Plodding climate talks stepping up to higher level

Dec 05, 2010 By CHARLES J. HANLEY , AP Special Correspondent
Campaign Against Climate Change protester claims that palm oil manufacture is endangering animals, during a mass protest in London's Hyde Park before a march to parliament Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010. A Global Day of Action to coincide with UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, is promoting Zero Carbon emissions by 2030. (AP Photo / Ian Nicholson, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

(AP) -- The slow-moving U.N. talks on combating global warming took a step forward Saturday with revised proposals for a $100 billion-a-year climate aid fund and other issues for debate by the world's environment ministers this week.

Despite that advance, the chairwoman of key closed-door negotiations warned the open conference that obstacles remain to what delegates hope will be a package of decisions next Friday on financial and other side matters under the U.N. climate treaty.

"Progress has been made in some areas," Zimbabwe's Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe said. But she said the talks were "going backwards" on important issues. "We need to redouble our efforts."

Environment ministers began flying in Saturday for the final days of the annual two-week , hoping to put new life in the U.N. talks.

Last week, under Mukahanana-Sangarwe's leadership, a working group from among the 193 treaty nations sought to whittle down the contested texts of proposed decisions.

In one sign of the work facing them, only 170 words had been undisputed among the 1,300 on two pages of a key text on the "shared vision" of what the treaty nations want to accomplish. The disputed language was options proposed by various parties and placed within brackets.

Some parties, for example, want the world to reduce emissions of global warming gases so that temperatures don't rise more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) above preindustrial levels, beyond which scientists say serious damage from would set in. Others want to aim even lower, at 1.5 C (2.7 F) above preindustrial levels - a position favored by island states and others most threatened by warming's impacts, such as sea-level rise.

The Zimbabwean's revised text eliminated the 1.5-degree option, drawing an immediate protest from the Bolivian delegation at Saturday's open meeting, a sign of the contentiousness sure to mark the coming days.

Though a step forward, "this paper lacks sufficient ambition for the urgent protection of islands and the world," said Grenada's U.N. ambassador, Dessima Williams, speaking for small island nations.

In many important areas, Mukahanana-Sangarwe's text revisions retained multiple options - on the supervision of the proposed climate fund, for example - setting the stage for further sharp debate.

At last year's climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, richer nations promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change by, for example, building coastline protection and shifting crops to cope with new precipitation patterns.

Firmly establishing a green fund at Cancun is a priority for developing-world delegations, who generally want a U.N. body overseeing disbursement of climate funds, rather than, for example, the World Bank, which is controlled by developed nations.

The issue of reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by industry, vehicles and agriculture is the core dispute of the long-running climate talks, and will not be fully resolved at Cancun.

For 13 years, the U.S. has refused to join the rest of the industrialized world in the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 add-on to the that mandates modest emissions reductions by richer nations. The U.S. complained that it would hurt its economy and that Kyoto should have mandated actions as well by such emerging economies as China and India.

For their part those poorer but growing nations have rejected calls that they submit to Kyoto-style legally binding commitments - not to reduce emissions, but to cut back on emissions growth.

This impasse brought last year's Copenhagen climate summit to near-collapse. That conference ended with a nonbinding "Copenhagen Accord," under which the U.S., China and other nations inscribed voluntary pledges to scale back emissions. The agreement has been endorsed by 140 nations, not the treaty's full 193.

Two debates under way in Cancun stem from Copenhagen: how to "anchor" those voluntary pledges more officially under the treaty, and how to monitor and verify that pledges are being met.

Besides the green fund, negotiators hope for agreements on other secondary issues, including making it cheaper for developing nations to obtain climate-friendly proprietary technology from more advanced countries, and pinning down more elements of a complex plan to pay developing countries for protecting their tropical forests.

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deatopmg
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 05, 2010
Most less developed countries and the watermelons representing the UN members at Cancun demand to live off of other people's money, OPM, for no other reason than the west has been "bad" to mother earth, operates under a bad financial system, i.e. capitalism, and became successful on the backs of the poorer countries (probably some truth to this one) so they are owed something. All because these illogical, child-like thinkers "know" what is "right" for us and are willing to ensure that we comply with their demands at the tips of their guns like Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Schicklegruber, Pol Pot, and a myriad of other tyrants, most of whom, in the past 100 yrs, have been socialists. Socialism has been an abysmal failure especially when it runs out of OPM.

What these budding tyrants don't want you to know has been collated from the UN data on how most of these nations have already prospered handsomely in the last 50+ yrs on the west's largess.

