Don't wreck deal, US warns, as climate talks jam

December 12, 2014 by Richard Ingham
Thousands participate in the People's Climate March on the sidelines of the UN COP20 and CMP10 climate change conferences being held in Lima on December 10, 2014

The United States urged developing countries Thursday to ease objections to a world deal on climate change as deadlines loomed at a 12-day UN meeting in Lima.

The talks, meant to pave the way to a landmark pact in Paris next year, are scheduled to conclude on Friday, but delegates reported deadlock and a souring mood as the final day neared.

In a speech touching on one of the thorniest issues, US Secretary of State John Kerry called on developing nations to understand they too had to curb carbon emissions even if they felt it was unfair.

"I know the discussions can be tense and decisions are difficult and I know how angry some people are about the predicament they've been put in by big nations that have benefited from industrialization for a long period of time," Kerry said.

But, "we have to remember that today more than half of global emissions—more than half—are coming from developing nations. So it is imperative that they act too."If the negotiations fail, " will judge our effort not just as a policy failure but as a massive collective moral failure of historic consequence," he warned.

The envisioned pact would bring all the world's nations into a single forum for cutting heat-trapping greenhouse gases blamed for damaging Earth's climate systems.

To be sealed in December 2015 and enter into force by 2020, it must ensure global warming does not exceed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

The Lima round began on December 1 on a hopeful note, following promises by China, the United States and the European Union—the world's three biggest carbon polluters—to tackle their emissions.

Money, too, began to flow into the Green Climate Fund, the main vehicle for channeling at least $100 billion (80 billion euros) in annual aid, promised by rich countries to climate-vulnerable nations by 2020.

But on Thursday the negotiations ground on with few signs of genuine horse-trading.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged ministers to begin "real, serious negotiations."

"We have been talking over the last two decades," said Ban. "We don't have a moment to lose."

A picture distributed by the Peruvian presidency press office shows US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) in a working session with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in Lima on December 11, 2014

Delegates pointed to two logjams.

One is a draft blueprint for guiding negotiations up to the December 2015 finale—a document which has ballooned as countries filed more objections and suggestions.

"We have seen the laggards throwing in language of all kinds into the negotiating document," Tony de Brum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, told journalists.

The other is a format for standardizing information by which countries will make carbon-cutting pledges at the heart of the 2015 accord.

Developing countries demanded pledges incorporate not just action on reducing , but financial help and adaptation aid to shore up climate defenses.

The sparring touched on a years-old source of friction—how to apportion responsibility between rich and for ramping up carbon action.

Known as differentiation, it is rooted in a division of responsibilities enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at its birth 22 years ago.

At the time, UN members were split into advanced economies, the first to burn fossil fuels to power their prosperity, and , which—until then—bore little blame for carbon pollution.

Nobel Peace Prize 2007 laureate Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN panel of climate scientists, speaks during a high level meeting at UN COP20 and CMP10 climate change conferences in Lima on December 11, 2014

Europe, the United States and other advanced economies accept that some form of differentiation remains valid today.

But they argue it is senseless to shape a post-2020 deal on the basis of the world as it was in 1992.

Voracious burners of coal, developing now account for more than half of global emissions, a share set to rise, they argue.

The UNFCCC's meetings are notorious for textual battles and delay, in some cases prolonging closure by more than a day.

Scientists are pounding an ever-louder drumbeat of warning.

Environmental group Germanwatch assesses global efforts to reduce climate change

Earth is on track, they say, for warming this century of about four degrees Celsius, cursing future generations with species loss, rising seas, drought, floods and disease spread.

The head of the UN's panel of climate scientists, Rajendra Pachauri, warned Thursday that only about a thousand billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) can still be emitted before the targeted two degree limit is breached.

"We are all on spaceship Earth. We are now sharing this space of a thousand gigatons of CO2," he said.

"We have to divide up this space equitably and in a matter of fair and ethical considerations because otherwise we are going to exceed the two degrees."

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3 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2014
Why do the folk emotionally-vulnerable, politically-manipulated folk continue to block our efforts to save the Earth? Is it ignorance? Political prejudice?

Probably both, because they assume they are smarter than the world's scientists, and more honest, as well!
1 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2014
Pertinent scientific facts.
Governments and their capitalist cronies pay the university 'scientists'.
Governments and their capitalist cronies are set to benefit big from global warming government programs and their regulations.
After being lied to so often by our government, it makes sense to NOT trust them.

So I don't trust them. I'll believe my eyes and reasoning, and the true scientists who oppose government influence.
1 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2014
The CO2 levels are still rising and yet both poles are getting bigger, glaciers are stagnant or growing. So much for that theory*.

Then again, I believe the government paid university 'scientists' would blame the beginnings of another ice-age on us people - and global warming - and coal, oil, or cattle flatulence or something.

Anything for the government and crony-capitalists that pay them. They lick the hand that feeds them, while they ignore the scientific process of trying to disprove their theory, and only after having failed to do so, say that it appears to be correct.

So.... funding seems to be their only 'priority'. Right principles, the USA, and the truth be damned.

*Theory = Ruse
5 / 5 (5) Dec 13, 2014

"--- yet both poles are getting bigger, glaciers are stagnant or growing."

You've got that totally backasswards. Are you that ignorant or stupid or just plain lying?

3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2014
"So I don't trust them. I'll believe my eyes and reasoning, and the true scientists who oppose government influence."

So, . .it was extremist politics all the time, wasn't it?

Your position has nothing to do with science.

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