An Inconvenient Compromise?

Climate diyup.This was supposed to be Global Warming Week, at least until Droopy distracted everybody:

A senior Obama administration official says the U.S., China, India and South Africa have reached a “meaningful agreement” on climate change.

The official characterized the deal as a first step, but said it was not enough to combat the threat of a warming planet.

Details of the deal with these emerging economies were not immediately clear.

Ah, yes, the First Step. Whereas Kyoto was a slip in the mud.

Source: US, China, India, South Africa reach deal [AP/TPM]

Update: Move along, nothing to see here, citizens…

The agreement is believed to follow the form of a draft accord that was circulating here early Friday evening. In that draft, developed nations committed to a long-term target of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. No specific mid-term target was set.

The draft dropped earlier language that said a binding accord should be reached “as soon as possible,” and no later than at the next meeting of the parties, in Mexico City in November 2010. Instead, the draft set no specific deadline, saying only that the agreement should be reviewed and put in place by 2016.

2050? That’s nice. Like they say, in the long run we’ll all be dead.

Climate Deal Announced, but Falls Short of Expectations [NYT]

There is chatter about a non-binding commitment to reduce global temperatures by 2 degrees C over the next decade. Big fucking deal.

@Dodgerblue: Just added some details from the Times. All together now: Don’t act surprised.

@nojo: I’m considering a non-binding commitment with some Thai hookers that they’ll give me a free 3-way in 2050. When I’m 100.

@Dodgerblue: Our only hope now is to keep deniers alive long enough to rub their faces in it. No doom without schadenfreude.

Which means that it’s easier to deal with the Chinese than the Republicans.

@Benedick is Danny Tanner: Note these masterful non-answers:

With reporters this evening after COP15, 10:30-11:00pm CET. Excuse my omissions and short hand…

Q Can you give more detail on transparency issue? On emission curbs? And what about cutting emissions specifically?

On second question, the way the agreement is structured, each nation will put concrete commitments into the document, with specifics on intentions. Those commitments will be subject to an international consultation and analysis. It will not be legally binding, but allow each country to show to the world what they are doing, and it will give a sense of how ‘we are in this together’ and show who is meeting and not meeting their own goals.

For emission targets, they will not be sufficient to get to where they need to get by 2050. That is why I call this a first step. The science dictates that even more needs to be done. The challenge for emerging countries that are in diff stages of development, this will be the first time they have voluntarily offered up mitigation targets. That shift in orientation moving was important, perhaps the most significant part of this accord.

Although we will not be legally bound by anything that took place today, we will have reaffirmed our commitment to meet those targets, both because science demands it but also because it offers us enormous economic opportunity down the road.

(inaudiable) If I make a claim that I am reducing emissions because I’ve changed mileage standards on cars, there will be a process for people to take a look and see if that is in fact the case.

Q You’ve told leaders they might need to give up somethings to reach an agreement. What have you given up? And since this was so hard, what are the chances of getting something stronger?

I think it will be very hard and will take some time. The US has been on the sidelines for these negotiations for several years. Essentially you had the Kyoto P calling on developed countries take action on targets, but few if any obligations for developing countries. What has happened since 1992, you have emerging countries like China, India, Brazil that have seen enormous growth and industrialization. Moving forward, it will be necessary for those countries to make some changes as well — not the same pace or same way, but have to do something.

On the other hand, developing countries say per capita our carbon footprint is very small, so for us to be bound by a set of legal obligations could curtail our ability to develop and that is not fair. So there is a fundamental deadlock on perspective that were brought to discussions this week, both sides with legit points. My view is if we can agree that developing countries will have some obligations (but not the same as developed) along with finances for countries most vulnerable, then we’ll be reorienting ourselves for the future. It will still take more work and confidence building before all types of countries before you’ll see another legally binding treaty signed. I am supportive of a binding treaty, but if we just waited for that then we would not make any progress. I think there might be so my cynasism that instead of taking one step forward, we’d take two steps back.

Ultimately this will be dictated by the science, which tells us we’ll have to take bolder steps in the future. [references Clean Air Act, how it was affordably implemented]

We are going to need technological breakthroughs to reach the goals we are looking for. In the meantime, we need to emphasize energy efficiency which is already in our grasp.

Q What flexibility on position did US bring?

We did a lot of ground work so our position was clear. The one principle I brought to this is that I’d only commit us to things I think we can really achieve. Our mitigation goals in 2025, etc are comperable to EUs. It would be unrealistic to think we can turn on a dime and create a clean energy economy overnight. Companies and industries are going to want to make changes, some progress but not all have beared fruit yet.

Q Appendix… going forward will that be sufficient or do you think this will continue to be a source of friction between US and China?

For the first time these countries have set significant mitigation targets, and I want to give them create. Many still living in poverty in India. For them to say they’ll reduce emissions by X percent is big and we applaud them for that. The verification we’ll get from this setup will tell us a lot of what we want to know… we’ll also be able to keep track via satellite quite well.

Legally binding is important, but that was not achievable at this conference. Kyoto was legally binding and everyone still fell short anyway.. instead of setting up a bunch of words on a page that aren’t met, we should instead take as aggressive steps as we can, strive for more binding agreements over time, and keep moving forward. That is the main goal I tried to pursue today.

As people step back, a lot will say ‘science will say you have to do xyz’ but we don’t have international enforcement. In terms of future obligations, the most important thing we can do at this point, I think, is build trust between deving and deved countries to keep people from looking back and instead everyone recognize that we all need to move forward together.

This is going to be hard, both within countries and even harder between countries. One of the things I felt strongly about this year was that hard stuff requires not paralyzes but making the best of a situation.

Thanks, we’ll see some of you on the plane.

Q (inaudible)

We’ve got our negotiators here. I don’t think I’ll be the only leader leaving before the agreement is signed. Technically there is not a ‘signature’ required, I don’t know the protocols. But this is a commitment that the United States is making.

@Dodgerblue: Masterful or not, I’ve learned to ignore the talk and wait for the walk.

And the avalanche of wingnut outrage starts down the mountain in three… two… one…

@Benedick is Danny Tanner: I was about to say that they can’t be outraged by so little, but then I remembered who we’re talking about.


That’s it! We’ve finally found the connection – the teabaggers don’t want health care because they don’t want to live long enough to see the results of their dipshit environmental “drill baby drill” deregulation. It all makes sense now.

Either that, or it’s just *way* too late at night… :)

“No doom without schadenfreude.” That should go on some ecoactivist failmy crest. Sweet Sufferin’ Gaia, trying to get 190-some nations trying to agree on anything? Hell, 190-some nations couldn’t agree on a position if RReagan’s aliens invaded earth. (For instance in the US, the neocons and teabaggers would admire the aliens’ style. “If only we had done that in Iraq…”) Any way Copenhagen was a well-intentioned PR campaign. Every nation is driven by multiple agendas. Survival is one of them, but lobbying by Exxon-Mobil is another. Exxon pays more moeny up front.

@al2o3cr: It’s never too late at night, and you’re right on the money: It’s not that they don’t want to live long enough, it’s that God will be calling them all soon anyway, and fuck the rest of us. We’re all eschatologists on this bus.

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