See http://www.gapminder.org/ for FULL details
marjon
3.6 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2010
the west's largess

Some have benefited from the west's largess, others have observed the benefits of capitalism implemented policies to limit govt tyranny.
A rising tide lifts all boats that don't leak.
marjon
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2010
"Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord"
http://www.guardi...e-accord
But the science was sound and there are no politics in 'climate change'.
SteveL
5 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2010
"But the science was sound and there are no politics in 'climate change'."

I still have doubts concerning the science, but one thing I know for sure is that politics is in everything - any societal endeavour that touches upon or even hints at influence, power or wealth.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
Whether the science is settled or not doesn't matter really. Even if you believe the most extreme man made warming fears, can you think of any less effective organization than the UN, in terms of making the most of any money they receive? Why should countries who don't give any money have any say in how the money is spent? Will there be some consequence for the administrators of the funds if they are found to have mismanaged the funds? Who will be held accountable? How will they be held accountable? What body will have auditing authority? Who pays for the audits? Will people be held individually accountable, and under what leagal jurisdiction will they be held accountable? Giving money to the UN is like throwing it into a singularity. It could be permanently removed from the universe for all time, and there's no way to ever get it back.
Loodt
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 06, 2010
GSwift7,

The Germans will benefit!

Think of the massive fleets of governmental Mercedes Benzes this tidy trance of funds will provide the 3rd world dictators!
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2010
lol loodt. That's probably a sad truth though.

If you want to do an interesting experiment, try to find out who is paying the bills for the cancun summit. It's well known that Enron was one of the biggest funders of Kyoto. Follow the money and it tells its own story.

Ask yourself why all of the largest investment fund companies are so anxious to see cap and trade become law in the US. Why would they be so much in favor of this? The money they plan to make doesn't just magicaly appear out of thin air, and they don't plan to make billions from selling solar panels either. Cap and trade is a great way to make the rich richer at the expense of the common people who pay electric bills and buy food.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Probably the best viewpoint to have in this is the cost of adaptation and the potential rammifications.

Without going all doom and gloom we can look at it thusly:

Just as we don't have a second planet to test the effects of total nuclear exchange, we don't have an additional planet to screw around with climate wise.

In the eventuality that global warming is occuring, the price of adaptation is (for the US) saying goodbye to multiple cities and attempting to move that infrastructure, those people, and those economies elsewhere. Just take a stab at what that'll cost. We're not talking about building simple sea walls (and we've seen that those fail more than they work several times now). So we're probably talking many hundreds of billions, if not trillions spent.

I think I'd rather have the price of gas go up a dime and the cost of electricity go up 3 cents per kWh. That's about what a $40 per ton tax pans out to be to the end user. And if it's wrong, at least we're alive.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
That's about what a $40 per ton tax pans out to be to the end user.


That's a weak estimate. Don't forget the feedback effects. 3 extra cents/kWh to irrigate a field or build a car or bake bread or bottle water leads to higher prices on items that are taxed as a percentage of their sale price, so not only do you pay more for electricity, but also pay more for everything you buy and also pay more tax on those things. Meanwhile, your employer can't afford to pay you any more than they already are because of rising costs, and some employers will just pack up and move to a country with more sensible laws. You are right skeptic, strict cap and trade laws will save us from having to relocate our cities, because they will already be abandonded. Meanwhile the world will still flood because most countries don't have pollution laws like the US does.

If we have no money left, it'll be awefully hard to do anything to change things if we need to.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
That's the estimate that came out of the CBO, CATO, and Greenpeace. You have a wild progressive, a non-partisan, and a wild conservative all showing the same figure.

If anything is weak its the assumption that a co2 tax will shut down the country. That's fear mongering, and you're better than that. The lines you're tossing out are the same nonsense we heard when we signed the Montreal protocol, restricting CFC use and leading to elimination of CFCs in large part. Last I checked, we're still here, and we innovated some excellent tech, especially in HVAC, leading to new job markets and better living for more people.

If anything, that is what gave Reagan the economic boost, the innovation brought about by restriction.

If you seriously think any company in the world is going to walk away from the US markets because of CnT, you're out of your mind.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
That's the estimate that came out of the CBO, CATO, and Greenpeace. You have a wild progressive, a non-partisan, and a wild conservative all showing the same figure


And they all stand ready to make billions if cap and trade ever happens. You are far too trusting. I'll bet you believed that the health care bill would lower your insurance premium.

