With all the fun watching Obamacare collapse, we’ve hardly had time to take note of the climate change circus tent collapsing around its tentpoles at the latest UN climate summit taking place over in Poland right now.
First, Japan has essentially said “Goodbye to all that” in announcing that it is repudiating its Kyoto Protocol target of a 6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels (a target that would require about a 25 percent reduction from current emission levels). Instead, Japan announced that its new emissions policy will allow for a 3.1 percent increase in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by the year 2020. Reuters quotes China’s climate “negotiator” (heh) as saying “I have no way of describing my dismay” about the revised target. China is secretly delighted, since it relieves the pressure on them to submit to the economy-ruining agenda of the UN.
Japan is having to revise its target upward because of its rash decision to phase out nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. You would think environmentalists would be pleased at this. But over 95 percent of Japan’s replacement energy is coming from hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and gas). Oops. As Reuters puts it, “Japan’s decision added to gloom at the Warsaw talks, where no major countries have announced more ambitious goals to cut emissions, despite warnings from scientists about the risks of more heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising sea levels.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. and other developed nations including the EU have rejected a proposal from developing nations that future emissions targets be based on historic emissions going back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which would tilt policy in highly predictable (and anti-U.S.-EU) ways. Here’s a bit from the Bloomberg account of the conference:
The U.S. and European Union blocked a proposal supported by 130 nations including Brazil and China that would use [CO2 emission] levels dating back to the industrial revolution to help set limits on emissions in the future. . . The proposal goes to the heart of one of the most divisive concepts in the talks — the notion of equity. Developing countries say that because industrialized nations have been emitting greenhouse gases for 200 years, they must bear the most responsibility to rein in the pollution blamed for global warming. Richer countries see a focus on the past as a tool by poorer nations to avoid making bigger efforts to curtail their own emissions.
Of course, whenever you hear the term “equity” at one of these UN gatherings, it is code for the U.S. and Europe to hand over their wealth. The UN is aiming for a new comprehensive climate treaty by 2015. Doesn’t look good, unless Iran steps into the picture somehow, thus assuring a U.S. cave in.
By the way, kudos to Australia, which sent a low-level diplomat to this round of the climate talks rather than their senior environment or energy minister, as they have always done in the past. We should start following their lead.
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