Environment Forum

from Commodity Corner:

Getting down to business at U.N. climate talks a hard task

A U.N. concession to delegates at this week's climate talks in Bonn to take off jackets and ties due to recent high temperatures may be going to some participants' heads.

Breaking the back of negotiations for a new climate pact after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 is proving hard work even though the talks' chair hopes to have a new negotiating text on the table by the end of the week.

Developing nations are still blaming the rich for global warming and the issue of who will contribute most to climate financing is still a matter for debate.

A year-end meeting in Cancun looms closer and the pressure is on to get the job done.
Yet, the acronyms being bandied around -- LULUCF, CDM, AAU, AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, REDD, to name a few -- are enough to make your head swim.

Even a Chinese negotiator on Tuesday admitted he did not understand a complicated forestry and land use presentation the previous day by the European Union.

Obama honeymoon short-lived at U.N. climate talks

After one of the briefest honeymoons in history, developing nations at U.N. climate change talks in Poland are saying that President-elect Barack Obama’s goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions don’t go far enough.

Delegates from China and India told Reuters at the Dec. 1-12 talks that they welcomed Obama’s plan to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 compared to less ambitious goals set by President George W. Bush. (Emissions are now about 14 percent above 1990 ).

But they say Obama isn’t going far enough. See story here.

Developing nations want all developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by far more. That, they say, is the condition for the poor to start slowing their own rising emissions from factories, power plants and cars.

The world’s most costly cows?

A Cow stands in her pen at the ‘Internationale Gruene Woche/International Green Week (IGW)’ fair in Berlin January 17, 2008. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

Farm subsidies in many rich countries are high but the Norwegian $16-a-day cows have to be among the most astronomical examples.

The problem is that Norway wants farmers in the Arctic county of Finnmark to produce milk — but since it’s so cold for much of the year the herds have to live in heated barns and food has to be trucked in.

That’s clearly bad economics and far worse for the environment than cows grazing outside on grass.