If seriously think the rising cost of doing business here in the US hasn't already forced hundreds of thousands of job overseas, then you need to wake up. My company alone just outsourced around ten thousand jobs over the past two years. About 5000 jobs to India wih HP, and another 5000 to the Philipenes wih IBM. That closed several buildings in St Louis and Chicago, where those jobs used to be. Go ahead and make costs even higher here and see what happens. Try buying textiles or electronics made in the US. Good luck. Try getting a computer programming job here. Good luck.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
How exactly is the CBO, CATO, or Greenpeace going to make billions of dollars off of cap and trade?

Just lay that one out for me because I think you're going a bit tinfoil on this one.
If seriously think the rising cost of doing business here in the US hasn't already forced hundreds of thousands of job overseas, then you need to wake up.
That's the beautiful thing about globalization, those jobs are comming back too. As standards world wide increase for the worker, the jobs move to where the consupti0on occurs. It's a self feeding cycle.

And those jobs that were outsourced, I'm willing to bet those weren't exactly professional or technical jobs. We shouldn't be training phone operators in the US, we should be training engineers.

As for textiles and electronics, how about cars, not "domestic" GM or Ford, those are built in Mexico. How about we buy a nice American made honda, or toyota, or mercedes?
Try getting a computer programming job here.
I just hired 3.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Here's the Obama administration's estimate of carbon cap and trade, in a story from CBS, if you're interested:

http://www.cbsnew...383.html

and here's a range of estimates from fact check:

http://www.factch...ion.html

That's just energy bill increases, not total cost of living increases. 1500 dollars is a substantial percentage increase per houshold.

The CBO stands to make huge amounts of money from cap and trade. It's a tax you know.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
15 years ago, in Kansas City, the help wanted adds in the Kansas City Star had a pullout section for computer jobs. It was usually 4 pages. You are now lucky to see a dozen programming jobs there. That is true in Louisville KY and Columbia SC as well.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
And those jobs that were outsourced, I'm willing to bet those weren't exactly professional or technical jobs. We shouldn't be training phone operators in the US, we should be training engineers


The entire corporate IT structure, including network engineers, high level management, and yes help desk people too, went to HP in India. The entire acccounting and purchasing structure went to IBM in Manila. Along with those jobs went the secondary jobs created in the communities where those people lived, like architects, engineers, air travel, insurance, retail sales and the list goes on. It's suicide for our economy, but we're going to see an accelleration of outsourcing with rising health care and energy costs. There is a feedback loop there too.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
15 years ago, in Kansas City, the help wanted adds in the Kansas City Star had a pullout section for computer jobs. It was usually 4 pages.
Say it with me, ".com bubble"
The entire corporate IT structure, including network engineers, high level management, and yes help desk people too, went to HP in India. The entire acccounting and purchasing structure went to IBM in Manila. Along with those jobs went the secondary jobs created in the communities where those people lived, like architects, engineers, air travel, insurance, retail sales and the list goes on. It's suicide for our economy, but we're going to see an accelleration of outsourcing with rising health care and energy costs. There is a feedback loop there too.
A lot of those jobs are comming back here for several reasons, regulation, training, reliability, etc. GE jsut brought 30,000 jobs back in the IT and finance space, from India, because they want too much money over there.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Your factcheck and CBS address the Waxman Markey bill, that bill is a piece of trash as far as I'm concerned. There were more earmarks than regulations in that "washroom reading material".

Plus, it was so formless and vague (which isn't funny considering it was over a thousand pages) that it provided nothing but bully market control to the people who already have bully market control.

CnT isn't bad, some designs for it are.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
dot calm bauble.. dock com double.. oh, I give up, you say it! And stop laughing at my typing impediment!!

We could go round and round on this forever. You say cap and trade is good. I say it will cost jobs. you say it will create jobs. I say it will cost too much. You say it's worth it to save the environment. I'm a single father already struggling. I can't afford to save the planet. Maybe you can pay my part and we'll both be happy.

The concept of cap and trade is fine, if anyone was really talking about doing it in a way that doesn't result in billions of dollars ending up in the hands of third parties at the expense of everyone else. The only reason anyone is even talking about it is because of all that money. Those people don't give a spit about the environment, and they don't care about middle class jobs. I'm not being paranoid. I'm being pragmatic. There's no way to do cap and trade that isn't going to cost people and business money. money = jobs. Simple economics.
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Without going all doom and gloom we can look at it thusly:

Just as we don't have a second planet to test the effects of total nuclear exchange, we don't have an additional planet to screw around with climate wise.

