NewEnergyNews: U.S. BLOCKS AGREEMENT AT PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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  • ---------------
  • Sunday, April 27, 2008

    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.


    click to enlarge

    Climate change: Progress at polluters’ talks, but obstacles ahead
    Richard Ingham and Marlowe Hood, April 18, 2008 (AFP via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    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;

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    A preliminary meeting of Major Economies Meetings (MEMs) failed to reach meaningful agreement on global climate change action.

    WHEN
    - 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)

    WHERE
    - The 16 major economies account for approximately 80% of world GhGs.
    - The G8 Summit will be in Toyako, Japan.

    WHY
    - 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)

    QUOTES
    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…"

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