tagged w/ carbon emission targets
World climate negotiators will gather in Bonn next month to edit an "indigestible" set of proposals into a manageable document for international consideration, the head of a key U.N. panel said on Tuesday.
The August meeting is the first step in a timeline aimed at reaching a new worldwide agreement to combat climate change in Copenhagen in December, said Michael Zammit Cutajar, chairman of a working group of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate change.
Not previously planned or publicized, the Bonn meeting precedes already scheduled gatherings in Bangkok and Barcelona, in addition to forums in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York City to discussing the problem of climate change.
My my, there sure is a lot of "discussion" going on. And how much carbon will be expended traveling to all of these cities and forums while doing nothing?World climate negotiators will gather in Bonn next month to edit an... more
Agreeing to a two degree limit without a bold emissions target road map to get there is just like doing nothing at all but spewing out words to placate.
The chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Monday that the Group of Eight nations had "clearly ignored" taking any concrete action to accomplish its new goal of limiting climate change.
Rajendra Pachauri, whose scientific panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore in 2007, praised the G-8 summit in Italy this month for taking "a big step forward" by agreeing to limit the planet's average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above levels recorded 150 years ago.
He faulted the world's wealthiest countries, however, because he said they "clearly ignored what the IPCC came up with" to reach that goal.
"It's interesting that the G-8 leaders agreed on this aspirational goal of (limiting) a temperature increase of (no more than) 2 degrees Celsius, which certainly is a big step forward in my view," he told reporters at U.N. headquarters. "But what I find as a dichotomy in this position is the fact that they clearly ignored what the IPCC came up with."
The question of which nations will agree to limit their heat-trapping gases mainly from fossil fuels is taking on increasing urgency at the United Nations, which is sponsoring the key round of talks in December to achieve a climate deal in Copenhagen, Denmark. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made it his No. 1 priority to persuade nations to agree to a successor treaty to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gases, which expires at the end of 2012.
Pachauri said the G-8 leaders also should have accepted the panel's conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2015 and then rich countries must reduce emissions from 2005 levels by between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020. Doing that, climate scientists say, may help the world avoid the worst effects of warming, which they say will lead to widespread drought, floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms.
"Now if the G-8 leaders agreed on this 2 degree increase as being the limit that could be accepted, then I think they should have also accepted the attendant requirement of global emissions peaking by 2015," he said. "And if that were to be the case, then they should most categorically have said that ... by 2020 there would have to be deep cuts in emissions."
He said it also would have been helpful "if they had also spelled out what these deep cuts would be, but I'm afraid they haven't talked either about the deep cuts."Agreeing to a two degree limit without a bold emissions target road map to get there... more
"Barely four months ago, President Obama laid out a framework to fight global warming that was simple, fair, and built to last. All polluters would pay for greenhouse gas emissions, the President said. No exceptions. The money gathered from polluters would then be rebated to middle- and lower-income Americans while leaving $15 billion per year for investments in clean energy and green jobs.
"Unfortunately, thanks to ferocious lobbying from the coal, oil, and agricultural interests, Congress will vote today on a bill that does not come close to matching the original Obama framework. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is complicated (1,200 pages), unfair (gives most permits to polluters for free), and is destined to be overhauled in coming years (by not keeping pace with the physics of runaway global warming).
"The Chesapeake Climate Action Network believes much more is needed than what is presently included in the Waxman-Markey bill. At a minimum, three floor amendments are needed. 1) Restore the U.S. EPA's power to regulate coal plants; 2) Strengthen the clean energy production targets; and 3) Improve the overall greenhouse gas reduction target to better match what scientists say is needed.
"But even these changes do not fully address the bill's two biggest problems: insufficient consumer protection and the unbridled use of so-called carbon "offsets." Allowing polluters to pay for claims of carbon reductions elsewhere - from farmers, forest managers, etc., worldwide - creates enormous problems of scale and verification. As the U.S. Senate prepares to take up this bill, the offsets must be cut far below the current 2 billion tons per year, and the U.S. EPA -- not the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- should be in charge of regulating the process. Otherwise the House version of the bill could open the door for disastrous new coal plants that simply pay farmers to plant genetically-engineered crops on newly disturbed land for carbon reductions that simply never happen.