In the eventuality that global warming is occuring, the price of adaptation is (for the US) saying goodbye to multiple cities and attempting to move that infrastructure, those people, and those economies elsewhere. Just take a stab at what that'll cost. We're not talking about building simple sea walls (and we've seen that those fail more than they work several times now). So we're probably talking many hundreds of billions, if not trillions spent.

I think I'd rather have the price of gas go up a dime and the cost of electricity go up 3 cents per kWh. That's about what a $40 per ton tax pans out to be to the end user. And if it's wrong, at least we're alive.


Interesting philosophy, ever seen this?

http://en.wikiped...e_gamble

:-)
GSwift7
not rated yet Dec 07, 2010
I was thinking the same, but everyone does a /rolleyes whenever you mention anything even remotely related to religious philosophy, and it tends to get the non-enviro-crazies in on the conversation too.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Interesting philosophy, ever seen this?
http://en.wikiped...e_gamble
:-)
Difference is there are actually only two choices in my scenario (do something, do nothing), Pascal was ignorant of about 150,000 more religions. Which is why his wager is always frowned upon. For a statistician, he certainly screwed that one up.
I'm a single father already struggling. I can't afford to save the planet. Maybe you can pay my part and we'll both be happy.
Redistribution?!?!?1 Of MY Wealth?!?!?! Call Cheney, Gswift is a progressive!!!!!
/freethinking
(See how stupid that shit sounds?) With the cash comming in off the taxation our programs will be better funded, so that there will be a better safety net for people in similar or worse situations.
There's no way to do cap and trade that isn't going to cost people and business money.
Well no kidding, but let's say the doom and gloom jerkoffs are correct, what're you gonna spend that money on?
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Well no kidding, but let's say the doom and gloom jerkoffs are correct, what're you gonna spend that money on?


first, Marjon is the anti-redistribution nut-ball, I'm the practical nut-ball who says we can't spend money we don't have, so we need to prioritize. We are in debt you know, and the economy isn't really all that great. Are you going to tell 1 in 10 americans who are unemployed that they need to send 1500 dollars a year to zimbabwe because the UN says so?

Let's say they are right. How much does it cost to fix the problem? Over what time period will they need the money? What exactly are they going to spend the money on? When they find the solution, do we get to stop paying the tax? If they find a solution and have money left over do they have to give it back? Is there actually a clear definition of what constitutes victory? If only the US does this, will it actually even matter? Will sending money to third world countries help? If not, then what is the UN doing?
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Difference is there are actually only two choices in my scenario (do something, do nothing), Pascal was ignorant of about 150,000 more religions.


Uh no, that's not what the wager was about. It was about does God exist or doesn't he. The wager can merely be about that. In that instance there are only two choices.

Try again..

Modernmystic
5 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2010
Also, there could be a third option in your scenario as well....

That there is a problem, but that the ultimate costs for "doing something" (whatever the hell that is or means) are greater than letting the current situation ride.
marjon
5 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2010
What exactly are they going to spend the money on?

That's a question I always ask when the socialists want to use taxes to reduce consumption of gasoline, cigs, booze, etc.
They won't admit the money is put into the general fund to increase the size of the state. When the tax revenue falls due to reduced consumption and black markets, the socialists scream for more taxes to support their spending habit.
We need a 'tax' on govt to reduce the number of addicts.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2010
Uh no, that's not what the wager was about. It was about does God exist or doesn't he. The wager can merely be about that. In that instance there are only two choices.

No, Pascal's wager was "Why I am a Christian." not "Why I believe in a god." Secondly, there's still more options, what if there are Gods. Pascal was a Christian Exceptionalist, you were christian, or you were nothing in his views.
Also, there could be a third option in your scenario as well....

That there is a problem, but that the ultimate costs for "doing something" (whatever the hell that is or means) are greater than letting the current situation ride.

That would fall under "doing nothing".
Are you going to tell 1 in 10 americans who are unemployed that they need to send 1500 dollars a year to zimbabwe because the UN says so?
Nope, I'd tell the scumbags who have a few million or billion in the bank that they need to start spending or send it to Zimbabwe. They spend, and jobs appear.
Modernmystic
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 08, 2010
No, Pascal's wager was "Why I am a Christian."


It was originally, but doesn't have to be limited to it. Read the link I provided...

