15 December 2007

First steps of US on Global Warming

After a week of heated argument (and "boos") with other countries in Bali, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky finally agreed to an amended compromise statement. According to the NY Times,

The agreement notes the need for "urgency" in addressing climate change and recognizes that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required." Still, it does not bind the United States or any country to commitments on reducing greenhouse pollution.


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.


The US and the EU earlier agreed that industrialised countries would not set firm emissions targets at this stage. The "Bali roadmap" initiates a two-year process of negotiations designed to agree a new set of emissions targets to replace those in the Kyoto Protocol.
The document coming out of the meeting, the "Bali roadmap", contains text on emissions cuts, the transfer of clean technology to developing countries, halting deforestation and helping poorer nations protect their economies and societies against impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels and falling crop yields. The roadmap sets the parameters and aims for a further set of negotiations to be finalised by the 2009 UN climate conference, to be held in Denmark.

So as far as I can tell, this is again an agreement with no teeth. The US has agreed to no tangible results whatsoever. It's progress in that we've agreed that Something Needs To Be Done and therefore are acknowledging that global warming is taking place, but all we've agreed to so far is to continue talking. Well, better that than nothing.

1 comment:

hbl said...

Our team at Bali did well by resisting the pell-mell rush to limit CO2 emissions. Mainly, because the science employed by the U.N. panel is faulty in terms of causes (why is methane not part of the emisssions goals?) and basis (thermal energy gains not temperature changes should be the metric). In addition, the models employed have no "skill" in predicting near term changes: The recent observations of ice pack loss in the Arctic has the IPPC rushing to revise their models.

Given this and other short comings in the IPCC science, one prediction is certain: Any policy developed using the IPCC report as a basis is sure to be misdirected.