U.S. BLOCKS AGREEMENT AT PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS
An important preliminary meeting in Paris of 16 major world economic powers responsible for 80% of world greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions to set goals and pick methods for the fight against global climate change ended April 18 with little of importance accomplished.
NewEnergyNews readers might wonder why, considering how much of importance COULD be accomplished.
Well, it started the night before the get-together. President Bush announced his administration’s 2 “breakthrough” goals to confront global climate change: (1) No mandatory caps on emissions, only incentives to reduce; (2) The U.S. will aim to stop increasing GhG emissions by 2025.
For comparison: The pending EU goal is, beyond hard caps, 20% emissions reductions from 1990 levels by 2020. California’s goal is, beyond hard caps, 20% reductions from 2005 levels by 2020.
On the floor of the Senate the next day, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) said President Bush's announcement gave new meaning to the phrase “doing nothing.”
The reaction of the participants at the gathering in Paris ranged from “too little, too late” to “a step backwards…”
The meeting convened. A concrete timetable for emissions reductions and specific caps were discussed. There was no agreement. Developing countries would not agree to anything without specific pledges from the U.S. and the U.S. wasn’t pledging to anything but incentives on caps or anything sooner than 2025 for cuts. The meeting adjourned.
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, secretary of state for European affairs, France: "As a European, we would like to see the most quantified objectives possible, both in the medium and long term. There is a divergence with our American partners on this subject…"
Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Environment Minister, South Africa: "Discussions are continuing but there are no major breakthroughs…"
Toward the end of the 2nd day, French President Nicolas Sarkozy talked to the meeting about how the 5-year-old Darfur nightmare is an example of climate change-induced suffering: "In Darfur, we see…the impact of climate change, which prompts emigration by increasingly impoverished people, which then has consequences in war…If we keep going down this path, climate change will encourage the immigration of people with nothing towards areas where the population do have something, and the Darfur crisis will be only one crisis among dozens of others."
It is estimated that 300,000 people have died in the Darfur region in the last 5 years.
President Bush’s term ends January 20, 2009.
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Climate change: Progress at polluters’ talks, but obstacles ahead
Richard Ingham and Marlowe Hood, April 18, 2008 (AFP via Yahoo News)
Ministers of the 16 major greenhouse gas (GhG) emitting economies (Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States); Jean-Pierre Jouyet, secretary of state for European affairs, France; Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Environment Minister, South Africa;
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A preliminary meeting of Major Economies Meetings (MEMs) failed to reach meaningful agreement on global climate change action.
- MEMs was created by U.S. President Bush following the December 2007 Bali climate change summit, ostensibly to smooth the way for a 2009 climate change agreement on Phase 3 of the UN-led climate change fight scheduled to begin in 2013.
- This unsuccessful preliminary meeting was April 17-18.
- Two more preliminary meetings in May and June will precede the G8 Summit July 7-9 at which a “shared common vision” statement will be made.
The choices we make will make all the difference. (click to enlarge)
- The 16 major economies account for approximately 80% of world GhGs.
- The G8 Summit will be in Toyako, Japan.
- It was hoped MEMs would lead to concrete goals. It produced only disagreement over a specific timetable and emissions caps.
- MEMs also will try to develop strategies for New Energy technology and energy efficiency development and innovation.
- Reports were made on the financial commitments necessary for the climate change fight. - South Africa reported $30 billion to $60 billion/year will be needed to assist poor countries deal with changes and $200 billion/year to cut emissions.
- Mexico suggested creating a $10 billion/year "Multinational Climate Change Fund" to prepare for the inevitable.
They say Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Will they say the Bush administration twiddled? Diddled? (click to enlarge)
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, secretary of state for European affairs, France: "We achieved a consensus on the need for long-term and medium-term goals for reducing greenhouse-house gases... but we have not quantified targets at this stage and we regret this…"