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88-382 Climate Change, Energy Policy and Environmental Protection
Early in 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue its Third Assessment Report on the state of the world's climate. A summary of the report was recently released to governments in advance of the November, 2000 COP-6 meeting of the parties to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the key international instruments dealing with the problem. The IPCC's 3rd assessment report paints a considerably bleaker picture of global warming than its 2nd report issued in 1995, which predicted an increase of between 1.8 and 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the earth's average surface air temperature due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) if mitigation measures were not taken. The new report predicts an increase of no less than 11 degrees fahrenheit by the end of this century, and confirms that "there is stronger evidence of human influence" on climate. Significantly, much of the increase is attributed to a decline in sulfate emissions resulting from air quality control measures implemented by many industrialized nations and hence a decline in the cooling effect of these sulfates, a classic example of the interrelated nature of air and atmosphere related environmental problems. The goal of the COP-6 negotiations is to work out the details of the methods and mechanisms by which states parties may implement the commitments made in the Protocol. These include direct domestic reductions in emissions of six GHGs, and the use of "sinks" to increase carbon absorption, as well as Joint Implementation (JI) programs with other states, Emissions Trading and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This course will examine the problem of climate change and energy policy, and the interconnection with national energy policies, laws and regulations and the energy-related environmental impacts and policy.
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