Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mid-Term Test, Part I

A while ago, as a Global Climate Change Decision Maker, Eli took a test and offered a taste to the bunnies. Globe Scan has released the results of their survey (actually they did so a week or so ago, before Copenhagen) and it is time to see how everyone did, the details are at the link, but the results are sobering.

As Eli and others are making clear there is a strong consensus that the science is more than strong enough to demand taking serious action to avoid future disaster. Globe Scan put the question in the negative, but the answer is the same. Act now, act strongly, but we know from the recent tantrums that there is strong, industrially funded and supported, political opposition.

The first question on the survey was what were the preferred and expected outcomes, from COP15 and, as Eli pointed out the preferred outcome for the vast majority of science, science policy and policy hacks who actually have a clue about the dangers the world confronts would have been a comprehensive and ambitious agreement with the cooperative participation of the US and China, India too for that matter, Europe, being defacto on board.

Now this is not the unanimouse opinion, Scrotum and Ethon know of some folks who really, really wanted COP 15 to fail miserably, but it looks like what happened was pretty close to what us Climate Change Decision Makers thought would happen. What is interesting is how it happened. At the end. Obama simply shamed the major developing countries into participation, from reports, busting in on a meeting of China, India, Brazil and South Africa

The Norweigen Nobel Peace Prize Committee expects serious apologies from everyone who said that their award of the Peace Prize to Obama was a mistake. Without that he would not have had the standing to act as he did, even as President of the United States.

Shortly before the appointed time of the meeting with Mr. Wen, Denis McDonough, the national security council chief of staff, and Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, arrived and were startled to find the Chinese prime minister already meeting with the leaders of the three other countries.

They alerted Mr. Obama and he rushed down to the site of the meeting.

“Mr. Premier, are you ready to see me?” Mr. Obama called from the doorway. “Are you ready?”

Despite its tense start, the meeting led to an accord that settled a number of issues, including a compromise on wording on the issue of monitoring and verification that satisfied Mr. Wen.

Mr. Obama then took the proposed text to a group of European nations whose representatives grumbled but signed off.

As his motorcade idled in front of the conference center, Mr. Obama took to a rostrum emblazoned with the presidential seal.

“This progress did not come easily, and we know that this progress alone is not enough,” the president said, his eyes bleary and no note of triumph in his voice.

He added, “We’ve come a long way, but we have much further to go.”

but the world has made a start.


Anonymous said...

Hey Rabbet- climate change professionals answering a survey - thats as funny as Dano or little Stevie Bloom making a coherent statement.

Rabbet, you have misunderstood the hand gesture from the Chinese and Indians to Obama- it wasn't a friendly come hither good sir, it was the timely, you are a twat, good sir. And this is progress that does not come easliy- I laughed and laughed

And it snowed outside, beautiful irony.


EliRabett said...

You lost. Give it up

Anonymous said...

MarkeyMouse says:

Where is the official documentation of said agreement?

Re "Standing", you do know that Obama is a usurper, who is not qualifie to be US President, as he is not a Natural Born Citizen of the US? Therefor whatever he agrees has no legal force.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Malarkey Mouse wants to nominate THE CONSTITUTION as the US President.

-- bi

Anonymous said...

Obamee Doodle went to town
And was late for a meeting
Ran down the hall to compromise
And called it Progessaroni!

Mark said...

I guess the snowstorm meant a lot of whackaloons staying indoors with nothing else to do but post misinformed comments on the Internet. The first anonymous, for example, spouted off without checking the cited source, making the assumption that it was a poll of climate experts. Actually, it was a poll of experts in international development.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off-topic, but this should provide a bit of amusement for folks here...

I posted a link to Dr. Alley's AGU "Control Knob" lecture over at the San Diego Union Tribune discussion board.

Here is the first reply (from

It looks like caerbannog liked Alley's sermon.

One might note that he offers no insight into why anyone other than the warmers should think that CO2 in the atmosphere would make the surface temperature increase, he simply states that it is physics, which is incorrect. There is no basic science that suggests CO2 in the atmosphere will cause warming.

