Thank you Klaus. Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
I welcome this opportunity to discuss where we are going with Kyoto and the climate change issue.  I sense that Kyoto will not be implemented. Either Russia or the United States must ratify to put it into effect. Neither is showing much enthusiasm for it. That does not mean our interest in and concern with climate change will go away.  Many strongly believe it is happening. Others say it is not. There is an ongoing investigation into the reality of climate change led by the United Nations. That study will go on. Another report is due in 2007 which may remove some of the uncertainty. I’ve been involved with Canada’s National Climate Change Process since early 1998. We were asked to put aside any doubts we might have about the reality of climate change and focus on what Canada could do to mange atmospheric greenhouse gases. I think Kyoto has strayed from its original goal set in 1997. We will review the reasons for that. Then we will again assume that further climate study confirms we need to act. We will consider what we might do to integrate energy production and use with management of atmospheric greenhouse gases – based on consideration of the carbon cycled by life on earth.
Participants in the National Climate Change Process received considerable feedback from government officials. It seemed three groups of countries with conflicting interests were not able to reconcile their differences. One group, mainly European, seemed fully developed with fairly static population and a mature relatively slowly growing economy. Another group, deemed developed, is actually still in growth mode. These countries included the United States, Russia and Canada. The Kyoto protocol imposed similar levels of greenhouse gas reduction on all of the developed countries. The developing countries, which include China and India, were not asked to set goals for emissions reduction in deference to their small per capita greenhouse emissions.  Kyoto assumes those countries need fossil fuel to jump-start needed economic growth. Either Russia or the United States must ratify Kyoto to put it into effect. The US realized early it would interfere with economic growth, and citing unfair concessions to developing countries, has rejected ratification.
Russia is getting cold feet too, as her growth is quicker than expected when Kyoto was signed.
Implementation of Kyoto is unlikely. It is even more unlikely that its emission reduction goals will be reached.
When Canada signed Kyoto in 1997, I recall Prime Minister Chrétien saying we could get emission reduction credits for exporting our nuclear technology and clean natural gas.
I thought the goal was tough, but that it might be reached if we went all out to put alternate technology in place.
As negotiations to establish Kyoto details continued, Canada’s advantages disappeared.
Countries with nuclear technology were asked by the United Nations to refrain from seeking credits for nuclear energy exports to the developing countries.
After the United States dropped out, Canada made a cogent plea for credits based on hydro electricity and natural gas exports to the United States.  Again Canada was snubbed – primarily by the European countries.
Canada did negotiate modest potential credits for minor forest activities.
Canada’s negotiators were very pleased that they gained recognition for unlimited demonstrable agricultural sinks. I believe that was one breakthrough for science based policy. Otherwise, major science and technology based actions fell by the wayside.
Now we are just four years away from the Kyoto implementation date. Our emissions are away above 1990 levels. We can not meet the commitment, short of economic collapse, as new technology can not be deployed by then.
Where do we go from here? Hopefully, Kyoto will fade away.  Then we can retrench and rethink our way forward should it turn out we need to manage atmospheric greenhouse gases. We will step back now to consider Earths carbon cycle.
Life on earth depends on the cycling of carbon and energy. Plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, lakes, and oceans to manufacture their food using water and energy from light. Plants - and animals - use that carbon carrying food as an energy source. Humans have learned how to recover fossil fuels. We are recycling them by burning them in power plants, planes, trains, and automobiles to release carbon dioxide and water vapor to the atmosphere. Their carbon content is thus returned to the cycle of life. The whole complex process is driven by flows of energy. This figure from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a quantitative overview of the carbon cycle.  The greenhouse gas “problem” is boldly stated here in the red boxes and circles as driven by fossil fuels. 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon are added to the atmosphere annually. Note that the atmosphere contains some 700 billion tonnes of carbon. Living plants store about 500 billion tonnes. The fossil fuel total 3300 billion tonnes.  Soils hold about 2000 billion tonnes and oceans some 40,000 billion tonnes.  Some 100 million billion tonnes is incorporated in sedimentary rocks. These stores are all products of  earth’s life.
We need to look at the cycle in some more detail to see if there might be clues to useful action.
This figure, also from the IPCC indicates that earth’s land based plants absorb about 120 billion tonnes of carbon. About the same amount is returned by the process of respiration of plants and animals. The oceans absorb and release about 90 billion tonnes. I note that this part of the cycle is deemed to be “natural” and ask you to hold that thought for a few minutes.
This subset of the carbon cycle defines annual changes from fossil fuel use and land use changes and identifies them as the human perturbation.  It shows 5.3 billion tonnes being added to the atmosphere from fossil fuel use and another 0.1 billion tonnes from cement production which drives carbon dioxide from the limestone used to make it. Humans are converting some land to different uses – presumably from forests to agriculture – adding another 1.7 billion tonnes to the atmosphere. At the same time it seems, land based ecosystems are absorbing a net amount of 1.9 billion tonnes and the oceans absorb about 1.9 billion tonnes.
