Friday, December 18, 2009

Times of India: Secret UN Report Finds Rich Nations Cheating On Climate

This just adds fuel to the fire.
The document, an authoritative assessment by the UN itself, still kept a secret from the 192 country delegates presently at Copenhagen says, “Unless the remaining gap (of the emissions required to be reduced) is closed and parties (countries) commit themselves to strong action prior and after 2020, global emissions will remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal or above 550 ppm (parts per million of carbon dioxide in air) with the related temperature raise around 3 degree Celsius.

The UN global group of scientists – IPCC – has long ago warned that if the global temperatures go more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial era the world would tip over into irreversible natural calamities.

The 2 degree target is considered the beacon for how much emission cuts the industrialized countries and others should undertake. The industrialized countries, such as US and Europe have made some offers and claimed it is enough to prevent disaster. The UN secret document now shows that the targets the rich countries have unofficially claimed they could take are just not enough.

The rich countries have even 12 hours before the heads of the states meet at Copenhagen, refused to put even these numbers as part of their official positions.
The actual draft document is here.

So, where is the cheating? Well, it was expected that those countries would reduce emissions 25-40% below the 1990 baseline, but in actuality it would mean a cut of 15-30%. The whole point of this is try and keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, but according to the IPCC, it looks like we're heading to a 3 degree increase, and from which the planet will not recover.

Is there any political will for the US, let alone China or Europe or India to make the necessary cuts to their own individual national emissions when that will mean curtailing economic growth? That's really what this is all about.

It has nothing to do with the science of global warming, but taking a worst case scenario from the IPCC and demanding action to curb economic growth among the developed world to shift resources to the lesser developed nations.

No one wants to be the first to cut their own emissions, particularly when it means that their economies will suffer slowdowns as a result. China may pay lip service to cuts, and even urge construction of new nuclear power plants in the country, but even if they hold to their own ambitious agenda, the Chinese emissions will nearly double by 2020 - (up 72-88%).

Mind you, even if all these countries go along with emissions reductions, it will not actually reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as the concentration will continue to increase. It would take a regime far stronger than anything being proposed in Copenhagen to make that happen.

And don't get me started on the costs. The $100 billion slush fund is ripe for corruption and graft, and while the US has pledged to participate, how that money will be used is anything but certain.

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