2012 UN Climate Change Talks

SUBHEAD: There's an Earth Summit going on in Doha, Qatar. I'm sure those events would be better served without the air-conditioning and limousines.

By Juan Wilson on 28 November 2012 for Island Breath -

Image above: Area of Kempinski and Somerset Hotels in West Bay from a beach near InterContinental Hotel at morning dusk. Doha, Qatar, January 28, 2012. From (http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2012/1007/02x.htm).

The fact that Doha, Qatar was chosen as the sight of this conference is not a good sign. Environmentalists found the choice of Qatar as host of the two-week conference ironic. The tiny Persian Gulf emirate owes its wealth to large deposits of gas and oil, and it emits more greenhouse gases per capita than any other nation.

This week the Obama Administration will reveal its hand on the extent it will fight for the reduction of CO2 that produces climate change and the consequent mass extinction of life on Earth. Obama has been re-elected and is free to commit itself to saving the planet.

Who do you trust?
As the The 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place this week in Doha, Qatar, we can only scratch our heads an wonder. Given the last 20 year history of the United States taking any responsibility and self-discipline on CO2 emmisions, the signs are not good.

Who would trust the Untied States on any commitment to fighting global warming and the resulting climate change that grips the world?
No nation.
Moreover, what developing nation would voluntarily deny itself using its natural resources to attain the level of industrial "comfort" of the Untied States?
No nation.
We can only watch and comment on the events in Doha. But I'm sure those events would be better served without the air-conditioning and limousines, given the history of Earth Summits.

1992 Rio Summit
We are twenty years downstream of the Rio Dijanero United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or Earth Summit, that adopted policies in Brazil in 1992. The story of America's participation in this Earth Summit is appalling. In conferences leading up to the Rio meeting the United States (under then President G. H. W. Bush) gutted much of what might have been accomplished. 
In the end, however, the United States refused to accept much of the PrepCom work. During PrepCom IV in New York City, for instance, 139 nations voted for mandatory stabilization of greenhouse gases at 1990 levels by the year 2000, laying the groundwork for what promised to be the showcase treaty of the Earth Summit. Only the United States delegation opposed it, but after behind-the-scenes arm twisting and deal-making, the targets and compulsory aspects of the treaty were stripped away, leaving only a weak shell to take to Rio de Janeiro. (http://www.bookrags.com/research/united-nations-earth-summit-1992-enve-02/)
1997 Kyoto Summit
Although Clinton signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, ostensibly committing the United States to a draconian program of energy reduction while leaving huge nations such as China and India exempt.

However,  lack of commitment to planetary sanity continued. In March 2001, the administration of President George W. Bush announced that it would not implement the Kyoto Protocol, claiming that ratifying the treaty would create economic setbacks in the U.S. and does not put enough pressure to limit emissions from developing nations. Shortly after Canada reneged on its participation.

2009 Copenhagen Summit
This brings us up to the presidency of Barack Obama. In 2009 we witnessed the events of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit. The conference was held in Denmark, in December. The event was a political stalemate between the developed industrial nations and those still developing.

On Friday 18 December, the final day of the conference, international media reported that the climate talks were "in disarray". Media also reported that in lieu of a summit collapse, solely a "weak political statement" was anticipated at the conclusion of the conference.

Obama was key in the drafting of the Copenhagen Accord in partnership with  China, India, Brazil and South Africa that same day. The United States judged it a "meaningful agreement". It was "taken note of", but not "adopted" in a debate of all the participating countries the next day.

2010 Cancun Summit
Things didn't improve the next year. In 2010 Mexico hosted the Earth Summit meeting in Cancun, a location that is already suffering from the effects of ocean rise due to global warming (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2010/12/cop16-as-cancun-disappears.html). As Albert bates reported concerning the failure of the conference to reach a deal on tackling global warming:
Climate change, put as simply as possible, is the impact of having 7 billion people living at the highest level of resource consumption the world has ever seen. In many ways, that is a mark of the success of the United Nations, and of the international aid and development work of many agencies and individuals over the past 50 years. And not surprisingly, many of the stakeholders one finds roaming the halls at a UN event have the expectation that “sustainable development” mandate can and should continue. Most, if not all, would even go so far as to say it must continue. 
2011 Durban Summit
Does anybody even remember that there was a United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2011 in Durban, South Africa? The conference agreed to a "legally binding" deal comprising all countries, which will be prepared by 2015, and to take effect in 2020. Scientists and environmental groups warned then that the deal was not sufficient to avoid global warming beyond 2 °C as more urgent action was needed.

2012 Doha Summit
For details on events and schedule of the Doha Summit see (http://unfccc.int/2860.php). 

Bottom Line
Given our past behavior, we are probably committed, by the second law of thermodynamics, to well past the two-degrees-celsius rise in atmospheric temperature rise by 2050 that climate scientists marked as a safety limit. Continuing on as we are, we'll be into the 4º-6ºC range... or beyond.

It will be interesting to watch the political, industrial and financial power brokers pretend they are dealing with our activities that threaten planetary extinction. Can they even keep a straight face as they gobble sushi and champagne at post conference parties?

We shall see - and act accordingly.


1 comment :

Anonymous said...


Just Awesome, yet sad that the oil companies will squash it.

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