Saturday, December 15, 2007

Slouching from Gomorrah

Bali, as Kyoto before it was about establishing a position from which the world could negotiate about meeting the climate change challenge. The necessity of emerging with an agreement meant that the principles each had a blocking power. In such a situation you only get a major step forward if each wants something that the others can accept. This was not the case, because as Al Gore presciently said in his speech preceding the final negotiations by days

I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by the diplomatic niceties. So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that, but my country is not the only one that can take steps to ensure that we move forward from Bali with progress and with hope.

Those of you who applauded when I spoke openly about the diplomatic truth here have a choice to make. You can do one of two things here. You can feel anger and frustration and direct it at the United States of America, or you can make a second choice. You can decide to move forward and do all of the difficult work that needs to be done and save an open, large, blank space in your document, and put a footnote by it, and when you look at the footnote, write the description of the footnote: This document is incomplete, but we are going to move forward anyway, on the hope, and I'm going to describe for you why I think you can also have the realistic expectation, that that blank will be filled in.

This is the beginning of a process that is designed to culminate in Copenhagen two years from now. Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now. You must anticipate that.

Eli is not happy that his country is behaving badly. The opprobrium the US government representative received was well deserved, and we, especially those who live in the US, must work towards the goals that Gore set forth.

At Bali, with the exception of the US, the world came together. The current US administration was isolated and forced to accept an outcome which can allow progress. Much to do in the next year. John McCain and all of the Democratic candidates clearly would allow the Bali process to go forward.

Read or listen to Gore's speech. Andrew Light's comments at Grist are worthwhile


Anonymous said...

Hi Eli,

I thought you might appreciate this bit...

"Time after time, just as an agreement on emissions reduction targets had drawn near, the US delegation submitted amendments or new texts that threw the process into disarray. It was these tactics that eventually saw them get their way and have the emissions target figures removed.

"They might have won even more concessions had it not been for a last-minute outburst from Kevin Conrad, head of Papua New Guinea’s delegation, who won mass applause when he told the Americans yesterday: 'We seek your leadership, but if you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way.'

"It was after this that America finally yielded and offered a deal."

December 16, 2007
Bali's crying shame
The drama of the UN climate change talks caught the world's attention, but critics wonder whether they will secure its future
Jonathan Leake in Bali

Anonymous said...

The Kyoto treaty was agreed upon in late 1997 and countries started signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data 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%.

The Top 16 emitters produced 74.19% of the CO2 emissions from burning carbon fuels.

Excluding the U.S. , the next 15 emitters produce 52.33% of the worlds CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

The top four emitters were U.S., China, Russia, Japan and India in that order, and only the U.S. and Japan would have been required to control emissions under Kyoto.

Excluding the U.S., the top 15 emitters increased CO2 emissions by 25% since Kyoto.

Only 3 Countries in those top 15 outperformed the U.S. since 1997:

Germany at -1.63 %
U.K at 3.39%
France at 6.21%

Top increases since 1997 from the top 15 emitters:

China at 55% currently the no 2 emitter
Russia at 15.61% currently the no 3 emitter
India at 27.45% currently the no 5 emitter
Iran at 39.31% currently the no 13 emitter.

Top European offenders were:
Italy at 15.53% increase since 1997 at no 10 on the list
Spain at 37.81% increase at no 18.

EliRabett said...

Much of the China/India increase is exporting of emissions from the US, which is why Rabett's Simple Plan for Saving the World would be a good thing.

More on Kyoto in a while. My view is not the same as most.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back at Reality Ranch...

Oceans’ Growing Acidity Alarms Scientists
by Les Blumenthal

"As the oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, they’re gradually becoming more acidic.

And some scientists fear that the change may be irreversible."

It looks like all the arguing about whether temperature has gone up and how much effect it will have may be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

I wonder what's next from the denial crowd: denial that the CO2 level has increased?

oops, I forgot, they already deny that (or at least that humans are to blame)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm sure I answered you elsewhere or someone else posting exactly the same thing.

You should cite your sources, not just copy and paste other people's work. Your credibility rises when your sources are checkable.

Anonymous said...


dispute the numbers if you can

the cite from which they came is in my post

get real or get lost