Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What really happened in Bali

Andy Revkin has a number of letters from folk who were at Bali, and they are all interesting, but Eli would like to point you to two of them. The first (actually the fourth), and most informative, is from Peter Riggs, a trade policy expert, and has much of the detail about the negotiations missing in media reports. Let Eli whet your appetite

The first intervention in the Plenary dealing with Item 4 came from China. It was a ‘point of order.’ And while phrased diplomatically, it was basically a scathing attack on the way that the morning’s plenary process had unfolded, convening at a time when the G-77+China were still discussing alternative text elsewhere. On the dais (and projected onto the two acre-sized screens arrayed at the front of the hall) were Minister Witoelar and Yvo de Boer, puffy-eyed and exhausted. It fell to de Boer to answer, and twice during his short reply he had to stop to compose himself. Not out of anger, but from sheer exhaustion and frustration. He was trying not to burst into tears. He replied to the Chinese that he simply hadn’t been aware that the G-77 was still discussing Agenda Item 4 in side-meetings when the plenary had reconvened. His voiced drained out of him, and suddenly he got up and simply walked out of the hall, trailing a couple of very surprised aides. (Having composed himself—or possibly having laid down for a twenty-minute nap—he later reentered the hall and took his seat.)

And then the moment of truth: India presented the alternative text from the G-77+China. The essential point about this alternative text is that it takes into account “differences in national circumstances” amongst developing countries—that is, not just in relation to Annex I, but in relation to each other—but without the binding reduction commitments that the U.S. had sought from countries like India and China. From the developing world, this was seen as a compromise that indeed not all developing countries could be treated equally—the bigger emerging economies might have to do more—but it preserved flexibilities for them to pursue those commitments at a time to be worked out later—thus, the “Bali Road Map” over the next two years.

The other letter that caught Eli's attention was actually the first, from Thomas Goreau, a delegate representing a number of actors, including the
Delegations of Jamaica (my home island and a member state of the UN) , and of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (an Intergovernmental Organization representing almost all Caribbean states), while also representing the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States (as Coordinator of the Partnership), the Global Coral Reef Alliance (an international NGO), and Yayasan Karang Lestari (Protected Coral Foundation, an Indonesian NGO that runs the world’s largest coral reef restoration project).
Goreau's letter is a white hot indictment, the temperate conclusion of which you can read below

That China and India, with their thousands of years of advanced civilization and science, should have fallen for this instead of leading the way towards cleaner sustainable development paths, is truly sad. And by placing their short sighted greed, ignorance, and stupidity first, the unholy polluting coalition of oil producers and coal burners has told the world that they don’t care who else they hurt by continuing their dirty addiction, killing reefs and drowning islands and coasts, and imperiling millions in poor countries.

Even worse, they have shown that they do not care for the rights of future generations, not even of their own people. That is why this shameful agreement is a capital crime against the environment that must be undone as soon as the Bush regime leaves office.

Eli favors those who speak their mind.

29 comments:

David B. Benson said...

"killing reefs":

Coral reefs are on the ropes

Anonymous said...

Of course, China and India (and many other countries) take the lead of the US.

They figure, "Hey if these guys who have been burning up the world's oil like there is no tomorrow won't do anything, why should we?"

That is precisely why the people who say that "Nothing the US and Europe does makes any difference" are so wrong.

We can set the example and set the tone -- as well as develop the technologies that will make reducing emissions possible not only for ourselves but for China, India and the rest of the developing world.

There are two types who advocate doing nothing. Those who are attempting to maximize their short term profits and minimize their costs (like the oil industry) and those who are simply defeatist.

The first group are just dishonest, since they make up all kinds of excuses rather than give you the real reason for their opposition to agreements.

The second group may honestly believe that nothing we can do will make any difference, but if history is any indication, the defeatists are usually wrong.

As the New Guinea representative said, "Those who do not wish to lead should just get out of the way."

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, my very arguments here.
China and India have been very direct with their comments over many years Rabett. They make the worlds clothing, they make the worlds steel, computers etc,etc etc. Coming out of abject poverty, the economic developments of India and China have been and will continue to be one of the greatest improvements for the vast sum of humankind ever. Greater minds and more caring minds in China and India have spoken with tremendous force and clarity. It is the Rabetts and Goreaus(particularly Bush hating bilers) of the world who remain the human negatives in this world.

