Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

Revised 4:33 PM, PST

“Mitigation.  Transparency.  Financing.”

Politico says agreement of a sort has been reached at Cop15. Read their article. It sounds like everyone is going to go home to lick her/his wounds and figure out what to do next. Phrases like “a visibly angry Obama”, “no binding agreement”, “leaving before the last vote (Obama)” and “funds to poor countries remain on the table only as long as the Chinese submit to monitoring”, all lend credence to the idea that none of this is a done deal and a lot of posturing all around was needed. I suppose after eight years of Bushco, the refined US position was a pretty big change to take in for China and India.

POLITICO Breaking News:


The U.S. China, India and South Africa have reached a “meaningful” climate change deal that sets a cap on worldwide temperature increases, according to administration officials.

For more information…http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30794.html

Ban Ki-moon’s entreaty for nations to get it together and commit, have common sense and move forward, I think, reflects in all of us.

The bottom line was introduced by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It has found “that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050”.

Both China and India have been deeply and increasingly involved with trade negotiations in Africa for some time. If you think how our trade with Mexico has worked, you will understand the similarity; cheaper goods, fewer laws in place to protect environment and people, and cheaper labor. In particular, raw goods are wanted. As an example, China only has a little over 14% arable land, having lost one fifth to desertification, and a population of around 1.39 billion, as opposed to the United States with 18% arable land, and a population of a little under 308 million. At first glance, India seems in better shape with arable land of around 50%, however they live with yearly losses due to monsoons. Also, they have a population of just under 1.67 billion. One thing all three have in common is very large coal reserves, increasing the temptation to assign value to it’s use.

An interesting comparison of international environmental treaties signed and ratified by these three or any other countries can be found in the CIA World Fact Book. This is the list as of December 18th, 2009. The Fact Book is updated regularly and these may change as countries work toward further agreement.

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Environment – international agreements:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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Politico has a lot to say about Cop15 today:

By GLENN THRUSH | 12/17/09 7:20 AM EST

Updated: 12/17/09 10:23 AM EST

[COPENHAGEN — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton threw a climate change Hail Mary on Thursday in hopes of salvaging the Copenhagen talks from collapse – pledging U.S. participation in a multinational fund to provide poor nations with a $100 billion a year by 2020. This is considerably more than the 10 billion originally promised, though not as much as some would like the US to commit….]


Since, however, President Obama is still planning to show up at the Conference on the 18th, we are all hopeful that she is again paving the way for one of his triumphant entrances.

Just in case you weren’t sure we had enough USAns rampaging through Copenhagen, Nancy Pelosi took 20 house members with various interests in Science, there on Thursday. Should I hazard a guess that this is the contingent of House members that will be expected to support the 100 billion pledge Clinton promised, to poor countries to keep from drowning when their islands disappear? Sub Saharan Africans, too are in the process of drowning in an ocean of sand, as skyrocketing maternal mortality rates, starvation, coastal fishing loss, and loss of water are enveloped by desperate and futile wars.

The consensus is that 90% of the new emissions will come from poor and developing countries, not China and the USA. We already reached close to our “full” capacity at production of airborne water and landborne garbage.

In counterpoint, certain senators, including one Ben Nelson, of recent abortion news fame, think that even though the US has been THE leading polluter, and therefore one of the MAIN causes of warming, the poor countries ought to just fix it themselves. After all, we are having such a difficult time at home, they ought to just give us a break. Can you believe this?

“They’ve got to come up with their own,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). “We’re not asking them for money, as far as I know.”


Why aren’t they suing us? Careful guys, your caste mentality is showing.

Finally, Dipnote sends a lovely factoid. Did you know that traditional cook stoves, per unit, are the considered the worst polluters in the world?

And who usually winds up slaving over them?

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Against the background of the Chinese refusal to allow monitoring of green house emissions and insistence that the 1992 treaty be honored in which they are to receive assistance toward the reduction of such emissions, the US Agenda was that of “pragmatism”.  Meanwhile smaller nations, notably from Africa, walked out briefly in protest on Monday over proposed assistance and perceived sidelining of the Kyoto Protocol.

Through the week concerns continued that progress of the overall climate negotiations regarding technical, financial and emotional issues, for an interim agreement, was too slow and would leave too much unsettled when world leaders sit down to negociate a binding global accord next year.

SOS Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend today’s conference and leaders events in advance of the President’s arrival on the 18th.

Then today, Japan Times reported the following:

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009

Gridlock threatens to doom COP15


Staff writers

[COPENHAGEN — U.N. negotiators at the COP15 conference worked through the night Tuesday, increasingly desperate to reach agreement before more than 120 world leaders gather Thursday night and Friday and following an official warning that the stalemated negotiations could doom the conference….

…One of the main sticking points on financing is which developing countries should receive financial assistance. U.S. officials have stressed they would refuse to provide China with funds. On Tuesday, China said the world’s poorest and most vulnerable should be prioritized, a sign Beijing may agree to U.S. demands that funding target small island states in the Pacific or African nations threatened by global warming, rather than large, industrialized developing countries such as itself…]


Neither China nor the US has yet signed the Kyoto Protocol as regarding green house gas emission.  This is a continuing major issue for many signatory countries. Most would prefer to keep the Kyoto Protocol, however, there is negotiation ongoing to develop a second legally binding protocol that the US might sign.

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If you are  on something faster than dial-up, the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark  has a live feed HERE, as presented by the US State Dept. Even if you are on dial up, the link is worth visiting, because it contains the agenda of the conference, running between December 7th and 18th. The list of issues is impressive, there is a summary of each below, and there are many .pdf documents available for download at this site.  Today’s agenda in Copenhagen time is:

Wednesday, December 16
9:00-10:00 AM Climate Federalism: U.S. States in Partnership with U.S. EPA
10:15-11:15 AM The U.S. Transportation Sector: A Part of the Climate Solution
11:30-12:30 PM The Science of Climate Change
4:45-5:45 PM Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Bioenergy: a New Tool for Reporting and Comparing Lifecycle Analyses
6:00-7:00 PM National Security Implications of Climate Change
Copenhagen is 9 hours ahead of San Francisco.

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