Cancún discord

After the Copenhagen fiasco no one held out much hope for a significant agreement at Cancún. Last week people were saying that there was no chance of a legally binding deal to cut emissions, but that progress could be made on finance (working out how to transfer funds from the rich nations to the poor to help them deal with and prevent climate change) and on REDD (the forest protection mechanism which is supposed to pay people not to cut down their forests).

OK, REDD seems to be mired in corruption, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.

Then the conference opened.

The first thing that happened was that the US envoy said the US would not agree to anything without an agreement on limiting emissions by developing countries, and some means of verifying those emissions. This may sound reasonable, but it goes against the basis of the Kyoto treaty (and most of the developing world will not accept it). So it essentially means that the US will block any progress on attainable issues (like finance or REDD).

I guess that’s realistic. And predictable. The Republicans aren’t going to agree to anything, so we insure there will be no agreement. It is rather sad though.

Sad that the world is doomed because we’re a nation of idiots.

Then the EU envoy said that climate mitigation/prevention funding should be in the form of loans rather than aid. The basis of the Kyoto treaty was that the developed world had caused climate change and was morally responsible for cleaning it up — hence aid. Loans are an extremely bad idea as many of those in need are already deeply in debt. Yet the EU envoy calls this a “win-win” situation.

Then Japan says bluntly that it will not extend Kyoto. Which is a basic demand of the rest of the world.

It looks as though the developed world is gaining up on the rest. We all seem to be refusing to accept our moral responsibility as the ones who caused the problem.

This has all happened in the first 2 days of a two week summit. I didn’t have high hopes, but I didn’t expect it to be dead in the water after two days.

This is important. Our lives, or our children’s lives depend on this. It isn’t something we can compromise on. We can’t say “we didn’t know what we were doing when we started industrializing.” It’s true, we didn’t. But so what? The universe doesn’t care about our intentions. We can’t just disbelieve it. The problem will only get worse.

In the past, climate change has exceeded our worst case estimates. The current worst case estimate from the Royal Society is a 4°C rise by 2060. 50 years from now. Many of us would still be alive if climate change hadn’t caused wars that killed us off.

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