Day: December 15, 2007

U.S. "compromises"

The head of the U.S. delegation — Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky — was booed Saturday afternoon when she announced that the United States was rejecting the plan as then written because they were “not prepared to accept this formulation.” She said developing countries needed to carry more of the responsibility. While rhetoric at such conferences is often just words, a short speech by a delegate from the small developing country of Papua New Guinea appeared to carry weight with the Americans. The delegate challenged the United States to “either lead, follow or get out of the way.”Just five minutes later, when it appeared the conference was on the brink of collapse, Dobriansky took to the floor again to announce the United States was willing to accept the arrangement. Applause erupted in the hall and a relative level of success for the conference appeared certain.

U.S. agrees to Bali compromise –

Papua New Guinea, way to go!! Apparently, this administration can still “compromise”. Now the Bali talks are being called a success with all kinds of shenanigans happening on the last day. So, what did they compromise on?

The EU wanted an agreement to require developed countries to cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020. The United States opposes those targets, along with Japan and Canada.

The latest draft of the agreement removes the specific figures and instead, in a footnote, references the scientific study that supports them.

While the EU and the United States appeared to have ended their impasse, India had objections to other parts of the agreement, notably the contributions developed nations would make to help developing nations clean up their emissions problems. Talks were expected to continue for several more hours.

So, no mandatory cuts on the table, they agreed to talk some more in 2 years time. So, who will it be in 2009? President Clinton/Obama sending Al Gore for talks, or President Giuliani/Huckabee/Romney further stonewalling. Apparently, this US election is going to be pretty important as well!

So, what does Nobel price winner Rajendra Pachauri think?

“I wouldn’t term that a failure at all,” Pachauri said. “I think what would be a failure is not to provide a strong road map by which the world can move on, and I think that road map has to be specified with or without numbers. If we can come up with numbers, that’s certainly substantial progress, and I hope that happens.”

I disagree. This is a numbers game. The damage caused by CO2 in the atmosphere is non-linearly proportional to the the amount in the atmosphere. The more you cut, the less damage you will cause later. At some number, the emission cuts may affect the lifestyles of certain countries. But to say that you don’t need numbers for success is just diplomatese.

Note that Japan and Canada opposed cuts as well, but thanks to the exalted world leader position of the US, they can get away with little scorn.

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