Saturday, December 19, 2009

Climate Deal Falls Short

What came out of Copenhagen left much to be desired but don’t blame Obama.

cop15 President Obama helped broker a climate deal with a group of leading nations that provides for monitoring emission cuts by each country but sets no global target for cutting greenhouse gases, and no deadline for reaching a formal international climate treaty.

The deal falls far short of many countries' expectations for the summit and leaves a comprehensive battle plan for climate change potentially years away. Although the agreement included some major players -- China, India, Brazil and South Africa -- it was not universally agreed upon by the 193 nations attending the summit. In fact, some leaders left early Friday in apparent frustration.

For the Obama administration, the focus of the climate debate shifts to the domestic stage. Though Obama voiced hopes for greater results, the modest agreement may help the administration as it presses Congress to pass landmark climate-change legislation.

By not committing the United States to new standards and by insisting on monitoring cuts made by other nations, the administration can say passage of domestic legislation would not put the United States at a competitive disadvantage with other nations, particularly China.

In announcing the deal, even Obama -- who walked in on a meeting of developing nations to insist on an agreement late Friday -- conceded its limitations. "Today we made a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough here in Copenhagen," he said. But, he added, "It is going to be very hard, and it's going to take some time" to get a legally binding treaty. That, he said, "was not achievable at this conference."

In the deal, spelled out in a three-page document, each country needs only to list its current domestic pledges for emissions reductions and to promise to allow monitoring of their progress. It also outlines steps to help poor countries go green and prepare for the impact of a warming Earth.

But it sparked a rebellion among more vulnerable nations. They said they could not accept an agreement that lacked deep emissions commitments from the industrialized world.

"The science tells us we must act now, and urgently," said Ian Fry, climate-change representative for Tuvalu, which may be submerged by rising seas in a matter of decades. "To use a Biblical allusion, it looks like we're being offered 30 pieces of silver to bargain away our future. Mr. President, our future is not for sale."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The rift between the big polluters and the nations who will be suffering the worst effects was already wide and rowing wider when Obama arrived on the scent.  For him to come away with anything at all required considerable skill on his part.

If you want to read the agreement in full, click here for a PDF.

The teabagging truth tour also arrived with even less of an accomplishment.

Inhofe ridiculous Sen. Jim Inhofe flew across the Atlantic and — on little sleep — braved the snow, the cold and the dark to deliver his skeptical message at the international climate conference.

What he found when he got here: a few aides and a single reporter.

“I think he’s going to be a little disappointed,” one of his aides remarked.

Inhofe was at least impatient.

The ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hoped to spread two messages in Copenhagen: Global warming is a hoax, and there’s no way the Senate is going to pass a cap-and-trade bill.

But it was early morning when he arrived at the Bella Center, and the halls were still half-deserted. He walked quickly, brushing off an aide who suggested that he slow down and take a breath.

“I don’t want to breathe — I want to get something done,” he said.

The senator didn’t have any meetings scheduled in Copenhagen, and he did not see chief U.S. negotiator Todd Stern or the members of the House delegation, who were not scheduled to fly in until later in the afternoon.

But Inhofe’s aides eventually rustled up a group of reporters, and the Oklahoman — wearing black snakeskin cowboy boots — held forth from the top of a flight of stairs in the conference media center.

“We in the United States owe it to the 191 countries to be well-informed and know what the intentions of the United States are. The United States is not going to pass a cap and trade,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

A reporter asked: “If there’s a hoax, then who’s putting on this hoax, and what’s the motive?”

“It started in the United Nations,” Inhofe said, “and the ones in the United States who really grab ahold of this is the Hollywood elite.”

One reporter asked Inhofe if he was referring to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another reporter — this one from Der Spiegel — told the senator: “You’re ridiculous.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Politico>

How pathetic!  The fool should have known that nobody in Europe would take him seriously.  Only Americans are poorly educated enough and over propagandized enough to believe such rubbish.


rjs said...

Non-Binding "Sham Agreement" Reached At Copenhagen. “Rich Countries ... Sought to Bribe and Bully Developing Nations" Friends of the Earth says of the Copenhagen Accord: "Climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new." The Copenhagen Accord is not legally binding and - apparently - does not specify either target emission reductions or monetary contributions of various countries. Here is a copy of the actual Copenhagen Accord (notice that the Appendices for target emissions and monetary contributions are blank).

TomCat said...

RJ,there is already a link to the actual copy in my article.

Lisa G. said...

Inhofe is a first class asshole and I'm glad that reporter told him he was ridiculous. I, of course, would have used stronger language, but, hey, he's a reporter.

Lisa G. said...

And punched him and thrown the vicious bunny on him. He'll change his tune after that.

rjs said...

tomcat; you should know by now i always overlook something near the end of the week...Why Copenhagen Is A Failure - Before and during Copenhagen (and after, too, we can be sure), politicians and central bankers across the globe have worked tirelessly to return the global economy to a path of growth. We need more jobs, we are told; we need economic growth, we need more people consuming more things. Growth is the ever-constant word on politicians' lips. Official actions amounting to tens of trillions of dollars speak to the fact that this is, in fact, our number-one global priority. But the consensus coming out of Copenhagen is that carbon emissions have to be reduced by a vast amount over the next few decades. These two ideas are mutually exclusive. You can't have both.

TomCat said...

LOL Lisa! Sic'em!! ;-)

RJ, what if the jobs are heavily skewed to green energy research and production?

rjs said...

tomcat, the problem with most "green jobs" is that they take "dirty inputs"; for instance, to produce a windmill in the midwest, you will be using coal-generated electricity...most of the energy star appliances which will qualify for the coming rebates will be produced in factories in china; as we have exported our pollution along with our production jobs; & most likely, that will end in some kind of fiasco like cash-for clunkers, where the most common thade was an old F-150 pickup for a new one...
theres not any easy way we cant be hypocritical about this, unless one goes off to live in a cave and gathers nuts and berries, we are particpating in an carbon energy-intensive culture; even our food is produced with energy-intensive inputs, (ie, diesel tractors produced in the midwest)...even those who overburden themselves to reduce their personal "carbon footprint" will have their efforts overwhelmed in the end by the thousands of others around the world who continue to consume as much as they want whenever they want...its the middle ages tradegy of the commons all over again; those who overuse the commons benefit the most, until the commons is destroyed...

TomCat said...

OK, I see that, RJ. But if we make enough windmills with coal generated electricity, won't there come a time when we'll be making them with wind generated electricity?

rjs said...

i dont have the numbers, but its gonna take a hell of a lot of windmills to replace just one typical 850 MW coal power plant; and while youre getting them windmills into operation, china gonna continue building at their current pace of two coal plants a week..

TomCat said...

I see. So it's a matter of scale.

rjs said...

with only one sixth of one percent of US energy supplied by wind and power, and 1 out of three people on the planet still without electricity, you could say were rowing upstream against a raging current...

TomCat said...

Ouch :-(

rjs said...

im gonna revisit this to deposit some numbers; this article points out a million acre solar development cancelled by Feinstein:
i did some research, and that million acres of solar was to produce only 1,310 megawatts:
ie, less than two typical coal generating plants...

TomCat said...

OK, RJ. You made your point. Dang! That's almost as mush as the energy we would get from capturing the hot air from one GOP Senator!!