Saturday, December 19, 2009

Did Copenhagen yield an agreement?

While there is no binding agreement that resulted from the Copenhagen conference, there is some sort of desire by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa to attempt to keep global warming to a limit of 2 degrees C (3.6 F). The following was the report on Fox News re the outcome of the conference. My take on the conference and the outcome is that we will have carbon taxes very soon and that the cap and trade of greenhouse gases will become an industry dominated by organized crime rather than disorganized governments. It has already been reported that some eight billion Euros were made by organized crime just in the European Cap and Trade system.

I have very little faith and trust that my Congress of my government has a clue what to do other than tax the hell out of us. If only the taxes will be used for something valuable like kids education it does not bother me to tax carbon that sexy sixth element. Actually if taxes are used for the good of society I would not mind if they Congress taxed every element in the periodic table. However the system of cap and trade will be gamed and frauded by some cartel who will have Madeoff with the money and the carbon will still make its way into the air. I applaud the Pres for his efforts but the reality is that after hundreds of years of the West exerting control over China, India and South Africa none of these countries want to be charmed again into submission. Obama again used the word hope in his news conference before leaving Copenhagen. I wish he would listen to the green machine and undertand that hope is no strategy. The Pres also compared the technologies to be developed for reduction of greenhouse gases to the historical efforts we had to reduce acid rain forming gases. The Pres needs a lesson in thermo or he needs a speech writer who studied thermo. The part of the Pres' speech that resonated well with me was the part where he said we have to embark on a path of more efficient use of fossil fuels. The Pres gave himself a B+ on 60 minutes for his performance in the White House in the first year. I give him a C+ for the Copenhagen trip. Had I represented the USA in Copenhagen I may have been able to ace the exam by telling all the assembled leaders that the best path forward is to reduce the population growth rate, in fact reverse the growth in population to a decline in population as by 2020 there will be 8 billion human mouths to feed. Interesting that not a single word was discussed about the population explosion. Here is the fox news piece.

