Sunday, October 11, 2009

Outcome of Bangkok Climate Change Talks

A Guardian article written well before the Bangkok talks ended in disarray -- without any resolution in sight -- remains a concise summary of where things more or less stand:
So Guardianistas, here is the official state of play with just a few weeks to go until the final round of talks which begin in Copenhagen on 7 December. So far, the UN has said rich countries need to cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) to stay within the 2C rise which the scientists say is the upper limit of what Earth can take. But the UNFCCC secretariat (the people running the climate talks) reckons that the combined cut from pledges made by rich countries so far adds up to just 16-23% - and that's excluding any cuts made by the US.

The Alliance of Small Island States (made up of the countries who stand to be drowned in a few years and which have as their motto: "1.5 to stay alive") say that if the US joins in with its expected target of about 4-10%, that would give an aggregate global cut of just 11-18% in emissions. If so, that means that we, the rich, intend to cut our emissions by a measly 6% more than what we pledged - but failed to reach in 2002. And with carbon offsets - which we can pass on to poor countries - that means we need do next to nothing at all at home. Indeed, we could probably increase emissions and carry on building coal power plants. No wonder the EU and rich countries are hiding from the press and the developing countries are furious!
The main positive outcome of the talks was Norway's pledge to reduce its emissions by 40%, putting other rich countries like Canada to shame.

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