Also, there could be a third option in your scenario as well....

That there is a problem, but that the ultimate costs for "doing something" (whatever the hell that is or means) are greater than letting the current situation ride.

That would fall under "doing nothing".


The problem is that we might actually be doing something even though the costs would be less to do nothing. HOW DO YOU KNOW what the costs are going to be either way. THAT was my point.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2010
I'm a conservative and big believer in appropriate compensation, but the only reason I can think of for a person to personally earn 10's of millions to billions a year is simple greed.

Political parties want us to think they are fair and some like to talk about how they want to tax the rich, or already are taxing the rich too much. Yet the fact is that people like Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates actually pay less as a percentage of income than middle class taxpayers do. One side can squall about how much the job creators pay, and another side can squall about how they want to take the rich even more. Yet for some hidden reason and despite the retoric the rich still pay less as a percentage than the middle class. Give me a flat tax rate, with no choice-based deductions (# of children, mortgage, donations, etc.) any day.
Modernmystic
not rated yet Dec 08, 2010
GSwift7
5 / 5 (3) Dec 08, 2010
While that may be true Modern, the true taxes and government fees we pay go far beyond mere federal income tax. When you include local and state taxes (sales tax and property tax, for example), the extra bits added to your electric bill, telephone bill, television bill, the fee you pay to get your driver's license, professional license fees (hair stylist permit? get real!), court fines and traffic tickets (god forbid), and the list goes on and on, the money they collect in total which all goes into funding the government in one way or another, adds up to a larger % of income for a poor family than it does for a wealthy one. The average poor family doesn't pay squat in federal payroll taxes, which is what your factcheck link is talking about. However, they get nickled and dimed to death in everything they do. The taxes when buying, selling and owning cars and houses are huge.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2010
That's way off topic though.

Skeptic's black and white options of "do something or do nothing" are interesting though.

It's always fun when you post your baited questions. That's right, just skip past the discussion about how much warming is being caused by humans in the first place. There's plenty of evidence that warming is happening. It's also well established that we are in the warming phase of our interglacial. How much warming is human and how much is natural? Natural warming doesn't happen linearly, so you can't just draw a trend line. Since a warmer ocean releases natural CO2, how much of the increase in atmospheric CO2 would have happened without humans? Of all the gasses disolved in the ocean, CO2 is several times more abundant than any other gas, so as the oceans naturally warm and release disolved gases, CO2 concentration in the air will increase disproportionate to the other gases. Is land use actually more impactfull than CO2? What about water consumption?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Dec 09, 2010
The problem is that we might actually be doing something even though the costs would be less to do nothing. HOW DO YOU KNOW what the costs are going to be either way.
What do you think the costs of global warming, if the allegations of doom and gloom are correct, would be? Certainly not worldwide death of humans or a destruction of all technology, etc That's jsut silly talk. Anyone engaging in that belongs out on the porch with Malthus. But what do you think the true economic and cultural costs would be?
It's always fun when you post your baited questions. That's right, just skip past the discussion about how much warming is being caused by humans in the first place.
I assume this is for me, if I'm in error, disregard the proceeding.
Well, my stance on the issue is fairly general. I can't speak to exactly what is going on, I don't think anyone can. I can speak to what a tragedy it would be if we could make small changes now to avoid problems for our kids. I'm concerned.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Dec 09, 2010
Yes, that was just for you Skeptic, with love and kind regards as always.

I'm concerned as well, but in a vastly different way. I'm concerned that we could waste trillions on efforts to reduce carbon output when our children really need us to be building schools, hospitals and roads, or creating jobs for them. Are we really convinced that the trillions needed to make even a small dent in global carbon output will change the warming? I'm concerned that we might create an economic environment that is unsustainable and pass a crippling debt on to our children for nothing. I'm 100% certain that global warming fears are exagerated. I'm 0% certain how much. You can't spend hundreds of billions on carbon without taking money away from other things. Can our children afford for us to take money away from schools, roads, military, etc? We can't even pay for the things we have now. Can we afford more? What is the priority? How important is CO2?
SteveL
not rated yet Dec 10, 2010
One of the best long-term things we could do reduce future CO2 emmisions here in the US would be to stop supplementing large families with tax deductions for an unlimited number of children under the age of 17. The number of children a family has is a choice. If you can afford and care for the kids, I have no problem. But, don't expect me to pay for your choice - as I have to now.

Quite natually, the more people there are here, the more strain there is on our natural resources.