Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sometimes you take what you can get

Durban kicked the can down the road, the key points being that the Kyoto process survived and that the developing countries (India and China) accepted some responsibility for limiting emissions.

The deal renews the Kyoto Protocol, the fraying 1997 emissions agreement that sets different terms for advanced and developing countries, for several more years. But it also begins a process for replacing it with something that treats all nations equally. The expiration date of the protocol — 2017 or 2020 -- and the terms of any agreement that replaces it will be negotiated at future sessions of the governing body, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The later was the sticking point

United Nations global warming talks headed toward a deadlock as China and India blocked a European Union proposal the 27-nation bloc said was essential for it to extend limits on pollution.

India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said she objected to efforts by the EU to force developing nations into a legally-binding treaty limiting fossil fuel emissions by 2020. Chinese envoy Xie Zhenhua said rich nations are “not acting on their commitments” to cut greenhouse gases.

“India will never be intimidated by threats,” Natarajan said at the talks in Durban, South Africa today. “How do I give a blank check and give a legally-binding agreement to sign away the rights of 1.2 billion people?”

More details emerge this morning at the Guardian

A major crisis had been provoked after 3am on Sunday morning when the EU clashed furiously with China and India over the legal form of a potential new treaty. The EU plan to bind all countries to cuts was close to collapse after India inserted the words "legal outcome" at the last minute into the negotiating text. . . .

With tempers rising and the talks minutes from being abandoned, the chair, South African foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, ordered China, India, the US, Britain, France, Sweden, Gambia, Brazil and Poland to meet in a small group or "huddle".

Surrounded by a crowd of nearly 100 delegates on the floor of the hall, they talked quietly among themselves to try to reach a new form of words acceptable to all.

But it was Brazil's chief negotiator, lawyer Luis Figueres, who came up with the compromise, proposing to substitute "an agreed outcome with legal force" for "legal outcome". This, said an EU lawyer, was much stronger, effectively meaning "a legally binding agreement".

"Yes, yes," cheered the crowd of onlookers around the politicians, and the talks were back on track.

Two hours later the 16-day talks were effectively over, with a commitment by all countries to accept binding emission cuts by 2020. As part of the package of measures agreed, a new climate fund will be set up, carbon markets will be expanded and countries will be able to earn money by protecting forests.

This outcome, although not nearly what was needed shows that the world knows that a climate treaty is necessary.

The outcome was better than nothing, but not hugely so. It may be necessary for the EU to adopt Eli's Simple Plan to Save the World, which does not depend on universal agreement but would lead to large reductions in emissions

In other important news United Russia (aka the Party of Swindlers and Thieves ) is under increasing pressure to admit stealing the recent election and have another one. Evidence of outright vote stealing is clear. The Arab Spring turns into the Occupy Wall Street Fall and now the Russian Winter.


Anonymous said...

Carbon tariffs here we come. Eli's plan is a good one.

Little Mouse

carrot eater said...

You take what you can get, but I'm not sure there was ever anything to be had. This was always going to be a vague plan for planning for a future plan. That some sort of agreement was clinched with some careful choice of words just shows that there continues to be fundamental disagreements from India or China over whether they should ever have any responsibilities. That hasn't changed.

John said...

IF India and China do not want to "ever have any responsibilities," then they are simply following our lead.

John Puma

Brian said...

I think it's a big effin deal for China and especially India to say their emissions will peak in 2020. Anyone got a link to the actual document? I poked around and didn't find it.

The Bloomberg link doesn't work, btw, but this might:

carrot eater said...

John Puma - maybe, but in this round, I think China/India stood out as the loudest obstacles. The US was quiet in how it did nothing.

Though we should not lump those two together anymore. Their per-capita CO2-equivalent emissions are very far apart now.

John said...

To carrot eater:

So the critical issue is the auditory VOLUME by which nothing is done?

The high volume machinations are what we are allowed to hear, that which we never hear constitutes the most important (in)actions that ultimately affect us and and future generations.

Of course, in this case we have an example of the technique by which our own quasi-criminal negligence is projected onto others who have committed no wrong other than finally embracing, after our constant prodding, the magic of global predatory capitalism.

John Puma

Anonymous said...

I say that any agreein' is good agreein'
So I took what I could get mmh, mmh, mmh
And China covered me with that big brown cloud

And said "You ain't seen nothin yet."
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet
Here's something that you're never gonna forget
B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet


J Bowers said...

Brian, is this what you're looking for?

Douglas Watts said...

Us in the U.S. don't have much ethical room to tell someone else to not be profligate. The only reason we aren't clear-cutting the virgin growth forests of the eastern U.S. is because we already did it in 1830.

Brian said...

JBowers - I don't think so, I'm looking for the specific language committing the nations to a 2020 cap.

J Bowers said...

Brian, I think the opening two paragraphs and (4) say it all.

J Bowers said...

Maybe this is worth a read.

Art of the Possible: The Outcome of the Durban Climate Negotiations

Brian said...

J - The first two paragraphs reference mitigation pledges. That might be it, but I'd like to see the language for those pledges. #4 just says do something in 2020.