Archive for Saturday, December 19, 2009

U.S.-brokered climate deal doesn’t satisfy all

December 19, 2009

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— Two years of laborious negotiations on a climate agreement ended Friday with a political deal brokered by President Barack Obama with China and other emerging powers but denounced by poor countries because it was nonbinding and set no overall target for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a leading proponent of strong action to confront global warming, gave the Copenhagen Accord grudging acceptance but said she had “mixed feelings” about the outcome and called it only a first step.

Obama’s day of frenetic diplomacy produced a three-page document promising $30 billion in emergency aid in the next three years and a goal of channeling $100 billion a year by 2020 to developing countries with no guarantees.

The five-nation agreement includes a method for verifying reductions of heat-trapping gases — a key demand by Washington, because China has resisted international efforts to monitor its actions.

The agreement, which also includes India, South Africa and Brazil, requires industrial countries to list their individual targets and developing countries to list the actions they will take to cut global warming pollution by specific amounts. Obama called that an “unprecedented breakthrough.”

“We have come a long way, but we have much further to go,” he said.

If the countries had waited to reach a full, binding agreement, “then we wouldn’t make any progress,” Obama said. In that case, he said, “there might be such frustration and cynicism that rather than taking one step forward, we ended up taking two steps back.”

A final plenary session began debating the agreement early this morning with the aim of reaching enough consensus that the president of the conference, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, could declare the document approved. But that outcome was thrown into question as a string of developing nations began to protest what they called an inadequate and nonbinding text.

The delegate from the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu — which is threatened by rising seas — told the meeting that his country’s future was not for sale. Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela complained that they had no input into the drafting of the document.

Obama met twice with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in hopes of sweeping aside some of the disputes that had blocked progress. The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest carbon polluters.

The emerging outcome was a disappointment to those who had anticipated the Copenhagen Accord would be turned into a legally binding treaty. Instead, it envisions another year of negotiations and leaves myriad details yet to be decided.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the deal was “clearly below” the European Union’s goal.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the agreement had almost universal support. “Let’s remember, a year ago nobody thought this sort of agreement was possible,” he said.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

Vested corporate interests still have way too much political sway for any effective agreement to be achieved. Unfortunately, we'll probably have to drive off the proverbial cliff before we can collectively agree that it isn't such a good idea.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 3 months ago

Climate change or "global warming" as the notion goes, is a dubious condition created by juggling supposed "scientific" .data. Human involvement is a hoax.

This is a world-wide hysteria to attempt to address a natural, millions of years event into modern days and years. Al Gore has nothing better to do than try to promote this myth, and many people are taken in by it.

Try this. Drop a piece of "dry ice" into a bucket of water. What happens? The carbon dioxide, which is what "dry ice" is, melts, bubbles up to the surface of the water and then plunges over the side of the bucket to the ground. Folks, CO2 is HEAVIER than oxygen. Also, the "green" hysteria. GREEN plants absorb CO2 to make, you guessed it (or did you??)OXYGEN for all liiving breathing beings to BREATHE!!! Now about these theories that CO is going UP and blocking the heat radiation. Tell me how a gas heavier than the atmosphere RISES. This whole hoax has been promoted by those who will benefit from the sales of imaginary "green" machinery and who seek to obliterate the mythical "carbon footprint".

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Dear Leader is claiming a solid B+ and peace in our time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

"The carbon dioxide, which is what “dry ice” is, melts, bubbles up to the surface of the water and then plunges over the side of the bucket to the ground. Folks, CO2 is heavier than oxygen."

So, let me get this straight-- you're saying the atmosphere is perfectly stratified by the molecular mass of the gases of which it consists? So, nitrogen, which makes up nearly 80% of the Earth's atmosphere, is isolated to one strata that's nearly exclusively made up of nitrogen? And likewise, oxygen, which makes up the other 20 or so percent, is also concentrated on one strata, made up of nearly 100% oxygen?

Wow, that's a brilliant discovery that totally changes reality. Cool.

Paul Decelles 5 years, 3 months ago

frwent,

If your argument were correct, then carbon dioxide would not be in the atmosphere at all. You might check out a basic chemistry book's discussion about gasses and molecular motion. The effect you are referring to is probably related to the fact that the gas spilling over the side of the container is cooler than the surrounding air.

As for your oxygen comment: Strangely enough plants do not absorb carbon dioxide to make oxygen. They absorb carbon dioxide as part of photosynthesis-the point of which is to make energy rich molecules-sugars. Oxygen is a by product of photosynthesis, in fact from splitting water to get at electrons and hydrogen ions needed to make the sugar.

It is true though that plants do use carbon dioxide, and so photosynthesis can moderate the rise in carbon dioxide. The issue is the degree to which plants and other photosynthetic organisms can respond to make use of this extra carbon dioxide since in many ecosystems other nutrients such as phosphate and nitrate are limiting. Also carbon dioxide uptake from plants may be offset by carbon dioxide produced as a waste material from cellular respiration.

As for imaginary green machinery I am not sure what you mean but I am guessing you are referring to all the "green" products that are advertised today. Here I am with you...how "green" lots of these products really are seems quite debatable.

Carbon foot print technically refers to the carbon dioxide and methane produced as a by product of making the goods and services we use. I wouldn't call it mythical, but I don't know how good we are at accounting for all the carbon gasses produced as a by product of economic activity.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 3 months ago

Thanks JABOTB, you beat me too it. But since I looked up a reference, I'm going to provide it anyway. Here is a primer on the composition of the atmosphere,

Specifically, there are zones known as homosphere and heterosphere where the gases are well mixed and where they are not. Five minutes of reading would have saved frwent from posting a model of the atmosphere that was so blatantly ignorant of reality.

anon1958 5 years, 3 months ago

frwent (Anonymous) says…

blah blah yuckety muck in first grade science class I am permanently stuck.

Giving money to any country in Africa to combat climate change will be as fruitful as trying to pee up a rope. African leaders are just far too corrupt to give money to. All aid to African countries needs to be administrated by NGO's based out of nations that have AND ENFORCE anti-corruption laws.

Direct financial aid to governments of African countries is purely the transfer of wealth from many poor and middle class people in wealthy countries to a few rich people in poor countries.

Also, IN before tomshewmon says climate change is a socialist hoax by mad marxist scientists!

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