COPENHAGEN - The U.N. climate conference narrowly escaped collapse Saturday as bitterly divided delegates agreed after all-night talks to recognize a political compromise that President Barack Obama brokered with China and other emerging powers.
The Copenhagen Accord was bogged down for hours by protests from delegates who felt they were excluded from the process or said the deal didn't go far enough in cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
After a break, the conference president gaveled a decision to "take note" of the agreement instead of formally approving it. Experts said that clears the way for the accord to begin even though it was not formally approved by the conference.
"We have a deal in Copenhagen," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, adding "this is just the beginning" of a process to craft a binding pact to reduce emissions. He said the agreement "will have an immediate operational effect."
Disputes between rich and poor countries and between the world's biggest carbon polluters -- China and the U.S. -- dominated the two-week conference in Copenhagen, the largest and most important U.N. meeting ever on fighting global warming.
Obama met twice with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao -- once privately and once with other leaders -- in hopes of sweeping aside some of the disputes that had blocked progress.
The U.S. president appeared to have salvaged the faltering talks Friday when he declared a "breakthrough" with China, India, Brazil and South Africa. But the three-page document they agreed upon ran into trouble in the plenary, where delegates from Bolivia, Cuba, Sudan and Venezuela denounced it.
Decisions are made by consensus in U.N. climate negotiations.
Obama's day of hectic diplomacy produced a document promising $30 billion in emergency climate aid to poor nations in the next three years and a goal of eventually channeling $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries.
It includes a method for verifying each nation's reductions of heat-trapping gases -- a key demand by Washington, because China has resisted international efforts to monitor its actions.
It requires industrial countries to list their individual targets and developing countries to list what actions they will take to cut global warming pollution by specific amounts. Obama called that an "unprecedented breakthrough."
The document said carbon emissions should be reduced enough to keep the increase in average global temperatures below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but it omits the usual reference to pre-industrial levels. Without that language, the starting point for limiting temperatures would be 0.7 degrees C higher -- the amount of warming in modern times.
However, some of the most vulnerable nations believe the limit should be held to a no more than 1.5 degree C rise.
Since leaders failed to agree on a binding deal to reduce greenhouse gases, delegates also scrapped a plan to protect the world's biologically rich tropical forests early Saturday that would have paid some 40 poor, tropical countries to protect their forests.
Deforestation for logging, cattle grazing and crops has made Indonesia and Brazil the world's third- and fourth-biggest carbon emitters.
The overall outcome was a significant disappointment to those who had anticipated the deal brokered by Obama would be turned into a legally binding treaty. Instead, it envisions another year of negotiations and leaves myriad details yet to be decided.
"The deal is a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below 2 degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the big decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash," said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.Sudan's delegate, Lumumba Di-Aping, said the agreement would condemn Africa to widespread deaths from global warming and compared it to Nazis sending "6 million people into furnaces" in the Holocaust. The African Union, however, backed the deal and his statement was denounced by other delegations.
To resolve the stalemate early Saturday, U.N. officials changed the way the text was presented to the plenary. The conference recognized the agreement and those who agreed with it were invited to sign it.
Robert Orr, the U.N. policy coordination chief, said the conference's decision to "take note" of the U.S.-led accord provides it with "equal legal validity as 'accepted."'
One reason it's been "a very wild roller coaster ride," he said, was the unusual negotiating process involving the hands-on participation of officials on multiple levels, ranging from heads of state to ministers to negotiators.
If the countries had waited to reach a full, binding agreement, "then we wouldn't make any progress," Obama said. In that case, he said, "there might be such frustration and cynicism that rather than taking one step forward, we ended up taking two steps back."
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama called the deal "a major step forward." German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a leading proponent of strong action to confront global warming, gave the Copenhagen Accord only grudging acceptance, saying she had "mixed feelings" about the outcome and called it only a first step.
Outside the conference hall Saturday, more than 100 protesters chanted, "You're destroying our future!" Some carried signs of Obama with the words "climate shame" pasted on his face.
Obama had planned to spend only about nine hours in Copenhagen but, as an agreement appeared within reach, he extended his stay Friday by more than six hours to attend a series of meetings. He and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held talks with European leaders, including Merkel, Britain's Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Obama said there was a "fundamental deadlock in perspectives" between big, industrially developed countries like the United States and poorer, though sometimes large, developing nations like China, India and Brazil. Still he said this week's efforts "will help us begin to meet our responsibilities to leave our children and grandchildren a cleaner planet."
The deal reflects some progress helping poor nations cope with climate change and getting China to disclose its actions to address the warming problem.
But Obama agreed the world would have to take more aggressive steps to combat global warming. The first step, he said, is to build trust between developed and developing countries.
In a diatribe against the U.S., Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized the conference as undemocratic.
"There is a document that has been moving around, all sorts of documents that have been moving around, there is a real lack of transparency here," he said Friday. "We reject any document that Obama will slip under the door."


  1. Is it a deal? With no emissions targets, this non-binding agreement is weak and the poor will likely reject it. What a farce. How frustrating.

  2. Paul you said it. The F word. Yeah it is a Farce.

  3. Indeed, talk about blackmail. And by the time they get around to dispatching funds, it will probably be too late for low-lying island nations. There's your 'population control', Lindsay. I can't wait to see how they handle the flock of refugees from The Maldives and Tuvalu once their nations become submerged. What's it going to take? Only 5% of the Antarctic ice shelf to break-off and displace seas around the world by 0.8m (Ja, I did that calculation a few years back). Woe is our space ship...

  4. Oh, and did you catch the UN document that was leaked to the Guardian UK? At last check, it's still downloadable from their web site--Leaked UN report shows cuts offered at Copenhagen would lead to 3C rise. Such a short-sighted, selfish species we are.


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