What happened through the last long night of the Cancun talks?
The most recent news I can find suggests the Greens are partly happy, which means more money must be going to flow from the people to the bureaucratic machinery, though nothing appears to be confirmed. Ponder the power of 100 billion dollar pledges. It buys a lot of PR advertising and school propaganda, and creates millions of active patrons as jobs and industries are established that are wholly dependent on keeping the big-scare-campaign going. The ambit claim of “1.5% of GDP” appears to have been dropped.
The saving grace of this fixed monetary commitment ($100b vs 1.5%) , if it is confirmed (and if you can call it a “grace” of any sorts), is that by 2020, $100 billion may not buy much, thanks to rampant inflation on the way. Feel the relief?
See UPDATE 2 (at the bottom): It appears nothing has been signed, and the future promises are just more “talks”. But, $100 billion has been pledged each year …? If so, that’s a win for the climate industrial complex and the bureaucrats, but will be painted as a quiet partial step forward. It’s not as big as it could have been, but $100 billion per annum is a major win in anyone’s books. Even if they didn’t get world government this time, their mission can only be advanced by this. Does it start now, or in 2020?
UPDATE #3 (from Comments):
The trustee is the World Bank (not… the UN?), and “We’re talking about a [combined] reduction in emissions of 13-16%, and what this means is an increase of more than 4C”. BBC News h/t Richard C (NZ)
Australia has made a $A599 million commitment. h/t Lawrie
Climate draft proposes $100 bln financing
The draft moves forward a pledge that wealthy nations made last year in the Copenhagen Accord of $100 billion per year in financing, starting in 2020, for developing countries. The money would help developing countries mitigate emissions and adapt to the worst effects of global warming, like heatwaves, droughts and stronger storms.
The text also sets up a “green climate fund” to help channel some of the money to developing countries.
The text drops a demand from developing countries that rich countries offer 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product in financing.
The draft aimed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F), and would deliver “adequate and predictable support, including financial resources” for developing countries that protect their forests.
To become a U.N. decision, the draft, agreed by groups of ministers, would have to be cleared by a conference of about 192 countries at a full meeting in Cancun, Mexico, Friday or Saturday.
From the Globe and Mail Friday Dec 10 updated 10:44pm (bold and highlighting added).
Climate draft text signals breakthroughs
Negotiators made breakthroughs in key areas of contention at the Cancun climate talks late Friday, producing a draft text that commits all countries to step up their efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius and leaves open the possibility of new commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
In a surprise move, as delegates were preparing for a gruelling overnight session, Mexican chairwoman Patricia Espinosa released draft texts of agreements approved by 50 countries that were charged with finding compromises to what many believed were becoming intractable positions. But the agreements fell well short of an overarching accord that could form the basis of a new treaty, and it remained unclear whether it would pass the full convention.
1.5 degrees is apparently the new target for witchdoctors to aim for (which, by the sound of news forecasts on December weather, would seem very achievable with no action or spending at all). The word “consider” makes this a wish-list item.
The proposed agreements would endorse the view that “climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time” and requires “long-term co-operative action” in order to prevent catastrophic impacts across the planet. And they pledged that countries would consider strengthening the long-term goal to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees, something demanded by small island states who fear the 2-degree target would leave their countries literally under water as a result of rising sea levels.
Monckton’s warning appears to be apt: $100 billion a year by 2020
Under the proposed deal, countries would set up a “Green Climate Fund” that would manage most of the $100-billion (U.S.) per year promised to poor countries by the developed world; set up technology-transfer programs to help them adopt renewable energy technologies, and fund projects to reduce deforestation and encourage tree planting.
Time for Canadians to weep:
Following the lead of the United States, Canada has pledged to reduce its emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020. Mr. Baird told the summit the Canadian government is working to meet that commitment, though it has yet to produce a plan to get there. Ottawa has introduced new emission standards for automobiles and is moving on ships, airplanes and heavy trucks; it has also promised to pass regulations that will force the power sector to end its reliance on high-emitting coal over the next two decades. But it has not regulated the fastest growing source of emissions: Alberta’s booming oil sands.
The Copenhagen Accord appears to be the “winner” (what a surprise)
The United States had insisted the Cancun summit must recognize the political agreement reached in Copenhagen last year, including the emissions pledges. Backed by Canada, the Americans were also insistent that China, India, Brazil and other major developing countries agree to have their plans to reduce the rate of emissions growth monitored and verified by the international community. The developing countries have agreed to a review process, though one that is not as rigorous as the regime for developed countries.
Australia owes nearly $900 million (mostly to Russia) from the last “agreement”
SOMEBODY has now put a price on the symbolic act of Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong flying to Bali within days of Labor’s election in 2007 and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. It’s a potential extra $870 million from Australian taxpayers. There’s no certainty this will be the actual cost, if there is any, in 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol period finishes and nations are called to account for failing to meet their international legal obligations.
Under Kyoto, we were given an allowance of 1990 baseline plus 8%, and we are on target for 9% over by 2012. We would have to buy carbon credits for any emissions over the allowance. Countries under the allowance could sell carbon credits, so effectively we would be transferring the money to Russia (the main beneficiary).
In the real world, cold weather kills
Meanwhile, record lows are striking day after day in Cancun, but the cold is much more serious elsewhere. Homeless people in northern climates are dying, one in particular in a car as he tried to sleep under an electric blanket that stopped working when the car battery went flat. Older people who been caught outside after falling have succumbed to hypothermia. The aftermath of major widespread flooding is still affecting the Eastern side of Australia. It has forced evacuations, and in some cases people have drowned caught in cars on flooded causeways.
Julian Assange (the wikileaker) has been moved to an isolation cell “for his own safety”. Dark moves of powerful institutions are always done with the excuse of good intentions aren’t they?
As news comes in, please link to it in comments. I’ll try to update…
UPDATE: Still no confirmation
NEWS from the ABC this morning (thanks Val Malkus) — there are few signs of consensus.
In Cancun, there are frantic negotiations going on as countries try to salvage the climate talks and find at least some areas of agreement. But it’s now just a matter of hours before the talks are due to end and there are few signs of any consensus.
(This ABC bulletin was filed “Saturday afternoon”, but looks like old news from Friday afternoon in Mexico. She talks about it being late afternoon in Mexico, which it isn’t yet.)
UPDATE 2: ABC 6 hours ago: … looks like the big result is “talks to set up Kyoto II”.
Nothing concrete appears to have come out of Cancun, but neither is there a sign that anyone is getting rational.
Faced with the growing prospect that a new climate treaty is distant, the European Union has led calls to extend the Kyoto Protocol.
Japan has adamantly opposed a new Kyoto round, pointing out that the treaty named after its ancient capital covers only 30 per cent of global emissions because China and the United States are not part of it.
Russia, a major exporter of carbon-intense fossil fuels, has backed Japan’s position, while Canada was also seen as a quiet supporter.
In a compromise, the proposed Cancun agreement would call for talks to set up a second period of the Kyoto Protocol but not oblige members of the treaty – such as Japan and Russia – to be part of the new round.
Japan doesn’t want emissions targets, but it’s apparently happy to pay money:
The European Union, Japan and the United States have led pledges of $100 billion a year for poor nations, which many experts say are already suffering a rise in floods and drought as temperatures steadily mount.
A broader issue is just how wealthy nations would raise the money, with some negotiators advocating levies on airplane and shipping fuel.