The net addition to the atmosphere from these activities is 3.3 billion tonnes annually.
Life in the ocean seems to go on almost in isolation from land
Ocean plants absorb   about 103 billion tonnes of carbon annually to produce food. They and ocean animals return much to the water through decay. Some is diverted through shells and dissolved material into the deep ocean. The small absorption of some 2 billion tonnes annually from the atmosphere is thought to be a simple result of maintaining equilibrium with the rising carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. The organic material in the whales and fish we’ve hauled from the ocean does not even show up on these figures.
Last, and most important to us, we come to the carbon cycle on land.
Here we see more detail on the fate of the 120 billion tonnes of carbon absorbed annually from the atmosphere by plants to produce food for all. Half of this food is almost immediately used by the plants themselves, returning carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Nearly another half (55 billion tonnes carbon) is co-opted by animals – of many sorts - and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Some 4 billion tonnes is consumed by fires. That leaves about 1 billion tonnes to be incorporated into soil or dissolved in water and washed down rivers to the ocean. Now – let’s recall that overhead which deemed the 120 billion tonnes of plant carbon cycling as “natural”.  What happened to all the plants that are under human control? Is that not a human perturbation too? Humans control a major part of earth’s vegetation. Indeed estimates suggest humans have cultivated 10 to 15% of the land surface. We can bet we have generally chosen the most productive land too. We also influence the carbon cycle through our use of forests.
Our review of the carbon cycle raises some questions. Are these IPCC figures and data subtly downplaying the degree of human influence on the carbon cycle? Is our use of fossil fuels overemphasized as the source of the problem? A paper from (Vitousek et al [1]) from 1986 suggests that humans appropriate about 40% of plant production. That suggests we control 24 billion tonnes of the carbon removed from the atmosphere by plants. That’s a lot bigger than the 6.3 billion tonnes we add from fossil fuels. Is it possible we have greater opportunities to control atmospheric greenhouse gas levels than to just reduce fossil fuel consumption? Could we take lessons from the carbon cycle and strategically use more energy to manage levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? I think so.

by Peter Vitousek, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich and Pamela Matson (1986)
Originally published in BioScience, (Vol. 36, No. 6, June 1986), copyright 1986 by BioScience.
Regardless of the fate of Kyoto, we will continue to study the role greenhouse gases may play in climate change. Maybe it will turn out we need to turn our attention - seriously - to managing greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. We know quite a bit about Nature’s methods of managing carbon and the production and use of energy. It seems that with our already broad involvement in Earth’s carbon cycle through agriculture, forestry and energy science we can develop the means to manage carbon.
The carbon cycle itself provides much insight as well as a means of monitoring progress.
Let’s look at some examples.
You might think the background picture is a Van Christou photo from Pincher Creek circa 2050. Actually it’s from Denmark now. Solar energy and water power can also reduce emissions.
The nuclear fission reactors were built in China since Canada signed Kyoto in 1997. It is likely these two reactors are Canada’s single biggest contribution to global greenhouse gas reduction since Kyoto was signed.
We are trying to bring the sun’s source of energy down to earth with nuclear fusion energy. Canada just failed in a bid to host the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. That experiment may take place in Japan or France.
These sources of energy all have shortcomings relative to the convenience of portable liquid fuels. We are working to develop hydrogen technology to make them more usable. Success will help overcome these shortcomings to make their energy storable and portable.
Using hydrogen this way to avoid emissions will require additional energy.  Its production introduces additional steps and processes. These tend to introduce inefficiencies leading to a need for even more energy.  Much development is still needed to make hydrogen practical. 
It seems, to reduce emissions using these energy sources; we will tend to use even more energy. An article in this month’s Scientific American[1] provides details.

[1] Matthew L. Wald “Questions about a Hydrogen Economy” May, 2004
Current fossil fuel power plants burn their fuel with air, producing an exhaust stream of carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen which is released to the atmosphere. Taking a clue from nature, we are considering separating the carbon dioxide component and pumping it back into the ground.  Two of the variations shown here use the recovered carbon dioxide to flush out additional oil and natural gas. Two simply store it in emptied oil and gas reservoirs or in underground saline water.
Another variation contemplates burning the fuel in pure oxygen to avoid the separation from nitrogen.
Substantial new science and technology development is needed to prove these concepts. It is underway and Alberta scientists and engineers are involved.  These applications will require increased energy use for separation and pumping. Some will recover additional energy.
Another group of energy pioneers is applying lessons from nature’s carbon cycle.
They propose to feed a mixture of coal, lime and water into a chemical reactor to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This process flow chart shows the hydrogen being used in a fuel cell to produce electricity.  In an additional step, the carbon dioxide could be combined with minerals to capture the carbon dioxide in a form of rock. This process is expected to be quite efficient – on the order of 70% of the energy in the coal. Time will tell if this is true. Again, development work is underway supported by governments and industry. Albertans and Canadians are involved with the international Zero Emission Coal Alliance which has been formed to develop this energy production and greenhouse gas management opportunity.
