Exercise 6

Exercise 6: Part Two
Social Response to Global Warming
Student name:________________________
TA name:________________________
You all know that the earth’s nation-states have been negotiating, since 1992, various
agreements to reduce global warming mostly via limits on CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use.
The whole effort comes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCC) agreed to in 1992, with the Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997 as the first real
implementation instrument that set CO2-reduction targets for 2012 (the KP can loosely be called
a “treaty” though for some reason UNFCCC has not been using that term).
The “parties” to the UNFCCC (pretty much all 192 countries on earth) will meet starting
December 7 in Copenhagen to see if they can agree to a successor (post 2012) to the Kyoto
Protocol limits on greenhouse gases (GHG; mostly CO2 and a few others like methane, often
combined into a CO2-equivalent). There is a lot of pressure to “seal a deal” at Copenhagen. The
betting is that they won’t be able to pull off a formal follow-on to Kyoto, but will agree to some
guidelines (we’ll see what happens while this class is still in session!).
We will cover main concepts and some details of the global warming issue in lectures Nov. 5-19
(after exam 2), and you will work on GHG reduction options in exercise 6 (and you might
choose to focus on this issue in your Synthesis Essay, Exercise 7).
In this exercise you analyze the structure of the current UNFCCC and KP, and the potential
future treaty. We’ll discuss this in lecture, too, and we’ll follow the Copenhagen “Conference of
the Parties” (COP)-15 as it progresses in the last week of class.
You can access what you need to know (to do this exercise and to follow COP-15) here:
Go to the “Fact Sheets” page:
and read the fact sheets for:
Kyoto Protocol
Climate Change Science
Copenhagen –Why is a deal so important?
10 FAQs about the Copenhagen deal
The need for Mitigation
Exercise 6: Part Two
Social Response to Global Warming
Student name:________________________
TA name:________________________
ANSWER these questions in short answers (Sentence fragments are OK in this case!). Be sure
to use terms as they are used by the UNFCCC.
(1) One group of countries had specific GHG reduction targets under Kyoto (they are referred to
as “Annex 1 Parties” or countries (there are 38 of them, with the European Community counting
as one). How are they different from other countries?
(2) What is the main logic for assigning reductions to the Annex I countries and not the others
(you’ll need to dig beyond the “fact sheets” for this)?
(3) What specific, quantitative emission reduction target did Annex I countries have under Kyoto
(4) The “CDM mechanism” under Kyoto actually allows the Annex I countries to get credit for
reduced emissions in the other countries. What do the Annex I countries have to do to get this
(5) The climate change science assessment indicates that CO2 emissions from energy use have
grown by what percent since 1990?
(6) The climate change science assessment indicates that CO2 emissions will grow by what range
of percent by 2030?
(7) What proportion of this increase by 2030 is expected to come from Annex I counties (hint:
this is the remainder of the proportion expected from non-Annex I countries)?
(8) The climate change science assessment indicates that early and stringent reductions in CO2
emissions could keep total global warming at about 2-2.4oC (as we’ll see in class, this range has
come to be seen by many countries as the lower threshold of dangerous climate change, so we
should keep it at that or below). What emissions path (peaking when and reducing how fast
afterwards) is needed in order to keep warming at this level or lower?
(9) Check out the news services (NYT, Reuters, WSJ, FT, etc.) and record here what you think
the chances are of a firm deal for an emissions path that avoid dangerous climate change at
Copenhagen: (good; poor; not a snowball’s chance):
Use the graph below (from Parry et al, 2009) to estimate the 50th percentile peak temperature if
Copenhagen does not reach an agreement and we put off starting to reduce GHG emissions until:
(10) 2025:
(11) 2035:
(12) Then use the impacts chart (second) below to identify one projected negative impact that,
based on 50th percentile peak temperature, gets substantially worse if the Copenhagen meeting
cannot set a 2025 target for peak emissions (followed by 3% per annum decline afterwards), but
do manage to set a 2035 target: