Friday, December 03, 2010

COP16 - The Incredible Vanishing Climate Summit

While people have been voraciously devouring WikiLeaks disclosures this past week there's been a major UN climate change summit underway in Cancun that seems to have fallen off the radar screen.

I've been searching about for news of what the delegates have accomplished and - nothing.  No word.   Oh, a few speeches and a bit of grumbling here and there but no news of anything remotely substantive much less some breakthrough.

I guess there's no point in saying "back to the drawing board."   After all, Cancun was supposed to be the drawing board.   Greenpeace climate director Wendell Trio described the summit this way.  "This is a meeting of emitters anonymous. They haven't even taken the first steps to admit there is a problem."

Climate summit delegates - Please Call Home!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I've been pulling my hair out trying to find anything about this. My summary of what I have seen is:
* US has talked about leaving early
* Japan rumoured to be reneging on Kyoto
* India suggesting BRIC and developing countries implement monitoring without waiting for western powers to get their act together.
* Canada got 3 fossil of the day awards on the opening day.

Generally, bad news all around wrt getting much accomplished.

In related news US GOP is canning select committee on energy independence and climate change and saying they want to repeal the modest money that Obama promised at Copenhagen.

The Mound of Sound said...

Copenhagen was a real disappointment but I'm coming to believe that the denialists see this as their year to reverse even the modest advances of the past decade.

Gulogulo said...

Yeah and that terrifies me.

I just finished reading The Climate Cover-up which made me realize that my previous level of cynicism was quite pollyanna-ish. The next day I saw Margaret Wente's nonsense in the G&M. Then I come home and open my latest copy of Science and see a letter asking for the formation of group made up of scientists and PR people to try to get the message out that something needs to be done NOW. We have done almost nothing to improve the situation over the past 20-30 years that global warming has been really well-known. There appears to be no controversy in scientific circles about global warming as a phenomenon - nit picking about certain details but at the same sort of level as in evolution say. Yet the CBC still presents Lomborg as though he has some credibility on the subject.

I have two questions remaining.
1) How is that there is still controversy about trying to fix this problem? For myself, I really really wanted to not believe that global warming is as bad as it is, but the science is overwhelming.

2) What the heck can be done to fix the lack of will and awareness?

The Mound of Sound said...

Two questions, two answers (of doubtful accuracy).

How does this controversy continue? That is achieved through the lavish application of money by some insanely wealthy people and organizations. That money flows to the professional denialist community, into the media and, above all, to America's "bought and paid for" Congress.

Curiously enough, America and Canada are the only two places where conservatives don't get "global warming."

Question 2. We have to throw out the bums leading the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP. In many ways our Canada now functions just like a classic petro-state and that includes Ottawa and on both sides of the aisle. Parliament is full of Tar Sanders and Oil Heads. We can pretty much forget turning things around until we can get these parasites out of our government.

Real_PHV_Mentarch said...

MoS: it's about peak resources, period.

Our planet is relatively small with quite finite resources and just can't support infinite sustainable growth.

Either we scale back (not pragmatic or even realistic) or we get off our keisters, stop clinging to cavemen mentality, and start extracting resources that lie pristine out there - in our very own solar system neighborhood.

There's everything we need: water galore, minerals galore, metals galore.

So, there.

In the meantime, all we have to do is transition towards green/renewable economies on Earth.

Except, we remain too afraid, or plainly unwilling, to do so - sadly enough.

Holly Stick said...

They mention higher level talks are to start next Tuesday, so that might get more media attention:

The Guardian is following the meeting:

More links here:,7181.0.html

Anonymous said...

This might brighten your day. The second in command of the Ministry of the Environment of South Korea, Japan and China had a meeting this past Friday. They discussed what needs to be done for the enviroment in this region. They also released the levels these three countries are sending into the atmosphere. All three countries are emitting 25% of the worlds green house gases. Their conclusions were to increase the amount of alternative energy and to push for cleaner alternative vehicles including airplanes. The Chinese government is presently pumping billions into electric made vehicles. They also hope to be lower coal by 3% by the end of 2011. It seems it is only North American governments which will not produce an envirnomental policy with which to follow. How mean!!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard of "No Purchase Day" in North America? Apparently, everyone is preparing for it in Northern Asia and Arirang TV station mentioned this event will be it will be world wide. If the rest of the world is taking action including Europe and Russia, don't you think we will eventually be shamed into doing our part?

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, AdBusters has long promoted "Buy Nothing Day" which they now co-ordinate with what Americans call "Black Friday," the busiest shopping day of the year.

The Mound of Sound said...

@Anon12:13, yes it all sounds quite impressive - on paper. However it won't mean much until we begin pricing carbon.

Carbon taxes don't punish the fossil fuel industry to give alternative energies an uncompetitive advantage. Anything but.

Coal, oil and gas have always been massively subsidized. If they were made to pay a market cost for the resources they consume and for the pollution they emit, including greenhouse gases, alternative energies would quickly be seen as more than competitive in price.

It's the price differential between the market price of carbon fuels and their actual cost to society that must be addressed.