Alley uses the models that presume CO2 causes warming to try to validate the notion that CO2 causes warming.

Alley's case isn't convincing though, especially since he even states that there were CO2 increases centuries after temperature increases.

Interest can also add to savings.


Just a quick warning: Anyone thinking of wandering over to the UT message-boards should first make sure that they have their spittle-shields on.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Unknown said...

Caerbannog, I think it is past time to note the denialists and pseudoskeptics have had over a decade to explain the events on the ground. More than a decade to put up or shut up.

They have not put up. So they can STFU.

The dim-bulbs are the only ones left, clinging to their outdated and invalidated worldviews (and thus self-identities).

They are not worth the time to engage. We simply should point them out for the jokes they are, and amuse ourselves from them, but they cannot be taken seriously.



Anonymous said...

Not sure what (if anything) "expectations vs reality" means at this point.

The time for talk and "reaffirming the importance of limiting global warming to 2 °C" is past.

The "success" of a conference should be measured not by general political promises but by concrete commitments to limit emissions.

The only meaningful thing at this point are the actual emissions cut commitments and the estimated temperature change that they would produce.

By that standard, Copenhagen was not particularly successful.

From climate interactive
"The Copenhagen Accord reaffirms the importance of limiting global warming to 2 °C (3.6 °F), but current national commitments would lead to approximately 3.9 °C (7.0 °F) warming by 2100."

That would not be "success". It would be a disaster.

Gareth said...

Eli... "the world has made a start".

From outside the US, it looks rather more like another in a long line of "first steps". How many do we need before the issue gets taken seriously?

The "Accord" was basically imposed on the conference by the US and China, and has only been "noted" officially. It stands outside the UNFCC process. It's also somewhat weaker than dishwater.

Count me unimpressed.

William T said...

Obama (and everyone else) needs to get realistic - there is no real hope of a global solution arising from a process where any one of 177+ countries can effectively put a spanner in.

He should follow on from his meeting with the cozy 4 with a 'G-8' of CO2 polluters. Now he (and they) have taken the initiative, run with it as hard as they can. Put together a hard-hitting deal between these top emitters to reduce CO2 emissions and transition to 'clean energy'. Europe will follow, and the rest of the world will be forced to follow if they want to keep up with the action (and if this group of big actors are in on the deal, it is inevitable that carbon tariffs will be the next logical step).

Such a deal, taking the initiative and putting carbon reduction and transition to clean energy as a pro-active strategy of the US, China, and the other biggies, will be much easier to sell politically than the existing process of UN-appeasement and 'punishment' of rich country behavior.

Anonymous said...

"Obama (and everyone else) needs to get realistic"

That's Obama's problem. He is too "realistic".

He is viewing this from the standpoint of someone who is doing just enough to make it -- and himself -- look like a success.

Great (and even good) leaders -- those who effect real change -- simply do not approach things that way.

Leadership is not a matter of catering (caving) to the lowest common denominator.

Obama's deal-making for the purpose of making a deal (any deal) reminds me a lot of the negotiations over the years to reach a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians with overriding emphasis on ambiguous terminology that means different things to different people and therefore has no real meaning.

Kissinger's Shuttle diplomacy is the epitome of the "deals for their own sake" approach, which led precisely nowhere.

It is most often the case that a real leader has to CREATE a new reality. In other words, they have to lead people in a direction that people never imagined was possible.

I am sorry, but I am not optimistic that Obama is that leader. I simply don't see it: not on bank reform, not on health care reform and not on climate change.

Ironically, he is too "conservative" (in the true sense of the word)

Obama's Copenhagen Deal: How it came about—and why it may not be a real deal." -- By David Corn and Kate Sheppard

"The Chinese were very reluctant to accept any kind of international supervision or international analysis of the performance of their actions."

