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[GreenYes] Re: Recycling's omission from the list of anti-GW activities.

Title: [GreenYes] Re: Recycling's omission from the list of anti-GW activities.

Hi Arthur,

You bring up a good point about the background of the IPCC work. While
Stop Trashing the Climate (STC) does not delve into the history of the
matter, the report does offer two findings critical to this
discussion. First, STC does quantify the contribution of our wasteful
cycle to greenhouse gas emissions. The report finds "wasting is
directly linked to global resource extraction, transportation,
processing and manufacturing. When we minimize waste, we can reduce
GHG emissions in sectors that together represent 36.7% of all U.S.
greenhouse gas emissions." This gives consumption and waste a much
larger piece of the pie than the usual 3% from end of pipe landfill

Second, the report focuses an another story of the early IPCC years,
the one concerning the discussion of which time scale to use when
calculating GHG emissions. The IPCC publishes three sets of data for
greenhouse gas emissions: their impact over 20, 100 and 500 years.
When Kyoto Protocol policymakers came together, they decided, rather
arbitrarily, to use 100 years as the standard time scale. What this
did was minimize the impact of short term gases, most notably methane.
Methane is 25 times more potent than CO2 over 100 years but 72 times
more potent than methane over 20 years. The early IPCC reports state
the choice of which time scale to use is a policy decision, not one
based on science. What Kyoto policymakers did, by choosing 100 years,
was basically discount methane reductions by more than 300%, which
essentially removed waste as a primary source of emissions.

Waste reduction and resource recovery would get a lot more attention
if we used this 20 year time scale. In fact, STC finds Zero Waste to
be the quickest and easiest first step toward reducing GHG emissions
because those initial methane reductions are so potent compared to
carbon savings from other strategies like more efficient lighting. We
of course need a plethora of solutions to solve the mess we're in, but
increased recycling, composting and waste reduction should be at the
forefront of our efforts. By keeping organic materials out of
landfills and avoiding potent methane emissions, we can essentially
buy more time to make the longer term changes necessary to bring down
CO2 emissions from energy and transportation. There's more on the
methane discussion at and more on
climate and waste at

Best, Kate Bailey

On Jul 28, 10:38 am, arthur boone <arboo...@no.address> wrote:
> It seems that the story is still untold of how the IPCC cut up the pie (when first laying out what caused global warming emissions and how to ameliorate them) that left out the wasteful creation of new products from new materials rather than from used materials. Nobody then (late 1990s) nor now seems to have charted the decisions that led to recycling getting short-shrift from various climate change advocates (including almost all of the popular tools now being passed about). To my knowledge it's not in the STOP TRASHING THE CLIMATE book nor anywhere else, but it is a story that should be laid out and told.  Jeffrey Morris' work cited in STTC is suggestive but not historical.    ARBoone   

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