Durban Climate Change Conference

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Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 04 Dec 2011, 21:03

Maybe more action by NGOs is needed to raise awareness so that the Durban circus er effort is a success. At least that would allow everyone to feel good about themselves and to know that everyone understands that they meant well and that even more important they cared.

THOUSANDS of anxious environmentalists, hard-eyed negotiators and bemused journalists gathered in Durban this week for the UN’s annual climate-change circus. Saving the planet, the main item on its agenda two years ago, in Copenhagen, was not uppermost in their minds. Saving the circus was: the failure in Copenhagen to forge a binding agreement to mitigate the world’s carbon emissions could yet lead to a breakdown of the whole UN process in Durban. To avoid that, negotiators have until December 9th to reach three goals. Least dauntingly, they must nail down the details of initiatives agreed on in Cancún last year, chiefly the Green Climate Fund. This aims to help poor countries curb their emissions and adapt to global warming. It is supposed to be stocked with some of the $100 billion that rich countries have promised poor ones by 2020.

Little actual cash will be proffered in Durban: progress will be limited to working out the details of the fund’s design, including the relative powers of donors and recipients, and to its possible role in wooing investment. Even this is contentious, as America wants a bigger role for the private sector. But such spats should prove surmountable. Alongside progress on another promised institution, to spread green technology to poor countries, the fund is Durban’s likeliest success.

Much trickier will be reconciling the demands of developing countries for an extension of the UN’s Kyoto protocol with the determination of most developed ones to bin it. The world’s only binding agreement to curb emissions has been a colossal failure. Since it was negotiated in 1997 global emissions have risen by over a quarter, mostly in developing countries. The treaty does not curb their emissions, which are now 58% of the total; China alone is responsible for 23%. The second-biggest polluter, America, (with 20%) is also free to emit, as it has not ratified the treaty.

Developed countries that did ratify Kyoto feel cheated. Japan and Russia have rejected a second round of emission-cutting under its aegis, after their current commitments expire at the end of 2012. Canada, which will hugely overshoot its Kyoto target, is reported to be considering quitting the treaty altogether. “Kyoto is the past,” said its environment minister, Peter Kent, before setting out for Durban.

Recent data meanwhile show how dismally the world is failing to deal with the problem. Rich and poor alike have accepted the somewhat arbitrary principle that warming should not be allowed to exceed two degrees. But the UN’s Environment Programme reckons that even if all countries honour their existing commitments, global emissions in 2020 would exceed the likeliest total consistent with that pledge by the equivalent of up to 11 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. That is more than double the amount emitted by all the world’s cars, buses and trucks in 2005.



http://www.economist.com/node/21540996
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 04 Dec 2011, 21:10

I liked this article from the Wall Street Journal. Had me in tears with laughter. Recognize any of the sentiments (another name for feelings)?

How do religions die? Regarding climate change as a religion...

As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.

This week, the conclave of global warming's cardinals are meeting in Durban, South Africa, for their 17th conference in as many years. The idea is to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire next year, and to require rich countries to pony up $100 billion a year to help poor countries cope with the alleged effects of climate change. This is said to be essential because in 2017 global warming becomes "catastrophic and irreversible," according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse. Namely, the financial apocalypse.

The U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto. The Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship $100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece.

Cap and trade is a dead letter in the U.S. Even Europe is having second thoughts about carbon-reduction targets that are decimating the continent's heavy industries and cost an estimated $67 billion a year. "Green" technologies have all proved expensive, environmentally hazardous and wildly unpopular duds.

All this has been enough to put the Durban political agenda on hold for the time being. But religions don't die, and often thrive, when put to the political sidelines. A religion, when not physically extinguished, only dies when it loses faith in itself.

That's where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the "hide the decline" emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.

But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren't going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise—if much at all. Greenland isn't turning green. Florida isn't going anywhere.

The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.'s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its "watered down" predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt.

Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn't end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017.

And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that's another way religions die.



