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Abstract

This paper was presented at a seminar on environmental aspects of transport policy held by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of the Bavarian CSU Party. It gives an overview of the phenomenon of global warming, of the main scientific predictions and of the world's complex carbon cycle. Even if the aim is to halt the warming after a temperature increase of 2 C, emissions of CO(2) from fossil fuels would have to be completely phased out by the year 2050. The paper advocates the removal of carbon itself from the world's energy systems. To continue using fossil fuels while attempting to dispose of carbon dioxide outside the atmosphere, either in space or in the oceans, would present enormous logistical and economic difficulties. Massive planting of trees would only attenuate the problem and postpone the disposal of the CO(2). Indeed the local increases in temperature caused by forest cover might lead to additional CO(2) emissions from accelerated putrefaction. The importance of clouds is a neglected factor in the global warming equation. Solutions such as mirror satellites and nuclear energy are dismissed as completely unrealistic. Zero economic growth would be less beneficial than improved energy efficiency. Efforts to this end should be concentrated more on eastern countries and less on attaining peak efficiency in highly developed economies. In the longer term, the paper favours a world energy economy based on hydrogen, produced by using solar and hydro power. This would require no great technological breakthrough: pilot projects are being planned already. Given taxation of fuel at a rate which took account of true invisible costs to the environment, it would be competitive and would bring economic advantages to poor but sunny regions of the world.

Additional information

Authors: GRETZ J JRC ISPRA ESTAB. (IT), JRC ISPRA ESTAB. (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: PAPER PRESENTED: ENERGIE-EMISSION-KLIMA: LOESUNGSANSAETZE FUER DEN VERKEHR, WILDBAD KREUTH, NOVEMBER 5-8, 1989 AVAILABLE FROM COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, DG XIII-C-3, L-2920 LUXEMBOURG AS PAPER DE 35128 ORA
Availability: Can be ordered online
Record Number: 1989128082300 / Last updated on: 1990-11-01
Category: PUBLICATION
Original language: DE
Available languages: de