Fossil Fuel Gases

Fossil Fuel Gases and their Control

On February 2, 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their fourth report on the assessment of global climate (Science, 9 February, 2007).  Their conclusion is that “the world is warming; it’s not all natural, it’s us; and if nothing is done to control fossil fuel gases, it will get a whole lot worse”.  Since 1906 global air has warmed by 0.74° C and if greenhouse gases are not controlled global temperatures might rise between 1.7° C and 4.0° C by the end of this century. The consequences will not be to our advantage. Arctic sea ice will disappear with warmings of more than 6° C in Canada’s north, heatwaves, heavy precipitation events and droughts in lower latitudes will stress global life. The IPCC reports are the final answer to climate assessment.  The150 lead authors and 450 contributing authors made their scientific contributions which were voluntarily reviewed by 600 other scientists. Also 300 representatives from 113 nations produced the Summary for Policymakers written by scientists. We have no better process to tell us what we are doing to ourselves.   

Some countries are taking note and are acting.  In a draft paper the European Commission said in a draft paper that it wants to punish the most serious “green crimes” against the environment with 5 - 10 year minimum jail terms and fines of up to 1.5 million euros ($1.9 million US).  The draft paper called for “more dissuasive actions for environmental harmful activities, which typically cause or are likely to cause substantial damage to the air, soil, water , animals and plants”.  If the European Parliament approves this proposal, its laws will override the national laws of the 27 countries of the European Union. The same Commission has also set a legally binding limit to an average of 130 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer travelled for all cars made in Europe by 2012.  The European car industry is presently failing to fulfill its voluntary agreement to cut emissions to140 grams per kilometer by 2008.  Germany has responded to demands by the European Commission to cap its annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 10% from 500 million to 453 million tonnes.  Germany has also taken steps to stop underground coal mining by 2018. 

North American is the long time leader in global emissions and its 22% is 4% worse than that of China.  What will Canada do? What will you do to curb emissions of greenhouse gases and protect the global and Canada’s air, sea, land and ice from harmful consequences?

Klaus Jericho
Southern Alberta Group for the Environment
February 15, 2006