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 15576.html

Time to donate more money to NGOs to raise awareness about the problem? Again, I ask two questions:

1. What have NGOs done to SOLVE the global warming, er climate change, er alternating weather patterns issue?

2. IF those who believe in more government think that NGOs are needed, then is government not doing its job? Should the money that is donated to NGOs through charitable tax deductions, which ultimately reduces the money that government receives in the US, be subject to taxes? and all donations made to NGOs come from taxable income? so that they are not starving the important government agencies from acting? due to lack of sufficient funds?
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby headhonchoII » 05 Dec 2011, 01:59

Most of the money should go into a global fund for a well thought out solar subsidy scheme to bring the cost down below carbon fuel.
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby finley » 05 Dec 2011, 03:46

The cost of solar is already below that of carbon fuel. It has been for about five years. In countries which receive >1000 suns insolation per year, payback is ~7-10 years assuming typical retail prices for energy (~0.15euros/kWh), with an installation lifetime of 20+ years. There are a few places where theoretical payback could be <5 years, i.e., completely free energy for 15 years or more.

The fossil-fuel and nuclear industries are kept alive partly by subsidies and by cooking the books (such as failing to account for pollution caused by mining and burning the fuels), but mainly by a marketing model which is biased towards constant-output point sources rather than variable-output distributed sources. The problem is not the plant cost, but the way energy is distributed, sold and used. That's not an easy problem to solve, especially since neither governments nor NGOs recognise it as a problem.

NGOs will not 'solve' climate change because they are in no position to do so. As others have mentioned, its a good thing that they're making a noise about it, but they often have narrowly-focused agendas and don't have the technical or business know-how to implement plausible solutions on a large enough scale. Neither, for that matter, do governments. I agree, to a certain extent, with those who suggest NGOs have a vested interest in an ongoing crisis, since any solution means they lose their raison d'etre. Unless they choose to actually start up profitable renewable-energy companies, I guess.

The countries that are complaining most about the (projected) effects of climate change are the ones most able to do something about it, and they don't even realise. Most African countries (for instance) meet the insolation requirement for cost-effective solar, and many of them have sparse populations that need distributed power supplies. Because they have little existing infrastructure, they have no legacy-technology considerations, and could implement demand management because consumers have no other expectations. They could quickly become prosperous, energy-rich, and clean. Won't happen, of course. As soon as that "compensation" hits the Swiss bank accounts, it'll be party time in Dubai and London.
"Global warming is happening and we KNOW that man is 100 percent responsible!!!"
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 06 Dec 2011, 03:07

This article is probably right up Bob´s alley. NOTE: There are FLOOD WATERS not just in Assam BUT ALSO in Durban DURING the climate change conference. Like, how, like incredible is it that this like exactly like shows the results of like the climate changing and stuff. Like this is almost like too much to bear!

Villagers shelter as floodwaters submerge their houses and fields in Assam, where nearly a million people were displaced by extraordinary flashfloods in June 2010. Photograph: Str/EPA


And check out the above photo and caption for more about Assam and how floods there are directly caused by GLOBAL WARMING.

The United Nations' annual climate summit descended on Durban, South Africa, this week, but not in time to prevent the tragic death of Qodeni Ximba. The 17 year-old was one of 10 people killed in Durban Sunday, the night before the UN conference opened. Torrential rains pummelled the seaside city of 3.5 million. Seven hundred homes were destroyed by the floods.


See its PERSONAL. Qodeni Ximba died BECAUSE of global warming! This is personal. Climate change deniers listen up because you are to blame for this person´s death!

Ximba was sleeping when the concrete wall next to her collapsed. One woman tried to save a flailing year-old baby whose parents had been crushed by their home. She failed, and the baby died, along with both parents. All this, as more than 20,000 politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, scientists and activists made their way to what may be the last chance for the Kyoto protocol.


And these 20,000 people must do something now to stop these deaths. Cuz they are like happening now and stuff.

How might the conference have prevented the deaths? A better question is, how might the massive deluge, which fell on the heels of other deadly storms this month, be linked to human-induced climate change, and what is the gathering in Durban doing about it? Durban has received twice the normal amount of rain for November. The trends suggest that extreme weather is going to get worse.