China and India will listen and change but not because some fools called Rabett or Goreau can only tell them what despoilers the countries are, but leaders who say to them let us work with you to economically lift your populations.

To the Rabetts and Goreaus of the world,if you are so offended by China and India, use what limited economic tools you have and don't buy products from these countries. Do something real, not just speak your mind. And in doing so, see how really futile your clownish efforts have become.

There are two billion people coming who want some semblance of what you have taken for granted. Speak your mind as you are trampled.

JohnS

EliRabett said...

Johnny lad, you appear to be projecting your issues. Please dim the lights.

Anonymous said...

"Please dim the lights."

I thought they were already dimmed.

Flavius Collium said...

I don't think USA has that much right to call for cuts in China and India before it does anything itself, when it produces 4x as much CO2 per capita.

Or what do the Americans think would be the right level for the a Chinese average person to settle to? Half of US CO2 emission level?

Anonymous said...

Lights dimmed, lads, but Rabett, even at low beam, still sits in middle of road. Hiter not at fault, hitee, and sundry friends, has death wish. Best to drive along without touching brakes- quick and painless, at least to hiter.
JohnS

Anonymous said...

John S

[Best to drive along without touching brakes- quick and painless, at least to hiter.]

Spoken like the true libertarian you are.

I am getting very tired of you quickly.


And, for my children's sake, I pray the Arctic Ice will thicken by meters and remain frozen until nature decides otherwise.


John McCormick

Lazar said...

JohnS:

There are two billion people coming who want some semblance of what you have taken for granted. Speak your mind as you are trampled.

Yes, but we've got what we have from the era of cheap energy.
They want what we've got, with 43 years of oil reserves, assuming that is all recoverable, assuming production does not increase, assuming the producers aren't lying.
2 billion want what we've got.
From where are they going to get it?
That's the crash coming.
You, me, Eli, poor, rich, two billion, six billion. nine billion... all in the headlights.
You can play the hard-headed realist all you like.
Food and fresh water are other stresses.
Land for fuel.
Social stresses [riots] in China as a reaction to pollution.
Health impacts from 21st century production with 1960s technology.
Spread of mega-weaponry.
Yet the ones now crying over the plight of the poor '2 billion who want what we've got' are also supporting profligate fossil fuel use in the West, denying the science that would lead to more pressure for more energy-efficient production, consumption, cleaner, alternative energy sources, and the free or subsidized transfer of such technologies to the 'poor 2 billion'.

Anonymous said...

"denying the science that would lead to more pressure for more energy-efficient production, consumption, cleaner, alternative energy sources, and the free or subsidized transfer of such technologies to the 'poor 2 billion'"

That's precisely what libertarians like JohnS dislike most.

They absolutely hate the idea that anyone (besides themselves, of course) will get anything that they perceive to be at their own expense. "Everything given to them is taken away from me". "The common good" is simply not in their vocabulary.

Their entire position is based on ideology and they have no tolerance for any conflicting opinion.

Anonymous said...

Flavius Collium said...
"I don't think USA has that much right to call for cuts in China and India before it does anything itself, when it produces 4x as much CO2 per capita.

Or what do the Americans think would be the right level for the a Chinese average person to settle to? Half of US CO2 emission level?"

One of the reasons in the difference in per capita is the fact that China has 4X the people (1.3B vs. 300M) stuffed into an area slightly larger than the US (they're larger by about 164 sq km).

Look at total emissions by land area, and make the same arguement.

We're increasing emissions by about 2%/yr to China's 8-9%/yr.

They've already passed us as the biggest emitter in the world, and within 20 years, they'll beat us in cumulative amounts.

A new administration won't help there.

- Mickey

Anonymous said...

Or what do the Americans think would be the right level for the a Chinese average person to settle to? Half of US CO2 emission level?"

The US could readily cut its per capita emissions in half and suffer almost no change in lifestyle.

By half again is also certainly doable, though it may take some significant changes in the way we go about our daily lives.

In other words, sure China has 4X the people but there is no reason they have to increase their per capita energy use (and emissions) to anything close to that of the US.

The US is just incredibly wasteful. Much of what we emit is simply a direct result of this. There is no reason it has to be that way.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, it appears I'm not the only one with issues. To John McCormick, or indeed any others, I really don't care what you think of me. You can wish whatever you want for your children. However other world citizens will decide your children and grandchildrens fate, their livelihoods, their standard of living. The recent Bali joke session had the two biggies of the future effectively saying to others, get stuffed. The west's response was a teary UN Secretary General. It caught the moment perfectly. The west is going to be crying a lot more tears in the future.


