Unpicking Kyoto (5)

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

PART 5

CONTINUED FROM : Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

Linking Climate Change to other Environmental Problems

The Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from humankind’s activities is accumulating very rapidly in the Atmosphere, and this is why the international Climate Change negotiations and Climate Change Science focus on it so heavily.

The warming response of the Earth’s surface correlates strongly with the rise in Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere, so Global Warming can be treated almost entirely as the Earth system’s reaction to rising levels of this one gas.

Other Greenhouse Gases, such as Methane (CH4) and high level water vapour (H2O), are increasing in line with the rise in Carbon Dioxide.

Logic and experiment dictates that they are doing this in response to the rise in Carbon Dioxide, so their rise is a feedback effect in the Earth system – a reaction to rising temperatures – caused by the warming due to increasing airborne Carbon Dioxide.

However, Carbon Dioxide is not the only Greenhouse Gas that humankind is pumping into the Atmosphere in excess of natural levels – a rather famous example being that growing numbers of livestock are belching Methane that is adding to the up-tick on concentrations of Methane in the Atmosphere.

There are still high levels of various gaseous industrial pollution, some of which is in the form of Greenhouse Gases.

In addition, Global Warming is not the only environmental problem, although it is exacerbating other environmental problems.

Climate Change is an added stressor on natural habitats that are being degraded by pollution, bad land management and deforestation.

It seems obvious to take a step back to the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 and mesh together once more the environmental threads of the United Nations conventions : on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification.

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So Solid Climate Policy

Really groovy global policy on Climate Change would be more clever and more accurate than assumptions on averages that were foundational to the hep cats who wrote the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol.

Why keep up the narrative that there are “developing” nations and “developed” nations ? Some formerly “developing” nations have emissions profiles quite like some “developed” nations today.

Also, why are we taking national averages ? There is stratification of society : the urban and merchant classes in many countries have a much higher Carbon Dioxide emissions count than the poorest in society, even if the countries are wealthy on average.

The wealthy are high emitters, no matter what region of the world they come from. Continue reading So Solid Climate Policy

The Major Hitters Forum

Much as, in principle, progress could be made in having an 80% majority push through commitments on Global Warming, as part of the United Nations Climate Change negotiations process, some commentators feel highly uneasy that important voices from the international community, based around the emerging Science, could be drowned out by these “big hitters” :-

http://cleanenergyministerial.org/

“July 19-20 2010 : The first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial will bring together ministers and stakeholders from more than 20 countries to collaborate on policies and programs that accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy technologies.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/22/un-bid-international-deal-climate-change

“UN in fresh bid to salvage international deal on climate change : Campaigners welcome plans to amend the way Kyoto protocol resolutions are passed : The Guardian, Thursday 22 July 2010…If the UN’s [United Nations] suggestions are adopted, decisions will be forced through if four-fifths of the protocol vote in favour, after all efforts to reach agreement by consensus have been exhausted. The amendments would come into force after six months…”It is surprising and a big, big deal that the UN is suggesting such considerable reforms as a change in the consensus rules,” said [Mark] Lynas…In a further attempt to galvanise the climate change body into motion, the UN also suggested that countries could be forced to opt out of any amendments, as opposed to the current arrangement whereby they must explicitly agree to any decisions tabled…The amendment, which will be presented in Bonn in August, reads: “An amendment would enter into force after a certain period has elapsed following its adoption, except for those parties that have notified the depositary that they cannot accept the amendment.”…But Lynas warned that any changes to the current consensus situation would cause “fury, angst and consternation”. It could, he said, exacerbate the deep mistrust between rich and poor countries that has already bedevilled the global climate talks.”… Continue reading The Major Hitters Forum

Unpicking Kyoto (1)

Unpicking Kyoto
Jo Abbess
20 June 2010

PART 1

Introduction

The governments of the world are, by and large, well-informed about Climate Change by their trusted scientific advisers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, there is a disconnect between this knowledge and concrete policy action. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not been successful in achieving control of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Plus, annual negotiations have not reached a form of an agreement to succeed Kyoto, as evidenced by the inconclusive round of talks in December 2009 in Copenhagen. Suggestions of a way forward include a radical re-think about the formulation of the Kyoto Protocol, and the connection of Climate Change to other global concerns.

Kyoto Isn’t Working

For a period during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the world economy appeared to reach a stable point, whereby Carbon Dioxide emissions per person (per capita) levelled off. Many of the world’s major economies were switching fuels – from coal to Natural Gas. And some heavily industrialised countries were going through revolutionary change, and reducing their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions as a result of the ensuing loss of industrial output.

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Pershing Missile Strikes United Nations

The United States of America have launched their secret bearded missile at the United Nations – Jonathan Pershing – in a direct strike on the international Climate Change negotiations.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/climate-talks-un-sidelined

“America sees a diminished role for the United Nations in trying to stop global warming after the “chaotic” Copenhagen climate change summit, an Obama administration official said today. Jonathan Pershing, who helped lead talks at Copenhagen, instead sketched out a future path for negotiations dominated by the world’s largest polluters such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa, who signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit. That would represent a realignment of the way the international community has dealt with climate change over the last two decades…Pershing said… “But it is also impossible to imagine a negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192 countries involved in all the detail.”…The lack of confidence in the UN extends to the $30bn (£18.5bn) global fund, which will be mobilised over the next three years to help poor countries adapt to climate change. “The UN didn’t manage the conference that well,” Pershing said. “I am not sure that any of us are particularly confident that the UN managing the near-term financing is the right way to go.”…”

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