Holy Mother Market !

Video Credit : Democracy Now

Of all the macroeconomic proposals put forward over the last two decades for consideration by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the most ridiculous has to be Carbon Trading.

To imagine that a market can be created for something that the industrialised country economies are highly dependent on is an hallucination.

Carbon Dioxide emissions are in lock-step with economic growth, the creation of liquidity, if not wealth. To try to price Carbon Dioxide emissions would be to attempt to give a negative value to a positive commodity. It just won’t work. Nobody will want to buy it. And if they’re forced to buy it, they won’t want to pay much for it. And nobody can think of a way to force the developed countries to pay for their Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Even before the “serious” negotiating week of Cancun begins, the Kyoto Protocol has been pronounced dead on arrival :-

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/6/climate_talks_in_jeopardy_as_industrialized

Nobody ever said the “KP” was perfect – it only committed countries to a very small level of emissions cuts. Some commitment ! Few of the countries in the KP have taken their responsibilities to cut emissions seriously. And if they have, they’ve just outsourced them to China.

But the Son-of-Kyoto Post-Kyoto Protocol Protocol could have been something, you know, if the industrialised countries admitted they needed to back down significantly from rising and large emissions profiles – if developed nations had not tried to lean on the “flexible mechanisms” that effectively legalised offsetting their emissions with emissions reductions in other peoples’ countries.

But, no.

It appears from Wikileaks that the United States of America have been scuppering the United Nations’s best efforts :-

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/6/bolivian_un_ambassador_pablo_solon_reacts

“Secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed new details about how the United States manipulated last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen. The cables show how the United States sought dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming, how financial and other aid was used by countries to gain political backing, and how the United States mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the “Copenhagen Accord.””

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/us-basics-copenhagen-accord-tactics

It wasn’t China’s fault, (or only China’s fault) as Mark Lynas and many other commentators have asserted :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas

If, as reports state, the United States are continuing to use any leverage they can to push countries to accept the doomed Copenhagen Accord, there can be no progress on Climate Change.

We may have just found the real Climategate.

You cannot buy or sell the atmosphere.

There is only one solution – that is to displace High Carbon Energy with Low Carbon Energy and that means goodbye to Tar Sands, Shale Oil, Tight Gas, deepwater Petroleum, dirty Petroleum, Coal, Coal-to-Liquids, anything that you can dig out of the ground and burn.

We have to stop mining for energy.

And that has serious implications for a number of international energy corporations and state energy enterprises.

Unless this basic issue is addressed, we are all heading for hell and high water.

The Climate Change talks have been window dressing for unworkable hypothetical macroeconomic policies, and continue to reduce chair people to tears :-

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.

Continue reading Unpicking Kyoto (5)

WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

File under : “That’s never going to ever happen if the United States of America have anything at all to do with it”.

The illustrious German Advisory Council on Global Change, the WBGU, or “Wissenschaftliche Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveraenderungen” in longhand, have done some excellent work on proposals for a global Carbon framework.

As part of their 2009 paper entitled in English “Solving the climate dilemma: The budget approach” they came to some useful conclusions, but also some startlingly unworkable recommendations :-

http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.pdf
http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.html

Continue reading WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

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

Colin Challen to Chris Huhne

Ex-Members of Parliament and ex-Ministers of Government usually have a lot to say about Climate Change and Energy. Colin Challen, formerly MP for Morley and Rotherwell, is a prime case in point.

What the world needs now is a new world order – a global framework for carbon emissions control – and that framework is Contraction and Convergence. Colin Challen has written a powerful statement to Chris Huhne MP, the new Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and would like us all to co-sign it :-

http://www.gci.org.uk/politics.html

Naturally, I have already signed this letter, because I know that Contraction and Convergence has to be at the heart of future international negotiations on Climate Change :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/04/30/the-price-of-carbon/

I hope you can all co-sign the letter with me.

Climate Change : Robust Findings

Image Credit : SkepticalScience.com

It should come as no surprise that the United Nations (under UNFCCC) commissioned a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), way back in 2007.