And Lazar has shown the hardheadedness of the cave dweller thinkers. Its all downhill from Lazars thinking. Malthus did similiar thinking over 150 years ago and he was wrong. So old son, despite your gloom, and because much braver and better people than you are going to populate this world, there will be no food and water shortages. If you don't think, for example, that very efficient desal units will be supplying huge drinking water amounts in the next 20 years, you are more of a fool than you have shown already.

Lazar and another Anon have the dig that I am part of this waste. Kyoto signatories signed up to cuts. They have not achieved goals, and if people were a little more truthful, have no chance of meeting them. So don't start pointing fingers at me old Lazar, when all the smart and pretty people puffed out chests in 1997 and said look at us and signed onto something they had no intention of achieving.Lazar, when Saint AlGore starts living like Joe Average, with similiar energy use, you will be taken serously.
I have challenged people like you
at this blog may times and I do so again, turn off your lights, stop your heaters, don't drive your car and go freeze in the dark. Stop consuming goods and energy. Stark, yes, and you'll think of any number of excuses as to why you won't do it. You won't do it, will you Lazer.

Issues Rabett, and lights were dimmed throughout. Now please move off the road. Chinese like skittled rabbet
JohnS

Anonymous said...

"turn off your lights, stop your heaters, don't drive your car and go freeze in the dark. Stop consuming goods and energy."

Yes, we have heard this argument before many times.

There is just one minor problem with it.

It is based on the assumption that in order to cut CO2 emissions, one must stop using energy entirely.

Green plants (with negative CO2 "emissions") disprove your theory.

Lazar said...

Hey Rabett, it appears I'm not the only one with issues. To John McCormick, or indeed any others, I really don't care what you think of me. You can wish whatever you want for your children. However other world citizens will decide your children and grandchildrens fate,

That is merely a truism.
If they are sane, they will ignore the market-fundy-ists.

their livelihoods, their standard of living. The recent Bali joke session had the two biggies of the future effectively saying to others, get stuffed.

You clearly don't understand... if the 'West gets stuffed', India and China get stuffed.

Climate change is merely another negative, albeit with large shadows.

And Lazar has shown the hardheadedness of the cave dweller thinkers. Its all downhill from Lazars thinking.

Not at all. It's probably uphill or level going if humans can act responsibly, however if they believe market-fundamentalist ideology and 11th-hour pie-in-the-sky solutions, then no.
You're trying to paint a black-and-white picture.
It fundamentally misrepresents my position.
This is the way you justify your market-fundy-ism.
With continued misdirection, red-herrings, straw-men.
You think no one can see it?
The choice is not between 'governement action' versus 'markets and technology', the choice is, as per the cold war, between applying all three together or probably getting stuffed.

Malthus did similiar thinking over 150 years ago and he was wrong.

Yes dear, a finite sphere supports a finite population... there is no magical technological fix nor market-fundamntalist ideology that will wave that fact away.
Either set limits responsibly...
Or nature will do it for you.
Now you can continue to make sloppy statements regarding Malthus... e.g. what precisely did he 'predict'... how was the 'prediction' wrong... and how does that relate to current pressures... and current predictions... most thinking people will recognize that as a red-herring.

If you don't think, for example, that very efficient desal units will be supplying huge drinking water amounts in the next 20 years

Rotfl... you're proposing the most energy-intensive form of water supply at a time when energy prices and population are going through the roof. Ah, but it will be 'efficient', and the amounts produced will be 'huge', so says the pie-in-the-sky dreamer... go on dreamer, admit your market-fundy-ism can't cope with the real world.

Lazar and another Anon have the dig that I am part of this waste.

No dear, we're not pojnting fingers and laying blame on you for the current mess, we are pointing out the inconsistency between your professed concern for the 'two billion poor', your support for profligate Western energy consumption, and your denial of very hard science.

So don't start pointing fingers at me old Lazar,

See above.

when all the smart and pretty people puffed out chests in 1997 and said look at us and signed onto something they had no intention of achieving.Lazar

Oh I had no hopes on Bali achieving anything useful.
It doesn't require pieces of paper to act.
Anyone who understands the situation realizes there's no benefit in waiting for others and pointing the finger of blame.
The proper role for events like Bali is diplomacy after enough major nations have already got serious.