A proposal from the 80’s suggested a scheme to remove carbon from the ocean surface and deposit it deep in the ocean. More carbon dioxide could then be dissolved at the surface. Essentially, the ocean is fertilized with iron to increase plankton growth which would then sink. One test illustrated here did create a bloom of . The figure on the left allegedly shows it. The plot of chlorophyll concentration on the right works better for me. Adding a few tonnes of iron did stimulate much growth.  The plankton produced did not sink in this test. A test reported last month did produce sinking plankton. The press release suggests “billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere each year”. Much more development work needs to be done to demonstrate the practicality of this initiative.  If it works, and we decide to control atmospheric greenhouse gases, another new energy using industry could evolve to mine and spread iron over the ocean simply to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Last – and most - we come to agriculture and forestry
Our review of the carbon cycle indicated these human activities cycle about five times as much carbon annually as is released from fossil fuel combustion. We  already use  science and technology to increase the productivity of this the plants under our control. Irrigation, fertilizer, and plant selection and breeding increase the annual turnover of carbon. The first two of these are subtly integrated with energy production. Energy for irrigation is taken from renewable energy provided by the hydrogeological cycle. Fertilizer production requires energy – and some is made from fossil fuels. At the same time stocks of carbon in standing forests have decreased and carbon stored in soils has been released to the atmosphere. It seems there may be opportunities to modify our agro-forestry technology to keep greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. This would focus on managing the carbon bearing waste streams.
Growing plants and their root system all contain carbon.  This figure outlines interactions of plants with the atmosphere and soils. Growing plants absorb carbon and transport it to the soil via their roots. Decaying plant material produces   carbon dioxide which is released to the atmosphere. Some remains in the soil. Large quantities have been trapped in the soil over long times. Agriculture tends to release some of it to the atmosphere. Local scientists are already involved in trying to better understand the part of the carbon cycle related to plants interaction with our soil. No-till farming practices are cited as one means of capturing carbon from the atmosphere and returning it to the soil. Research is underway in to better manage animal wastes. The lumber we take from forests and build into our houses is also a sink for carbon. So far this developing science is fraught with uncertainty. How much of the organic material left on the land is incorporated in soil? How long will it stay there? How long will lumber in houses endure.
Could we modify our treatment of wastes now going to landfills and sewers to return the carbon to the soil?
Can we use our knowledge to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and build soil fertility?
I’m personally excited about some surfacing ideas on the production and use of charcoal as a soil amendment and fertilizer. Some durable long lasting carbon is found in soils. Some of this is simply charcoal, presumably from forest and grass fires and has been there for centuries. Carbon rich black soils have been found in the Amazon.  This soil was possibly man made.  Some scientists suggest it was deliberately produced by a variation of slash and burn agriculture.  These soils are said to remain highly productive long after their formation.
Interest is building in this concept. One organization is proposing a process which produces charcoal based fertilizer and hydrogen fuel from agricultural wastes. This could include a wide range of materials including waste wood, straw, manure, and sewage sludge. This appears to be another opportunity to integrate energy production with greenhouse gas management.  Energy will be required to produce charcoal. An earlier slide indicates humans are responsible for agriculture and forestry activity which absorbs 24 billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually. The use of a small fraction in this kind of process could take care of the 6 billion tonnes from fossil fuel combustion while re-building our soil. As a mechanical engineer, my training revolved around burning fossil fuels. I’m excited by the prospect we may be able to burn fossil fuels to release carbon dioxide  and then partially burn the plant material produced by it to establish a durable carbon sink  which enhances the soil.
I think we will be hearing much more about this in coming years.
The Kyoto initiative started as a remarkable international effort to deal with the perceived global problem of climate change. Partly as a result of doubt about the reality of global warming, and partly due to irreconcilable difference and conflicts, agreement on why or how to proceed has not been achieved The Kyoto protocol will likely fade away and be forgotten. The climate change issue will stay. We will continue to study it. Perhaps the next IPCC report due in 2007 will be more convincing it is a reality. In any case humans will continue to rely on energy. New sources will be needed for our support regardless of the climate change issue.  We will go ahead to develop new sources of energy. Prudence would suggest we learn all we can about the carbon cycle and means to control atmospheric greenhouse gases. It may turn out to be a necessity. James Lovelock came up with an interesting hypothesis when he worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  He suggested the existence of “a complex entity involving the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet." This later became known as the “Gaia” hypotheses after the goddess of earth from Greek mythology.  Perhaps we more often refer to Gaia as Mother Nature. Lovelock also suggested that “The earth is more than just a home. It’s a living system and we are part of it” Earlier I noted a distinction between the “natural” carbon cycle and “human” perturbations in the IPCC discussion of the carbon cycle. Lovelock includes us as part of the natural system. That’s fine with me. Some say humans are using and abusing Gaia. I wonder if Gaia is using us to maximize her influence and productivity.
Thank you.