The revelation is that very few people appear to have read any of it.

So I thought I would present just a little about the “robust findings” of Working Group 1 (WG1 or WGI) of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). I think the IPCC’s science needs a wider public readership, and so I hope that this post in some way enables that.

The unpacking of the Working Group 1 report “Climate Change 2007 : The Physical Science Basis” could begin by looking at the Technical Summary, or the overall AR4 Technical Summary, or the Synthesis Report, or their respective Summaries for Policymakers.

Continue reading Climate Change : Robust Findings

We’re Not Done Yet

Copenhagen was a complete and utter shambles. No doubt about it. Various commentators and participants have been fishing around since it dribbled away to its weak conclusion, looking for someone or some organisation to blame.

The British blamed the Chinese, the Africans blamed the North Americans, the socialists blamed the elitist imperialists, and the NGOs blamed the international companies who had a corporate interest in swaying the whole deal their way, protecting business interests.

One story, much repeated by Climate Change Denier sources, blames the United Nations in effect, or at least the whole of Denmark, for allowing 30,000 Non-Governmental-Organisation (NGO) people to be registered, when the Copenhagen Bella Conference Center could only accommodate 15,000 people.

Continue reading We’re Not Done Yet

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.”…”

Continue reading Pershing Missile Strikes United Nations

George Monbiot : Saying Goodbye

George Monbiot starts to bid a fond, outraged farewell to various parts of the Biosphere and Humanity in his despairing and critical review of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/18/copenhagen-negotiators-bicker-filibuster-biosphere

“Copenhagen negotiators bicker and filibuster while the biosphere burns : George Monbiot despairs at the chaotic, disastrous denouement of a chaotic and disastrous climate summit : Friday 18 December 2009 : …We have now lost 17 precious years, possibly the only years in which climate breakdown could have been prevented. This has not happened by accident: it is the result of a systematic campaign of sabotage by certain states, driven and promoted by the energy industries. This idiocy has been aided and abetted by the nations characterised, until now, as the good guys: those that have made firm commitments, only to invalidate them with loopholes, false accounting and outsourcing. In all cases immediate self-interest has trumped the long-term welfare of humankind. Corporate profits and political expediency have proved more urgent considerations than either the natural world or human civilisation. Our political systems are incapable of discharging the main function of government: to protect us from each other. Goodbye Africa, goodbye south Asia; goodbye glaciers and sea ice, coral reefs and rainforest. It was nice knowing you. Not that we really cared. The governments which moved so swiftly to save the banks have bickered and filibustered while the biosphere burns.”

Continue reading George Monbiot : Saying Goodbye

Copenhagen : “Meaningful Agreement”

As the world leaders start to slip away back to the airport, some commentators are hailing a “meaningful agreement” has been reached at the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change talks. Others say that no deal of any significant kind has been struck.

Reaction from the Developing countries is general dismay. The Non-Governmental Organisations, “civil society”, feel they have been blocked from taking part. It’s been a complete shambles.

The time has come to start spelling out the future in graphic, technical detail – not just about the damages that Climate Change will bring – but about the only real solutions.

Real solutions do not include Carbon Trading, nor Carbon Taxation. They don’t include technofixes and technofudges like Carbon Capture and Storage and New Nuclear Power. They certainly don’t include partial commitment on Avoided Deforestation.

We have to say it and say it again : whether the leaders and corporations agree or not, the future is Carbon Emissions Reductions. The Consumer Economy is being eroded by the minute. Peak Oil, Coal, Natural Gas and Uranium are just around the corner.

Continue reading Copenhagen : “Meaningful Agreement”

Seven Weeks to Copenhagen

Although December 2009 is more than six months away, in reality the World has seven weeks of further negotiations before the main details of a Global Climate Treaty must be agreed for delivery at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP) in December 2009 in Copenhagen Denmark.
Continue reading Seven Weeks to Copenhagen