So, we are not sure that it is linked to climate change so we should investigate. The fact is that Durban has received TWICE the normal amount of rain in November. That would like mean there is an average and everything right? So sometimes Durban might receive two times less than average? and that would balance things out? How much shall we bet that the next conference when there are no rains will be an indication of human-caused global warming but this time with reverse results?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group with thousands of scientists who volunteer their time "to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change".


Ah... volunteer... so none of them receive any grants or any other funding to engage in work that involves the climate and possible human-induced ¨change.¨ None at all?

The group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.


Along with Al Gore... Funny that she fails to mention that this was a joint award. Did she forget or has Al Gore become too much of an embarrassment?

Last week, the IPCC released a summary of its findings, clearly linking changing climate to extreme weather events such as drought, flash floods, hurricanes, heat waves and rising sea levels. The World Meteorological Organisation released a summary of its latest findings, noting, to date, that 2011 is the tenth-warmest year on record, that the Arctic sea ice is at its all-time low volume this year, and that 13 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 15 years.


Yes, but the distance that the United Nations put behind its commitment to these possibilities had, as the earlier article noted, caused global warming true believers to gnash their teeth in anger. Surely this reporter would have noted that whole report. Why is she interpreting the results and final summary of the report thus? is it deliberate?


Which brings us to Durban. This is the 17th conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or, simply, COP17. One of the signal achievements of the UN process to date is the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty with enforceable provisions designed to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.


So Kyoto in her view is a success? Would anyone else like to sign up to her version of Kyoto and its accomplishments?

In 1997, when Kyoto was adopted, China was considered a poor, developing country, and, as such, had far fewer obligations under Kyoto. Now, the US and others say that China must join the wealthy, developed nations and comply with that set of rules. China refuses.


China refuses. So much clarity and direction in two simple words.

That is one of the major, but by no means the only, stumbling blocks to renewing the Kyoto protocol. (Another major problem is that the world's historically largest polluter, the United States, signed Kyoto but did not ratify it in Congress.)


If you mean by a vote of 97 to 0 yes the US refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty. This was when remember Clinton was president and sing along with me now Al Gore was vice president. Hmmmm.....

In Copenhagen in late 2009 (at COP15), President Barack Obama swept in, organised back-door, invite-only meetings and crafted a voluntary – that is, unenforceable – alternative to Kyoto, angering many. COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010 heightened the distance from the Kyoto protocol. The prevailing wisdom in Durban is that this is make-or-break time for the UN climate process.


How many want to bet on break?

Exacerbating Obama's failures is the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that largely holds human-made climate change as being either a hoax or simply nonexistent, as do eight of nine Republican presidential candidates.


And yet dear reporter when Clinton and Gore were in charge, the result was 97 to 0 so were they all Republicans in the Senate? Gee. What an accomplishment?

Oil and gas corporations spend tens of millions of dollars annually to promote junk science and climate-change deniers.


They also as I have shown directly fund a number of climate change NGOs and research and are part of important boards and conferences that have led to the view that climate change is an important issue.

Their investment has paid off, with an increasing percentage of Americans believing that climate change is not a problem.


Funny but I showed that Exxon gave $8 million to climate change skeptic groups and 6.6 million to those advocating or professing climate change to be a serious issue. Not much of an advantage financially.

Coinciding with the disappointing UN proceedings has been a growing movement for climate justice in the streets.


in the streets? Oh dear, this must be good. It sounds like action or at the very minimum an effort to raise awareness.

Protests against fossil-fuel dependence, which accelerates global warming, range from the nonviolent direct action against mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia to the arrest of more than 1,200 people at the White House opposing the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.


Arrests! Goodness. How serious!

Which is why Durban, South Africa, is such a fitting place for civil society to challenge the United Nations process.


Really? How?

The continent of Africa is projected to experience the impact of climate change more severely than many other locales, and most populations here are less well-equipped to deal with climate disasters, without proper infrastructure or a reserve of wealth to deploy. Yet these are the people who threw off the oppressive yoke of apartheid.


Ah! Climate change is the same thing as apartheid! I get it. Both are evil. Both subject humanity to slavery. Both can be overturned if the fascists in charge of a country or those in charge of oil and gas corporations are shamed into action or are overthrown. Power to the people. No pun intended on power as it could be coal-fueled. hardeee harhar.

South African novelist Alan Paton wrote of apartheid in 1948, the system's first year, anticipating a long fight to overturn it, "Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end." The same determination is growing in the streets of Durban, providing the leadership so lacking in the guarded, air-conditioned enclave of COP17.


Cry! Freedom! Fuck air conditioning! I so totally get it! More of these articles! MORE! It is certainly raising awareness! bwahahahahahahaha

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... ast-chance
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 06 Dec 2011, 03:32

And one more delicious addition from the Guardian...

If George Osborne and co forget the common good, the planet will fryAs Durban limps towards failure, it seems the west's leaders, bankers and citizens refuse to take a lead on climate change


Fry? Oh dear? and now not only the leaders and bankers but also the citizens are not to blame for refusing to take action. Looks like this little religion is turning on its would-be adherents for lack of er commitment? smirk.

I loved this photo caption just in case anyone thought that the Guardian could even try to be objective:

Peter Wilby guardian.co.uk, Friday 2 December 2011 21.00 GMT Article history
'Osborne is an urban animal who, apart from the odd week on ski slopes in Switzerland, has spent nearly all his life in London.' Photograph: Rex Features
After he'd clobbered public sector workers and poor families on tax credits, George Osborne said in his autumn statement that he was "worried about the combined impact of … green policies … on some of our heavy, energy-intensive industries". He continued: "We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers." If we carried on "with endless social and environmental goals … businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer".


As the Kyoto protocol on global warming runs out and the Durban conference to agree a replacement limps towards failure, that was the message from the chancellor of what is supposed to be the greenest government ever. Two days later, Sir David Attenborough said in a newspaper interview that city dwellers are out of touch with what is happening in the natural world and therefore don't take responsibility for the future of the planet. Osborne is an urban animal who, apart from the odd week on yachts in the Mediterranean or ski slopes in Switzerland, has spent nearly all his life in London. So we can't expect him to take responsibility for global warming. He has reduced subsidies for solar panels, found £250m in tax relief for the most polluting industries, and scrapped plans to increase fuel duty by 3p next month.


So this writer believes that more Solyndras are needed? wise?

Chris Huhne, the climate and energy secretary, ploughs bravely on with his carbon plans and emission reduction targets. But though Huhne denies any cabinet differences, the man who controls the purse strings – and whose speeches are far more closely studied than Huhne's – sings a different tune. Osborne's message is that we may as well carry on belching carbon into the atmosphere because, if we don't, someone else will – an argument that could equally be used to justify selling your daughter into prostitution.


Oooohhhh. Selling your daughter to prostitution? Hmmm so if I do not care about global warming or refuse to take action, I might as well be selling my daughter into prostitution. That is er excuse the language fucked!

If the British chancellor won't take responsibility, most other political leaders in developed countries won't either. The implicit message is that the job of tackling global warming can be placed on hold while they sort out the economic crisis. That, on more optimistic estimates, will take until about 2017. The planet will then be perilously close, scientists predict, to the tipping point for irreversible climate damage.


You lost the election pal. Why should a Conservative prime minister be responsible for implementing a Labour prime minister´s policies?

Tipping point? Is it just me or is the deadline constantly being pushed back. Now, it is 2017. wasn't it like 1997 before and then 2007 and now 2017? Or am I hallucinating? probably from the record heat?

Some say we need a miracle to save the eurozone and the banks. We need a far bigger one to save the planet. According to the World Bank's 2010 world development report, if all coal-fired plants scheduled to be built in the next 25 years come into operation, their lifetime CO2 emissions will equal those of all coal burning since the industrial revolution.


Do non-religions believe in and need miracles as well? or are we miraculously close to calling global warming a religion here?

Business leaders, particularly in financial services, are now the true rulers of the world. Can they take responsibility? It seems not.


so it is back to the business leaders in their cabals controlling the world? Gosh. What a difference an election makes. It sorta is kinda like how after Obama won we do not here about Guantanamo anymore...

