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Dec. 19th, 2007 @ 12:38 am On Bali
When I write this, I'm trying to be frank. Mainly this is because so little of what you may have read over the last days would have been: the journalists need to play it out as if there could possibly be another outcome, the diplomats need to present it as if progress has been made, and those of us in the NGO circles need to keep hope alive. However, the result was cemented before COP13 began.

The "roadmap" is garbage. To understand this you need to understand only one point: the US at this present time will never be a part of any agreement that sets binding targets. In other words, an agreement that actually means anyone has to do anything.

The EU and other nations present the situation as "dragging them to the negotiating table", as if this is somehow an achievement. The only thing worse than being at the negotiating table for the US is not being at it. If it wasn't part of the process then the process might actually form an agreement; the US will do anything to stop that happening.

This was demonstrated clearly at the previous talks. The US actually did walk out. The EU nations freaked and were happy when the US accepted a minor change of wording and rejoined. The problem is that the EU conceded everything but. This was presented to the world's media as a “humiliation”, but it was a victory for the US. They were still at the table, and no real progress had been made.

So here we stand today, the US are at the table and no real progress has been made. All talk of legally binding targets has been dropped. Again.

The US is indeed the world's greatest bully, but in some ways the rest of the nations could learn from their actions. Their delegation walks in with an agenda, and will not budge, will not concede, will do anything it can to destroy the agreement. Because the EU is also ultimately governed by corporate interests too, it is far easier to concede than fight, and some nations may well be happy to use the US as a bogeyman for targets they themselves don't wish to implement.

If we, meaning the rest of the world's nations, wish to make any progress we must do exactly the same. We must propose binding targets based on current science and stick to this demand.

The result will be that the US will, after realising it cannot pull the agreement off the table any longer, walk. This is inevitable. However, the rest of the world will be able to come to a strong agreement addressing climate change. Tariffs would need to be used to offset any economic advantage nations outside the agreement may have, eventually making more sense to be inside than outside even ignoring the realities of climate change.

Then the EU and Asia will have the technologies needed to address the technological aspect of climate change, and social models of the social aspect will be in place which can be used as models for those outside the agreement.

It would be easy just to say "well, with an administration change this won't be a problem". It may be that there isn't much of one after the next election, and you cannot play on a gamble with this issue. Even presuming that a Democrat or “pro-climate” Republican like McCain were elected, it is unlikely there will be a sea change in policy. Gore may be shining his new Nobel Prize, but when he and Clinton were in office they were tearing Kyoto to shreds, which is why it's only 5-6% reductions on 1990 levels and with the great big loophole where savings can be generated from thin air known as emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism. At COP6 at the Hague in 2000, after nearly eight years of a Clinton-Gore administration, I remember the same situation and arguments, and the same statement quoted and being painfully true: "a strong agreement without the US is much better than a weak agreement without"

Therefore the world must develop mechanisms that make hostile parties adhere to the agreement and get them to comply grudgingly. If it isn't the US then it may well be another nation in the future; there are enough with potential future growth to become a problem. We do this already to enforce the unregulated free market on nations, when what we need to be doing is enforcing CO2e reductions.

It has been noted that with the infrequency that I use this blog an idea would be to open it up. I'm certainly open to the idea, I do think it would benefit from more authors who perhaps have more time to dedicate. If you can write from a specific perspective with original or at least well collected ideas, please let me know. An idea could be, for example, covering climate change movements in California. I'm trying to avoid just re-pasted articles from other sources; there are enough blogs doing that already. Please send me an email to discuss.
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climatechange:
From:robhu
Date:December 19th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
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I think these are all signs that the more radical things the movement you associate with (such as avoiding nuclear power and going totally for (what you wouldn't accept to be, but what is seen as [and I think is]) the more expensive renewable options) are not realistically achievable. Far better IMO to aim for more realistic targets rather than try to fight every single possible front in the climate change war, and spread yourself so thinly that little is achieved.

On the use of the community, it's pretty much dead as it is. Perhaps if you allowed all members of the community to make posts (subject to the posts complying with some charter you establish) you'd have a change of bring it back to life.
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From:agershenson
Date:December 19th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
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this is a pretty hard piece of observation to swallow, but thank you. I suppose I've fallen a bit into the "we'll just write off the next year and start new when the next administration gets here" comfort bubble, but I suppose it's more for my mental benefit than a description of reality.

as for the blog- that sounds good. I think in the next year this topic will be getting more traction in the media, and it would be good to have an open sounding board
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From:ig1234
Date:December 21st, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
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Yes, certainly, open it up.

On the actual business side, without a huge sustained effort, this ain't gonna happen. I'm losing more and more faith in the EU as the day goes by. Not that I had much or have reason to have it, but for example the recent watered down regulations on car emissions. These are being challenged by, amongst others, the German government, as it has substantial manufacturing interests in the business. These proposals are pathetic, yet we get an unchallenged Association of Automated Vehicle Manufacturers rep on TV saying that we mustn't 'regulate companies out of business'. Why exactly not? If they fail to comply with even the minimum standards set for very good reason, then they do not deserve to exist. Unfortunatly, both this kind of attitude is pleasing to the average joe, and thus even more pleasing to governments as they have everyone they need (business and the uninformed, status-quo loving, majority) on the side of not needing to do sod all.

We need to get people in who'll change this, or mount an unbelievable campaign in every way possible to change this, ASAP.
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From:ig1234
Date:December 24th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC)
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Exactly.

The US aids the EU in that they don't actually have to do anything. Well, I can't really say anything else as you've summed it up.

Yet somehow the chances of this escaping to the mainstream media or being given much thought it are miniscule.
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From:climatechange
Date:December 22nd, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
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With regards to the EU, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It wouldn't be unreasonable to speculate that a reason why the EU fights for ambitious targets is that they are sure the US will reject them. So, the EU can withdraw at the end without having to do much either, the US gets to play tough and win with their home audience and the EU gets to play the failed good guy with their home audience. Everyone wins. Except the people who actually have to live in this world.

Another possibility is that the diplomatic levels of the EU that deal with these negotiations are above the national squabbling and simply acting from mandate. The success of the EU over national governments on occasions shows this can happen. I don't know enough about the interlinks within the EU on a deeper level to look at this in any more depth.
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From:ig1234
Date:December 24th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
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Possibly, I should look more into the EU seeing as I'm a politics student whos interest is international politics.

Unfortunatly it depends how much agreement is needed on an issue such as this to create it is EU policy. The new entrants into the EU are likely to be less likely to agree to anything that will hinder their development, and the old like the status quo.
From:vintageboudoir
Date:September 26th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)

Why Is this about 'the World'

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You only seem to mention the US. That is not 'the world' there are a whole host of other countries who will fall victim to Global Warming before the entire United States of America will.