As the discussion continued, Obama dropped a term on the table: "examination and assessment." This suggested direct monitoring of Chinese emission curbs by outsiders. Chinese officials in the room pronounced it unacceptable."We weren't that happy with it, either," Serra noted. So a new description—"international consultations and analysis"—was worked out. A "consultation" is obviously less intrusive than an "examination." But what does "international consultations and analysis"—soon to be referred to as ICA—mean? Asked this, Serra shrugged and said, "Ehhhh." He added, "The definition will be negotiated by a panel of people. They will decide what it means, like everything else." Obama promised to sell this not-well-defined ICA phrase to the Europeans.

Gareth said...

See also this report in the Independent:

The source was present as heads of state and government drafted the final document, and gave the IoS an astonishing eyewitness account. He said: "There were 25 heads of state in the room; this was about six o'clock on Friday night. To my right there was President Obama in the corner, with Gordon Brown on one side, the Ethiopian President on the other, the President of Mexico, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea...

"If China had not been in that room you would have had a deal which would have had everyone popping champagne corks. But this was the first sign that China is emerging as a superpower, which is not interested in global government, is not interested in multilateral governance that affects its own sovereignty or growth. You could tell this lack of engagement through the process; they play a much cleverer game than anyone else. They were running rings around the Americans.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabett, great to see you and your followers still want to live in twinky land- Obama is a problem, small thinking is a problem, blah blah blah.

With China holding American debt, do you clowns really think the Chinese will listen to anything America says, or more importantly, that America will say anything that insults the Chinese. India is the next superpower.

Two and a half billion people wanting a developed world standard of living and you clowns say no. Unbelieveable.

Dano continues to prove he cannot make a coherent statement.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Shorter JohnS:

The Chinese will do nothing, therefore global warming is a hoax!

It's snowing, therefore global warming is a hoax!

There's a survey, therefore global warming is a hoax!

Therefore, I'm very coherent, and you're not! Oh, and global warming is a hoax!

-- bi

Anonymous said...

"With China holding American debt, do you clowns really think the Chinese will listen to anything America says, or more importantly, that America will say anything that insults the Chinese. India is the next superpower."

Yes, why would China join in? Global Warming will not be impacting China at all, nor India for that matter, so they needn't trouble themselves.

BTW, the 800 billion in T-bills the Chinese have is about equal to the Iraq junket costs so far.


Douglas Watts said...

Commitments to make emissions cuts 5, 10, 20, 30 years down the road are by definition meaningless since they can always be downgraded later. It's sort of the same thing as a drunk saying "I'll quit after this last bender, I promise, dear."

What I am (at least) hopeful about is commitment of $$$ to pay countries to not clear-cut and de-forest. This at least has the promise of doing something positive in the short-term that carries a multitude of benefits.

dhogaza said...

"Obama (and everyone else) needs to get realistic - there is no real hope of a global solution arising from a process where any one of 177+ countries can effectively put a spanner in."

I think it's clear he has. I think it should be blindingly obvious to anyone who understands the US political system that even if a treaty framework could've been agreed upon at Copenhagen, the US Senate would not have ratified it. There's no way that Obama would be able to get 67 votes out of the Senate. At best he might get the 60 Dems+Indies and two or three Republicans, but even that's probably over optimistic.

"Leadership is not a matter of catering (caving) to the lowest common denominator...

I am sorry, but I am not optimistic that Obama is that leader. I simply don't see it: not on bank reform, not on health care reform and not on climate change."

I imagine this poster believes that leadership is marching to the floor of the Senate, then falling on one's sword?

Sorry, I must disagree.

Apparently you're in the camp of those who believe that the US health care system should be left alone, unchanged? That no health care bill should've been passed because Obama wasn't able to get something ideal passed in the Senate?

Hmmm ... wait a minute ... the President *never* gets anything passed in the Senate. If the President is lucky, 60 Senators will agree to something that is partially congruent with what the President wants. The President has the veto, so he can push back when Congress passes something he doesn't like. On the other hand, the Senate has the filibuster, and can tell the President to shove it when asked to pass something that 41% of its membership doesn't want.

Used to be worse. It took 67% of the Senate to break a filibuster until 1975.

Idealism, meet the US Senate.