn't real.
Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
From letter to thte editor in the National Post: