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Climate Talks End to Mixed Reviews

Climate Talks End to Mixed Reviews

The flame of hope for global action on climate change flickered but stayed lit as the latest round of international negotiations, COP17, ended early Sunday morning after days and nights of marathon sessions in Durban, South Africa. Most delegates agreed to work on a deal that by 2020 would require carbon emission cuts from both developed and developing nations. A $100 billion Green Climate Fund, to help developing nations pay for moving to a “greener” economy and cope with climate change mitigation was agreed to, but how it is to be funded was not clear. Chief European Union climate negotiator Connie Hedegaard tweeted: “We got a roadmap that marks a breakthrough for (the) international fight against climate change.” Under the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol (which the U.S. never signed) would be extended for 5 to 7 years, during which time the next goals will be negotiated.

Word Fiddling While the Planet Burns?

The late-night wrangling led to much jousting over language, indicating that many parties were seeking to water down the enforceability of the next treaty before it has even been negotiated. In one clause of the final agreement, the parties agree to “launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change applicable to all Parties.”

Power Play: Haves Vs. Have Nots Is No Game

The divide between developed and developing nations seen at previous negotiations continued in Durban, with tense moments and occasionally emotional accusations, as developing nations, including China and India, balked at restricting their growing economies, since they have not been responsible for the bulk of emissions to date. The Guardian quotes Indian environmental minister Jayanthi Natarajan: “Am I to write a blank check and sign away the livelihoods and sustainability of 1.2 billion Indians, without even knowing what the EU ‘roadmap’ contains? I wonder if this an agenda to shift the blame on to countries who are not responsible [for climate change]. I am told that India will be blamed. Please do not hold us hostage.”

Many environmental NGOs are unhappy with the talks’ results, and commented that the world’s poor will suffer disproportionately from failure to make significant inroads on climate change mitigation. Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo noted, “The grim news is that the blockers led by the US have succeeded in inserting a vital get-out clause that could easily prevent the next big climate deal being legally binding. If that loophole is exploited it could be a disaster.” Oxfam blogged, “Negotiators have sent a message to the world’s hungry: ‘Let them eat carbon.’”

WWF executive director Samantha Smith pointed to the political considerations that were driving many of the negotiators:“Some countries here, like the United States, showed they were not interested in supporting an ambitious outcome in Durban. The US — afraid of the politics at home – fought over a few words, but missed the bigger story: limiting dangerous climate change.”

“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, Small Island States, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

The Global 99%

One lesson to draw is that national governments will only move if pushed from within; climate progress will most likely come first from local and regional levels.  The New York Times quotes Mary D. Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board: “Instead of waiting for them to negotiate some grand bargain, we have to keep working on the ground. Progress is going to come from the bottom up, not the top down. That’s just reality.” This sentiment is echoed by a self described “youth, climate change and peace advocate” from Fiji, who summed up the same frustration and hope that has been expressed by the Occupy movement,  when he tweeted about COP17: “Change will not come from the top. change will come from a mobilized grassroots. We, here, can make it happen now.”

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Image: Can the patient be saved? from UNFCCC photo stream CC license.

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49 comments

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11:26AM PST on Dec 29, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

5:11PM PST on Dec 21, 2011

Noted.

4:22AM PST on Dec 15, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:59PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Clean energy yes but one only has to look to the data and climategate 2.0 to see that the whole climate warming I mean change, I mean disruption thing is a sham. The people pushing it are people like Al Gore (the controlling share holder of OXY the 4th largest oil producer in the US. George Soros connected to CCX another carbon exchange Obama who has also been involved in the Chicago Climate Exchange Goldman Sachs etc... These globalists and others like them stand to make billions with cap and trade and through the requirements of so called green energy (which many times has a larger footprint than the source they are attempting to replace). These globalist control the government and the monies for funding. When you look at climategate 2.0 this is absolutely evident. The data has been altered to keep funding and to promote political agendas.

A few fun CO2 questions:

Why were the temperatures in the 30 as high or higher than todays temperatures when the CO2 concentrations were considerable less. (This is not shown in the hockey stick farcical research).

Of the last five interglacials, going back 400,000 years, why is our current interglacial the coolest of the five even though Earth's CO2 level is about 35 percent higher?

another

Why has our current 10,000-year-long Holocene epoch been warmer than today for 50 percent of the time when CO2 levels were about 35 percent lower than today?

Hmmmmm.

9:57PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Clean energy yes but one only has to look to the data and climategate 2.0 to see that the whole climate warming I mean change, I mean disruption thing is a sham. The people pushing it are people like Al Gore (the controlling share holder of OXY the 4th largest oil producer in the US. George Soros connected to CCX another carbon exchange Obama who has also been involved in the Chicago Climate Exchange Goldman Sachs etc... These globalists and others like them stand to make billions with cap and trade and through the requirements of so called green energy (which many times has a larger footprint than the source they are attempting to replace). These globalist control the government and the monies for funding. When you look at climategate 2.0 this is absolutely evident. The data has been altered to keep funding and to promote political agendas.

A few fun CO2 questions:

Why were the temperatures in the 30 as high or higher than todays temperatures when the CO2 concentrations were considerable less. (This is not shown in the hockey stick farcical research).

Of the last five interglacials, going back 400,000 years, why is our current interglacial the coolest of the five even though Earth's CO2 level is about 35 percent higher?

another

Why has our current 10,000-year-long Holocene epoch been warmer than today for 50 percent of the time when CO2 levels were about 35 percent lower than today?

Hmmmmm.

5:25PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Well good for you Andrew, as for me - I do what I can regarding the issue and as a resident of "urban America" - be that as it may, I hold little hope for the improvement either of the mentality of mankind or the acknowledgment that mankind can or will adopt measures to improve the slide toward self destruction any more than I have that the US will improve its efforts of moving away from fascism - I think they're both inevitable, and the few generations we have left on this planet are doomed to a successively more miserable existence because of the greed that the planet insists is the root of all that is good and blessed!

10:18AM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Canada should be ashamed of itself for deserting the Kyoto protocol based on a bunch of lies. Our Minister in charge said we would have to pay penalties for not meeting the objectives...FALSE. He also said it would destroy jobs in the energy industries....FALSE. Jobs could be diverted from dirty energy to clean energy. Unfortunately our politicians, in particular the shifty, sly Prime Minister Harper (Bush Lite) have become big business and followed the US's lead sucking up to the big multinationals. Canada used to be a nation of innovators, peace makers and progressive....not any more it seems. I, for one, am thoroughly ashamed!

6:41AM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Live simply! There is so much advertising and so many jobs created from the making of goods, that you may need to experience a withdrawal period from the plethora of money to goods. Buy used when possible and safe, and buy new very infrequently. This requires less emphasis upon fashion and more on whether something is worn out, whether that is a car, a cooking utensil, a desk, or a pair of jeans.
See what electronics you can live without - they contain radiation and usually need to be replaced much more frequently than most other items in our lives; therefore, they are on the forefront of environmental damage - think of that every time you use your cell phone or ipod, and remember that there are phones that do not have electronics in them, they are not portable.

4:51AM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:12AM PST on Dec 13, 2011

Americans, please close the door behind you after you leave. Thank you.

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