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Copenhagen: just another political problem? « Previous | |Next »
December 13, 2009

A group of scientists issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and their conclusions in their report--“The Copenhagen Diagnosis” —were that ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted. The climate change sceptics and the fossil fuel industry, who have been trying to cover up the fact that human activities are warming the planet and then to derail the Copenhagen summit, are not listening:

RowsonMGlobal Warming.jpg Martin Rowson

Elizabeth Kolbert says that “The Copenhagen Diagnosis”:

report points to dramatic declines in Arctic sea ice, recent measurements that show a large net loss of ice from both Greenland and Antarctica, and the relatively rapid rise in global sea levels — 3.4 millimeters per year — as particular reasons for concern. Sea-level rise this century, it states, “is likely to be at least twice as large” as predicted by the most recent IPCC report, issued in 2007, with an upper limit of roughly two meters.

The bottom line is that any value of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere above 350 and, sooner or later, the ice caps melt, sea levels rise, hydrological cycles are thrown off kilter, and so on. Every year we don’t deal with it, it gets much, much worse.The current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is already at 390 parts per million.

David Corn reports that: the debate:

over process has become a battlefield for the major clashes of Copenhagen. The Obama administration is pressing China and other emerging nations to commit to significant action, noting that these countries will be responsible for 97 percent of the future growth in emissions. (Also, Obama administration officials know that the US Senate will not approve any treaty that goes easy on China; in such an event, the Senate might even kill the pending climate change legislation.) Meanwhile, the developing nations want the historic polluters to go first with deep cuts, and they are demanding big bucks out of the North for clean energy technologies. (The United States and Europe are currently talking about making $10 billion available annually as a start; Di-Aping declared that the US Congress alone should appropriate $200 billion.)

Bill McKibben argues that the politicians are treating the problem of climate change as a normal political one, where you halve the distance between various competing interests and do your best to reach some kind of consensus that doesn’t demand too much of anyone,

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:33 PM | | Comments (3)
Comments

Comments

physical reality will eventually make the denialists misinformation campaign untenable. The goal of this campaign by oil and coal companies, which began around the time of the first Kyoto Protocol negotiations, was to assemble a group of like-minded "free-market" think tanks and pseudo-science experts that would call into question the scientific research on climate change, create doubt in the minds of the public and politicians, and effectively delay the introduction of clean energy policies in the United States, Australia and elsewhere.

The Rudd Government is actually doing no more on reducing greenhouse gas emissions than the Howard government over and above trying to prop up our coal industry and allow these producers to avoid paying for costs they have traditionally inflicted on the community.

The mechanism being used is Australia wanting to use land-use [offsets] for not having to do as much in its fossil-fuel sector. Changed land use (forest protection,reducing tillage and fertiliser use and soil restoration) can be turned the land into a huge carbon sink that can postpone industrial emission cuts for possibly another decade.

What has changed from Howard to Rudd is the moral rhetoric. The Coalition says that Copenhagen is a waste of time and money. Is their position a soft boycott?

The issues at Copenhagen remain the same: negotiators have failed to reach agreement in several key areas such as emission cuts, long-term finance, and when poor countries should start to reduce emissions. There is still no long-term money on the table, and the chances of getting really ambitious emissions cut agreements from the rich developed countries are minimal.

As things currently stand, the US administration is unable to make binding commitments and developing countries are unwilling to do so.

The latest Essential research poll has [paraphrasing] 73% of respondents saying Copenhagen is important.
But 74% reckon an agreement on climate change is unlikely.

Interesting.
Pessimism [or cynicism or realism]rules OK?