China and the U.S. continue to have a moderate level of disagreement on issues related to verification, namely “measurable, reportable, and verifiable” or MRV as the parlance has developed. China says it isn’t opposed to MRV for actions that receive international financing, technology or capacity building support, which is actually a good thing. International monies and projects should be fully transparent and accountable. The U.S. disagreement stems from the fact that China has already implemented climate change actions since 2005 that are internally funded. If text currently being debated is put in place, those projects wouldn’t be subject to international scrutiny, which I agree would be a bad thing. National sovereignty is one aspect of this struggle, but so is international dependencies. Some nations will literally be swallowed by the seas soon. Those nations rightfully want to ensure that every other nation is doing what they say they’re doing (and legally bound to do by treaty).
Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is in Copenhagen and addressed the conferees. She announced a big development that I’m sure will make its way into the wingnuts head-explosion-of-the-day rant soon: the U.S. is willing to work with other countries to raise $100 Billion by 2020 to address developing nations’ climate change needs. That’s a substantial number to ante up to and represents the U.S. applying some pressure of their own on China and the European Union. The number was originally proposed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Due to existing climate change effects, some of this money is needed by developing countries right away. $10 Billion per year by 2012 has therefore been proposed as a goal. It remains to be seen whether either will make it to whatever comes out of these talks.
Sen. Kerry addressed the Conference yesterday. He implored the diplomats to stop pointing finders and start finding solutions. Good for Sen. Karry! He has also joined with some fellow Senators to write and push forward an energy and climate bill in the Senate to join the House’s passed H.R. 2454. Two items of note. 1) Given that President Obama is close to getting the health insurance legislation he wanted in the first place, I am now more cautious about his energy and climate goals. 2) Realists need to make a stand on health care (not health insurance) legislation before it gets passed. The weaker it is, the weaker the energy and climate legislation could be.
If you’re getting the impression that higher level personnel are showing up, you’re correct. President Obama, last I checked, is scheduled to leave for Copenhagen tonight to address the Conference tomorrow. Additionally, it is hoped that the presence of the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, will help span the gaps still present in negotiations. I know I’ll repeat the following for a long time since the corporate media for the most part has gotten it wrong: an accord really wasn’t expected to come out of Copenhagen. It is an important meeting, but the Obama administration is going to need longer than 10 months to turn around and undo 8 years of damage that the Bushies caused. What they’ve done so far should be garnering more positive press.
A new bit of jargon for me: the BASIC group. This group includes Brazil, South Africa, India and China. This group is in addition to the BRICs, or Brazil, Russia, India and China. These countries are those which have similar levels of overall development and emissions profiles, generally speaking. They’ve formed these groups (kind of like Senators joining gangs every couple of months) to advance policies as a group that might be on par with the U.S. or the E.U. in terms of international influence. Just like they have for a number of conferences and summits now, these groups are working to ensure standards don’t slip from those established in the Kyoto or Bali Plans.
Developments at Copenhagen aren’t the only thing passing on my radar screen. Research, old and new, continues to make its way cross the inter-webs. Something that caught my attention since I have started writing my series on Arctic ice is the following: the Arctic might be nearly ice free in the Northern Hemispheric summer within the decade. Based on the results from a group in Scandinavia, the ice-free time could occur anywhere from 2012-2016. That’s considerably earlier than previous estimates of such an occurrence by 2050, 2030 or 2020 – dates which have been issued since 2000. The difference between 2050 and 2020 is obviously profound. Such an occurrence, no matter when it happens, will have dramatic effects on the remainder of the climate system.
Another risk of climate change: even with “moderate” warming, a fifth of all animal and plant species on Earth are at risk of extinction. It’s time to act, folks.
Sen. Inhofe is a traitor to America. He is going to Copenhagen (tomorrow?) to lobby against any action, citing his belief in a massive conspiracy keeping scientists employed and globalists in charge of Everything. Did Democratic Senators travel abroad and publicly lobby against Bush like Inhofe is about to do? No, they didn’t. Because they would have been accused of treason and anti-patriotism. The corporate media would have parroted the claims. Nothing close to that is occurring now, of course.
In contrast to the traitor from Oklahoma, more than 24 U.S. corporations have requested President Obama secure a strong agreement in Copenhagen that includes significant emissions reduction targets and robust financing commitments from the U.S. and other developed nations. These lefty, pinko, Commie corporations have now stated that “our environment and economy are at stake”. They recognize that not acting will cost us much more than acting. I didn’t see this in any corporate media reports either. Interesting what the “liberal media” doesn’t cover these days. It must be part of that conspiracy that Inhofe knows so much about.
The U.S. will invest $1 Billion over the next 3 years to help facilitate actions in developing countries that help reduce deforestation through projects (called REDD+). The eventual goal would be to completely halt and then reverse deforestation. Avoiding deforestation is one of the most cost effective and efficient methods of limiting GHG pollution. The U.S. is joining Australia, France, Japan, Norway and the U.K. in funding the proposal.
This is fascinating – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has one of the most salient quotes I’ve read so far on the climate issue:
On bank bailouts vs. climate change bills: “The United States can produce dollars, just print them, and they think they’ve saved their banks and the capitalist system… If the climate was a bank they would already have saved it.”
Chavez is spot-on here. Note how fast both Democrats and Cons moved to save the corrupt banking system. Unlike that system, the climate is being broken, and too many in power are standing around doing next to nothing.
My 16Dec2009 summary is here.
My 14Dec2009 summary is here.
My 11Dec2009 summary is here.
My 10Dec2009 summary is here.
My 9Dec2009 summary is here.
My 7Dec2009 summary is here.
Cross-posted at SquareState.