"As this bill moves forward, the Senate must also dramatically improve consumer protection. President Obama in February proposed rebating 85 percent of the pollution permit funds directly to taxpayers. The Waxman-Markey bill directly rebates only 15 percent of the money. Another 30 percent is given to electric utilities who promise to use the money to "protect" consumers. This recipe will invariably lead to disagreements that land in court where over-matched consumer advocacy groups will face polluters with ample legal funds and lawyers.
"We need to return to "simple, fair, and built to last." All polluters pay. Consumers are protected through direct rebates. And real investments are made in green energy.
"This will only happen if President Obama stands up for his original principles. He can no longer lead from the rear, simply calling on Congress to figure out a plan and send him a climate bill. The President must lead from the front, demanding the Senate do better. Without vast improvements in the Senate, Obama and the United States will fail to meet our moral responsibility to join the international community in negotiating a new global climate treaty later this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. Weak legislation from Congress will encourage other nations to commit to equally weak targets, thus derailing a clean-energy revolution and dooming the planet to climate chaos.
"Recent polling shows that an overwhelming 75 percent of American voters support U.S. action to curb greenhouse gas pollution. The Waxman-Markey bill, rendered complex and unfair by the fossil fuel and agriculture lobby, does not reflect the exceptional good will and determination of the American people to do better. The planet needs more from Congress. The American people deserve more.""Barely four months ago, President Obama laid out a framework to fight global... more
"Waxman-Markey... gives away 85% of the pollution credits in the first years of the program and provides many avenues potentially to evade compliance. While in theory the bill relies on the market to find the most efficient alternatives to greenhouse-gas emitting energy sources, in practice its subsidies, regulations and exemptions could skew the outcome in costly ways... [Passed in the House] is just a first step. With... fierce battles to come in the Senate, the debate over how to design this fundamental shift in the American economy remains wide open. It's not too late to hope for a cleaner cap-and-trade bill -- such proposals are circulating on Capitol Hill -- or a properly designed carbon tax that would send the right market signal to spur green-energy innovation while also leading to vital changes in behavior. We're not ignorant of political realities, and we don't believe the perfect should become the enemy of the good. Congress should deliver a bill to Mr. Obama this year. But given that congressional action could set a template for years or decades, we think it's too soon to settle for something that falls so far short of ideal.""Waxman-Markey... gives away 85% of the pollution credits in the first years of... more
Congress is poised to squander a historic opportunity to move closer to a clean energy future. The energy and climate bill moving through the U.S. House is based on a proposal from a group that includes Shell Oil, the coal-burning utility Duke Energy, and other corporate polluters. This should be a red flag for progressives. This bill fails to get the job done. Congress must do better.
Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following statement:
"Corporate polluters including Shell and Duke Energy helped write this bill, and the result is that we're left with legislation that fails to come anywhere close to solving the climate crisis. Worse, the bill eliminates preexisting EPA authority to address global warming-that means it's actually a step backward.
"Last November, the American people voted for change. Unfortunately, while the party in power may have changed, the process through which this bill was negotiated makes it clear that the overwhelming influence of corporate special interests has not. This exercise in politics as usual is a wholly unacceptable response to one of the greatest challenges of our time, and it endangers the welfare of current and future generations. Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats simply must do better. We are calling on them to vote against this bill unless it is substantially strengthened. If the 'political reality' at present cannot accommodate stronger legislation, their first task must be to expand what is politically possible-not to pass a counterproductive bill. This is the message carried by the ad campaign we are launching today."
The initial ads that are running in the campaign can be viewed at: http://www.foe.org/new-ads-opposition-house-climate-bill.
Friends of the Earth is urging citizens to send messages about the bill to Congress, and has set up a web page where they can take action at
http://action.foe.org/t/8815/p/dia/action/public/?action_...Congress is poised to squander a historic opportunity to move closer to a clean energy... more