I have challenged people like you

No, you have thrown around a red-herring.
Nobody takes your 'challenge' in the least bit seriously.

at this blog may times and I do so again, turn off your lights, stop your heaters, don't drive your car and go freeze in the dark. Stop consuming goods and energy.

You're an idiot... precisely the reason why myself and other are supporting increases on the price of fossil energy now is so we don't have to do this in the future.

Stark, yes, and you'll think of any number of excuses as to why you won't do it. You won't do it, will you Lazer.

As stated, you're the one blathering with eyes caught in the headlights while Eli and others try to pull you out of the road.
The one's who are better and smarter and braver than myself are the Eli's and Hansen's of this world, not the pollyanna fundies like yourself.

Go on, do the sums. You can do it. Work out how much fossil energy is left, be generous... assume it is all recoverable, ignore decreasing eroei as reserves deplete, ignore that gas and coal are not direct substitutes for oil, pretend that ME reserves are really what the liars say they are, assume the population stays at 6 billion not the 9 billion projected by 2050, assume that production at the required level is even possible... and calculate how long those reserves last for 6 billion at a Western standard of living.

You can do it if you really try...

Now look at the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

That is why this shameful agreement is a capital crime against the environment that must be undone as soon as the Bush regime leaves office.

lets see, China & India are greedy kid killers and Bush did it

bwaaahahahaahahahaahahaa

Anonymous said...

Malthus theories live in Lazar. Water, fuel all gone- grow up, sunshine. Continue to flap your gums Lazar, or waggle your fingers over a keyboards but you're another do nothing who says the world is terrible. Tell the world through this site what you are doing to limit or stop AGW.You say, pieces of paper don't mean much to you- good man. So no more oh-you-are-a- terrible-fundy-JohnS, tell all what you are doing.

My offerings for 20 years ahead, Lazar. Efficient desal/water retreatment delivering huge water to the largest portion of the 7 billion population. Population is generally well fed, still pockets of poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity, but tremendous improvements from 20 years previously (Western Europe dives into cave dweller status- only joking, Lazar). Vehicles are combination of fuel and electric, given terrific advances in technology developed by those who only 20 years before were called market fundys.

World has not descended into abyss as was hoped for by the cave dwellers, who, because of their own avarice and cowardice, effectively bred themselves out of existence(oh I can't bring a child into this world, but I will continue to spend as if I have high cost children). The centre of political clout has spread to Asia and the Indian subcontinent, as it should, because one half of the population lives there. World tensions, yes, mega weapons designed yes, but no mega weapons used as world is now a much better and safer place. Wealth is much more evenly distributed, not because of cave dwellers continuing wish to keep the poor, poor, but that poor really did tell the rich to get stuffed, and then went and changed the world.

Remaining cave dwellers have a need to renovate their caves and act as guides for new rich. Skittled Rabett is now not staple food, as remaining Rabetts finally decided to get off the road.

JohnS

Lazar said...

Malthus theories live in Lazar. Water, fuel all gone- grow up, sunshine. Continue to flap your gums Lazar, or waggle... [snip]

Rest binned unread.

Lazar said...

The recent Bali joke session had the two biggies of the future effectively saying to others, get stuffed.

The West's [former] dirty energy-intensive industry is done by China, still more dirtily and costly. Comparative advantage and cheap energy -- Westerners have better uses for their time and can do without the pollution, meantime Chinese can do with the exports, jobs and income.
While energy is cheap.
As energy prices rise so do the costs of Chinese 1960's-tech, and Chinese workers demand Western-style life requiring Western levels of fuel consumption, and that comparative advantage eeks away.
The West may 'say' okay to such demands.
Or the West may employ plenty'o'robots to do the work at a fraction of the energy-cost, requiring little supervision so that comparative advantage ain't much of a problem now.
There goes a chunk of Chinese trade, and the unemployed Chinese worker may wonder where is that oil for his Western lifestyle... guess where 40% of Chinese oil consumption comes from?
With no job, a smoked environment and attendant health impacts, he's now pretty pissed off and more so at his government than the West.
His government who told Western advice for energy-efficiency and clean [non-fossil] energy to 'get stuffed'.
But guess who is 'stuffed'?
The path the West took to riches is now closed forever.
Some may call that 'unfair', I would agree.
But trying to follow that path is foolish.
The path to safety -- and wealth -- is energy-efficiency, non-fossil energy, and sensible population limits.
That will be achieved, if at all [and I think it will], with markets, technology, and government intervention.
Rich nation and poor will come off fossil fuels because they have no other choice.
There is the painful way or there is the suicidal way.
If humans are wise, and I think they are wise enough not to listen to market-fundy-ists, they can probably overcome fossil-fuel dependance with minimal pain and achieve a comfortable lifestyle for all, using efficienct production and clean, non-fossil energy.
You can name-drop 'Malthus' all you want, but everyone knows it's a red herring, and they know why you're doing it. Like most market-fundy-ists, you don't understand scarcity, you don't understand externalities, nor tragedy of the commons. Every time you're pressured you revert to waffling. Go on, do it again.

