Substance trumps style at climate talks

March 17, 2008

bento21.JPG   It was like a scene from the future. A carpark brimming with fuel-cell and hydrogen-powered cars, while fuel-cell buses ferried delegates to lunch near the modern conference centre outside Tokyo.

   Japan was determined to display its green credentials at weekend G20 talks, one of the biggest meetings of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters since last December’s Bali gathering. Even conference staff were given chopsticks and traditional “bento” boxes that could be reused instead of the usual throw-away items.

    Inside the conference hall, though, delegates were more interested in substance than style as they discussed ways to agree on a global pact by the end of 2009 to curb growing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    And for most delegates, Japan came up very short indeed.

   Japanese ministers told the gathering, ranging from G8 nations to big developing countries China, India, Brazil and Mexico, that combining individual emissions reductions targets for industries is one way to come up with national goals to fight climate change.

   But the plan met resistance from developing nations and a number of rich nations in the group that said the idea lacked clarity and didn’t fully cater to poorer states’ individual circumstances for their industries.  It was also unclear if the targets were voluntary or mandatory.

   Developing nations say they need more money and clean energy technology from rich nations to clean up their steelmills and power stations and that developed nations should do more to curb their emissions, too. That means clear and binding emissions targets.

   The European Union said Tokyo should get serious by adopting an emissions trading scheme, something Japan’s powerful business lobby has been reluctant to adopt until recently.

   But Japan, the world’s number two economy and fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, balks at fixed emissions targets, preferring other benchmarks that have attracted criticism for being vague. This might seem strange for a nation whose ancient capital, Kyoto, is where the protocol was agreed more than a decade ago and is also struggling to meet its Kyoto reduction targets.

     Japan’s prime minister said earlier this year the government would instead back a global energy efficiency target of 3o percent by 2020 and spend billions in R&D in achieving this. Tokyo also backs a 50 percent emissions reduction target by 2050 but hasn’t fully settled on the base year.

   Europe, by comparison, says it backs a reduction of at least 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels but is struggling to enact laws to achieve this, keen to “avoid excessive costs for member states”.

       All this means the world is a long way from agreeing by the end of next year a global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first period runs to the end of 2012.

   What do you think of global climate change negotiations and their chances of success?


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yes yes

Posted by kopi | Report as abusive

I wish the global climate change negotiations can achieve an agreement, all countries should unite to fight the climate change. If not, the environmental disaster will come soon.
But I also recommend a complete method of building a dual currency system in the world, detailed on

Posted by Delvin | Report as abusive

Please review recent publications that conclusively demonstrate that carbon dioxide is not the cause of the ongoing climate warming.

Carbon dioxide has increased steadily at approximately 0.4% per year since the dawn of the industrial age. The temperature has increased and decreased sporadically during the same period. The first excuse for the cooling that occurred during the 50s through the late 70s was that sulfate particles were precluding penetration of sunlight into the atmosphere. Yet, some research indicated that particles might actually augment warming.

The excuse now given for the total lack of warming and perhaps some small cooling is that the oceans are absorbing the excess heat. The GCMs do not predict the ongoing cooling Furthermore, recent research has shown that the oceans are not warming, they might even be cooling.

IPCC refuses to address the fact that satellite data plainly demonstrate that the mid troposphere (1 to 10 km altitude) is warming more slowly than the surface, despite the predictions of the GCMs that the troposphere should warm at a rate 2 to 4 times more rapidly than the surface.

The carbon dioxide -induced warming hypothesis has failed all of the tests to which it has been subjected. We must discard the carbon dioxide hypothesis and proceed to research the actual causes of the ongoing warming. Some warming might be caused by land use changes. If you look at the data, you will see that the correlation between a combination of solar output, cosmic rays and the Pacific and Atlantic decadal oscillations correlates much better to climate temperature than does carbon dioxide.

The GCMs do not provide accurate projections of short term climate changes. They cannot provide accurate (or even inaccurate) estimates of what will happen in 100 years. They are worthless.

We as a species have a penchant for self-flagellation, but we need to stop this hysteria before we permanently damage the world economy and doom millions of humans who are living in emerging economies to horrible hardship.

Posted by snorbertzangox | Report as abusive


You are absolutely right. The America short-range GCM the CFS (Climate Forecast System) showed a very warm March for a vast area of the Central U.S. This area will end March MUCH below average. The data used to generate this model had a cut-off time as late as March 1! Numerical models, for all their 21st Century sophistication cannot accurately model the complexity of our atmosphere-ocean-solar interaction.
With such a dismal one-month forecast how can any rational person accept a 50-to-100 year forecast?

Posted by Karl | Report as abusive

You want to know what I think? I don’t think there will be any agreements. We are careening toward the unimaginable, not at breakneck speed, but slowly, at a snail’s pace, drip by drip, but we are headed for major catastrophe by year 2500. And I will you show what it will look like with pictures here:

But the media doesn’t want to go down this road right now.
I understand.

Posted by dan bloom | Report as abusive