Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 08/04/2004. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


A recent research report from the Woods Hole Research Laboratory shows that the burning of fossil fuels is substantively raising the carbon dioxide content of both the oceans and the atmosphere, as shown in the chart from the Boston Globe on the next page. The concern is that both the atmosphere and the ocean will eventually become overburdened with this greenhouse gas, leading to unpredictable climate and environmental changes. The gamble is substantial. It remains unclear, however, how U.S. politicians are going to interact with this problem. We can only look at indicators, such as the Boston Carbon Corporation donating 27,000 greenhouse gas certified trading certificates to cover emissions produced by participants in the recent Democratic National Convention; the Convention worked to be “green” on several fronts, including that of the greenhouse gas issue. While this indicates some political concern over global warming, the Kyoto Protocol was not brought to the table in the platform of the Democratic Party at the Convention, nor is it on the table for the Republican Convention. The matter of signing Kyoto appears a non-issue on both sides of the political fence.