The world's banks may be running out of cash but a report just published by environmental groups shows that in 2010 they invested nearly twice as much in coal-fired electricity and coal mining as they did in 2005.


So the bankers don´t care and refuse to act because they are evil and now this reporter is mad and complaining that banks are if not evil interested in making a profit and that does not mean investing in solar energy or other green-approved programs? Geee....

Our own Barclays and RBS (the latter 84% owned by Osborne on our behalf) are among the top 10 in the world for putting money into coal. They account for more than 10% of total investment in coal-fired plants since 2005.


Looks like someone has figured out that the world will still need energy in the absence of solar salvation.

Can the rest of us save the planet, following the example of Vivienne Westwood, who said this week she would donate £1m to Cool Earth, an anti-logging group, because "governments are so slow, we can't wait for them any more"?


So, when Vivienne Westwood has saved the planet with her $1 million donation to Cool Earth (love the name) we can all follow her lead and we have seen how donations to climate change NGOs have changed the world. No? We have not? But ... they have raised awareness right? and that has to mean something right?

Or can we, as consumers, put pressure on the corporate sector to act? Alas, in all their many grievances against the banks, few people will rate collusion in environmental damage very highly. Since 1964 Gallup has asked Americans if the environment should take priority even at the risk of curbing economic growth – or, conversely, if they would prioritise growth even if the environment suffers – and every year until 2008 found Americans putting the planet first. Then the priorities reversed and this year, the economy wins, 54% to 36%.


So consumers don´t care either... What is an enlightened reporter to do?

As for Britons, their priorities can be judged from Downing Street's e-petitions website, where 125,000 have signed a demand for cheaper petrol and diesel while a petition last year "to take climate change seriously and invest in all forms of renewable energy" attracted just 11 signatures.


OH NO! only 11 signatures. How unholy are these people? caring about their personal lives at the expense of the planet!

Not all those who want fuel duty cut will be global warming sceptics and some may even think of themselves as enthusiastic environmentalists, which usually means sorting household waste into the correct recycling bins. Even in good times, when the majority profess support for action to prevent climate change, specific proposals to do anything significant, such as raising taxes on petrol and airline travel or even banning incandescent light bulbs, invariably meet determined public opposition.


They should be condemneed for shirking their duties.

The battle against climate change offers so many small guilt-reducing actions – switching off the TV standby, using a little less water to boil the veg, taking the bus to the shops – that almost anyone can say they're already doing their bit.


Yeah. That need to feel good even when it does not really lead to any practicable results can certainly irk one, right? God don´t I know it!

Right now, even the sort of people who used to occupy power stations prefer to march against bankers or student debt.


You cannot imagine the smirk on my face and the accompanying GUFFAW that went with it. JESUS This is a treasure.

No, if we want the planet to be saved, we must rely on the politicians. But persuading Europeans and Americans that they should tolerate nearly a decade of austerity is itself a daunting challenge for leaders who assured voters for 30 years that neoliberalism could deliver uninterrupted growth.


Ah... so let´s get our kicks in on neoliberalism but... the failure of the housing market in the US was caused by government not market intervention or how else would you term Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae subsidized mortgages. Neoliberalism? hmmm bit of a stretch of the definition me thinks...

Global warming presents an even greater challenge. People have to be persuaded to make sacrifices for the common good.


Yes, we need more sacrifices... MORE SACRIFICES.

Neoliberalism, however, has left western politicians holding the ring between competing demands for individual gratification. They run what the US political theorist Philip Bobbitt calls "market states", which have the sole duty of maximising opportunities for their individual citizens, and accept no obligation to social justice or collective welfare.


Last time I checked, no one had voted in either the communist or socialist parties so why are the pro-market politicians responsible for implementing communist and socialist policies? Because they are the right thing to do? So, are we to say democracy should be overthrown because the people are not voting the right way?

The common good has become, to western politicians of both left and right, a completely alien concept.


Common good? Oh I see you get to define that do you and then we all have to follow along even though we do not agree or we are not concerned about the common good?

