Monday, January 28, 2008

Playing Dodgeball in Paradise

The world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters are gathering in Honolulu this week to discuss, talk, chat, while away some time and, of course, work on those tans. From ENN:

"The two-day gathering, which starts on Wednesday in Honolulu, is meant to spur U.N. negotiations for an international climate agreement by 2009, so a pact will be ready when the current carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The Bush administration rejects the Kyoto plan, saying it unfairly exempts developing countries from cutting back on emissions, and could cost U.S. jobs. Instead, Washington favors voluntary measures and "aspirational goals" to limit climate change, aided by easier transfer of environmental technology."

In attendance will be representatives from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

There hasn't been much publicity about this conference and there's a reason for that. Consider how James Connaughton, the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, described the objectives.

"I think these will be iterative discussions, which the initial goal will be to lay out a variety of options without holding any country to a particular proposal," Connaughton told reporters at a briefing on Friday. "... We're trying to do this in a collaborative way, rather than in the more classic 'You bring your number, I bring my number, and we start kicking them around."'


Anonymous said...

Are you aware that the biggest contributor to CO2 are computers? More than all the transport systems in the world combined? Companies like Goggle and Yahoo have huge computer farms to handle the wordly load of communication. Plus people leave their computers on all the time. If you have to ask me why?'s the electricty factor. Turn them off when not in use.

The Mound of Sound said...

No, I'm not aware of that but I'd be delighted for a reference. It's sort of like Ralph Klein blaming GHG emissions on us breathing. You are right, however, about turning off computers, etc. when not in use. Most operating systems will do that automatically if you configure them that way. There are also "vampire electronics" - plug in chargers, for example, that keep draining electricity even when they're not in use.

The Mound of Sound said...

I tracked down your claim, anon, and it's dodgy at best. It seems to rely on the energy sector and, even worse, carbon traders. Gee, for less than 79 pounds a year, they'll grant you greenhouse gas absolution for a 3-bedroom house. How divine!
I don't doubt that computer-related energy consumption does contribute to GHG emissions. That's obvious or it should be.
The dubious reliability of these reports is that no consideration is given to any energy savings associated with computer services - alternate, energy consumptive activities that would be entailed but for the availability of computer-based communications for example.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mound:
I remember when people began talking about the emissions from cars and the problem it was causing...way back in the seventies and eighties. I remember asking a scientist friend at the time how much aircraft were contributing to the green house effect and his reply was "not much as it is a different fuel used...I didn't believe him. When I read the article about thought was yes, how many people turn off their computers? The article was about Goggle and Yahoo who have computer farms that are running twenty-four hours a day all the time. Out of everyone I know, I am the only person who turns my computer off when not in use. These sorts of articles are food for thought. I remember my parents thinking there was something wrong with me for listening to David Suzuki and reading about the environment in the seventies especially reading articles on organic farming. And yes, it would be interesting to know how much the population contributes to CO2 from exhaling. It doesn't mean I adhere to the Alberta line. Let's face it, we, humans are the problem facing the earths survival. It's like Danny Williams agreeing that Canada needs to take a "go slow" approach to green house gases. His comment on "Here and Now" out of St. John's, Newfoundland, January 29, 2008...."We can't slay the goose that laid the golden egg". How about "we can't slay the earth that feeds us". Computers are contibuting to the problem and as time goes on, we will learn just how much. Cheers