stevesadlov said...

What we see here in the US is a great (ugly?) game of good cop bad cop. The eco radicals are the bad cops, Bush et al are the good cops. But we see, with the signing of the energy bill and endorsement of Bali, the true nature and agenda of the entire set of cops. You all should be happy, it's your agenda.

EliRabett said...

In good cop/bad cop, the cops are cooperating to extract information. What we have here is cops and robbers. YMMV but the Bush regime is on the side of the robbers.

Anonymous said...

Good grief. The denialists are literally springing out of the woodwork over here.

Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when the alarm goes off at Climate Audit.

It's like a bunch of army ants sent on a campaign to protect the home hill.

Anonymous said...

Eli,

Why haven't you blogged on the new collaborative work between RPJr. and Steve McIntyre.

You just knew it was gonna' happen one day....

Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...

As seen on another blog:

"If we look at that data [CO2] and compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following.

* Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
* Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
* Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
* Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.

In fact, emissions from the U.S. grew slower than those of more than 75% of the countries that signed Kyoto.

Comments?

- Mickey

Horatio Algeranon said...

Global Warming stopped in 1998

EliRabett said...

Rates are tricky things. Did they happen to mention in absolute amounts how much emissions grew? Eli, being a doubting bunny thinks you will find that the big three in absolute amounts are the US, China and India, and that a lot of that 75% is from minor emitters.

ChrisC said...

Mickey,

It's hard to comment without the knowing the following:

- Does the blog mention if it is discussing Kyoto signatories or Kyoto ratifiers. The US and Australia both "signed" Kyoto, yet both failed to ratify (or withdrew ratification in the case of the US). Hence, US GHG emissions could be included in the increase of Kyoto signatories. Need to clear this up;

- Countries such as Brazil, China, India and several other developing countries have ratified Kyoto yet are premitted to increase emissions for the first commitment period (till 2012). These countries have had large increases (percentage wise and absolutly), which will inflate the figure of "Kyoto ratifiers" green house gas emissions;

- The US has had a slower increase in GHG emissions (in terms of percentage growth since 1990) precisely because it is such as large emitter. Eg. in 2005 the US emitted 6,008.6 million metric tons CO2-e according to CDIAC the US EIA (www.eia.doe.gov), compared to 4,990.6 million metric tons in 1990 . This is a net increase of almost 1018 million metric tons and an increase of almost 17% for the period.

However, take the case of China , which emitted approximately 2,260 million metric tons CO2-e in 1990 compared to 5,230 million metric tons in 2005, an increase of 2,970 million metric tons (approx 57%!!!)

However, China has had to increase their emissions almost 3 times as fast as the US just to catch up. The US has already developed, whilst China had to start way back in the field. As such, its percentage increase in much greater, just to get equal on total emissions.

I've also got some complaints about the numbers presented, but without having a source its hard for me to comment.

Anonymous said...

To ChrisC:

Here is the blog that I got the comment from (comment #4):

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/the-climate-message-what-works/#comments

No further explanation of where the figures came from.

To be fair, though, re-check your figures for the same times, that is, compare current to 1997 ("last year fefore Kyoyo")

Since the commenter specified 2004, we can assume that Australia would have to be listed against the "NON-signers". Their signing (and rejection) happened recently.

Still, based on the numbers you showed, in the past 15 years, China has emitted close to triple the CO2. Work the numbers for India, too (since Goreau's letter mentions them both).

"However, China has had to increase their emissions almost 3 times as fast as the US just to catch up."

Catch up to what? I didn't think that it was a race.

Note to EliRabett. Sounds like an excellent idea for a post: has the signing of Kyoto by all but the US decreased the global rates of CO2?

- Mickey