They have no language in which to convey to their electorates the importance and urgency of what needs to be done. They will no doubt emerge from Durban with fine words and some semblance of agreement or, if nothing else, agreement on when they should make an agreement. But for now, the planet will just have to carry on burning.


Where is the planet burning? And where is the urgency? I read the introduction and summary of the latest UN report and compared to previous versions, there has been a lot of backtracking and qualifications regarding what we ¨know¨about global warming. IF the United Nations no longer believes that the threat is as serious as it did 5, 10 and 20 years ago, how is that a sign that more urgent action is needed? The UN has backtracked not accelerated the need for urgent action. Why is this reporter then so concerned?
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 10 Dec 2011, 02:31

Is THIS what things have come to... at the United Nations sponsored climate change conference in Durban? Color me OH so SURPRISED!

The Saudi Arabians threatened to block the passage of a parcel of agreements at the ongoing UN climate change summit in Durban. They were demanding an addition to it—a commitment to look into ways to compensate oil producers for the losses they would suffer if the world stopped burning fossil fuels. If this did not happen, the oil sheikhs would withhold their support from the entire package, of finance, forestry, technology and other climate-friendly measures.


Just what we needed... more victims of climate change... smirk...

Most of the scores of diplomats present were appalled. Not least those from small island nations, like Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are likely to disappear beneath the rising seas long before the Saudis have drained their last well


Of course, with the lack of capacity in these two nations, one STRUGGLES to understand how handing them millions of dollars to fight and adapt to climate change will be beneficial.

But it mattered naught. Agreements can only be reached at the UN climate summit—properly known as the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (or COP 17)—through a consensus of the 200-odd countries represented at it. After a fraught few hours of bickering, the Saudis got their wretched commitment.


Oh dear. Wretched? Would that be editorializing on the part of the Economist?

“It’s no coincidence that countries like that have the best-paid, most highly-skilled and biggest teams of negotiators,” said the UN man glumly. “So when everyone else is falling over with exhaustion, they can introduce fresh people and hammer away until they get what they want.”


That sounds incredibly unfair, incredibly!

Next year’s summit, COP 18, will be held in Qatar. This, he feared, would be a fine setting for oil producers, led by the Saudis, to cause further disruption to the UN process, or perhaps attempt a heist on the climate-related aid it has arranged for the world’s poorest countries. Did he think the Saudis might be buying up national votes in support of their demand, as Japan does for its whalers and all countries do for their Olympic bids? The UN man couldn’t rule it out.


Buying votes at the UN? Wonder where certain posters are in this all-important discussion. After all, is it not the world body that will lead to the typical German hope of paradise on earth? Looks as if this Fourth Reich, too, will reach an unfortunate demise.

UN climate summits, as this small drama might suggest, are not merely about cooling the planet. If they were, they would probably have had more success.


Success? Like the Kyoto Treaty?

Since the UN’s framework convention was agreed in 1992 the world’s emissions have soared.


OH? So Kyoto was NOT a success? Does this mean that the US, in hindsight, is to be granted recognition for voting down the same as not being feasible? Sorta kinda like Delors is recognizing Britain´s skepticism regarding the Euro?

In fact the UN process might be better characterised, as per the Saudis’ obstructive example, as the sum of many countries’ efforts not to cool the planet. This is because cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is liable to be expensive, and no country is keen to pay the cost. Making matters worse, as is all too evident in Durban, the biggest polluters, America, China and India, are especially unwilling.


Unwilling because they don´t want to solve the problem or because they recognize that the approach is failed? That does make a difference.

It is easy to be dismayed by this. Rarely, or never, has such an epic problem as global warming been so dismally handled.


Given past history and lack of progress, I would say ¨rarely or never¨ here is certainly a mouthful.

And as the two-week summit has dragged on, in a walled city of conference centres, temporary offices and jerry-rigged parking lots in the centre of Durban, your correspondent has started to feel almost as gloomy as the man from the UN. Yet this does not seem to be the average response to the summit.


So when did the Economist start sending the touch feely to conferences? I thought that they were there to report not feel gloomy. Facts are facts. Emotions are emotions. They do not mix well.

Among the multitude of academics, journalists, entrepreneurs and environmental activists drawn to the summit to give scientific lectures, hawk technologies or paint themselves green and jump up and down, spirits appear to be high. Many even look distinctly happy to be here, among so many old friends and allies, spending the days at green lectures and protests, and the nights in a whirl of green-themed parties. If nothing else, climate summits like this one have become a really tremendous green scene.


Party on Garth. For those of us who never expected anything from these conferences, the gloom and doom is mere confirmation that we were right all along.

The hub of the Durban summit is a large warehouse next to the main conference centre, where scores of NGOs have set up stalls to advertise themselves. Their representatives, many wearing “I love KP” t-shirts, to signal their support for the Kyoto protocol, a failed UN agreement to cut emissions, also host small lectures and panel discussions in its corridors. Many of these draw no audience at all. Undaunted, the greens video and post them on their websites.


Set up stalls to advertise themselves... why that is almost like a business! Where do they get the money to advertise themselves and participate in these conferences? I thought that the point of giving money to such NGOs was to further action to address climate change not to engage in advertising and host panel discussions that attract no one.

At the warehouse entrance is a sort of speakers' corner, set aside for small protests by beaded Amazonians, street artists and the like. Some are harder to understand than others.


Harder to understand than others? Jesus. Given the incomprehensibility of this movement, one would struggle to imagine the inability to understand the worst. What that can be like, one can only imagine!

Holding a large replica cheque, three Chinese greens stood chanting in such heavily accented English that it was impossible to make out what they were shouting; it was something like “Sign here Lee Kwan Yu.” The NGO videographers film and post these protests too.


Dear me.

A more predictable protest takes place inside the warehouse, a daily “Fossil of the Day” awards ceremony, conducted by a bunch of German greens.


Germans being predictable? Really?

(America, Canada, Japan, Russia, China and New Zealand have all won prizes—America winning a special Fossil of the 21st Century award after its head negotiator described the effort to limit warming to two degrees as a mere aspiration.)


USA! USA! USA!

This green action has a lot going for it. Over the past decades or so, environmentalism has come in from the margins. Even among the NGOs, there are many more suits than sandals and feathers on display at the COP.


Only a surprise to those who do not understand how well paid many of these NGO types are and how much of a business they have become. I will crow success on my ability to see the motive under the green lining and engage in a victory lap.

And the average greens, if this congregation is any guide, are serious advocates of their cause, articulate and well-informed.


But part of a congregation... How religious have they become to be so described?

But it is also hard to know who is being persuaded by their arguments: I’d wager that almost everyone browsing the NGO stalls and protests already has been persuaded. This makes the green scene heroic, both unworldly and faintly annoying.


faintly is NOT the adverb that I would use.

Durban is not, I suspect, merely a forum for new ideas, though there are certainly some good ones around. It is also a way for put-upon greens to harden their convictions, among their own kind, before heading back out to that unfriendly and ungreen world outside.


Be strong. Hold your head up. Survive. Be a survivor! You go girl!
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 10 Dec 2011, 05:51

Funny. The Occupy Wall Street thread is getting all the attention. Funny. People used to care about global warming and climate change. I never hoped that this would be the kind of change that Obama would bring but there you are! God works in mysterious ways. I wonder if my other hopes and dreams will be realized to!
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby fred smith » 12 Dec 2011, 23:00

So the UN Climate Change conference in Durban ended with the result that all agree to negotiate a binding treaty in 2020 when the Kyoto Treaty, which most nations have not signed onto or those that do are not meeting their treaty commitments, expires, except of course, we are still not sure (are we?) that India will agree to a legally binding treaty and waht legally binding will mean... so how is one to view this conference? as a successful accomplishment of what exactly? anyone?
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Re: Durban Climate Change Conference

Postby BigJohn » 13 Dec 2011, 00:44

Moderator's note: please avoid overwhelming "spamming" of a thread with long, multiple posts. It is to be hoped that the threads are reasonably accessible for many posters, and not just to be used by a few as a place to vent their opinions, without doing so in a manner that allows others to enter the debate on their own terms.
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