The world is just now getting over the disinformation campaign led by the rich, the coal companies and the oil companies that argued that global climate change wasn’t happening. The world had a perfect opportunity to clean it all up. China’s chunk of the atmosphere is a pig stye and they have to clean it up. They have people dying. Everyone has gone toxic over the last decade like it doesn’t matter. One of the reasons the world’s economy has stalled out is that it was in the process of moving to more sustainable models but the super rich and the elites dug in their heels and are holding it back. No new jobs. Why cause we don’t wanna. Sounding like three year olds threatening to take their toys and go home. But where is home anyway. They never got around to setting up a paradise on Mars. This article takes a much more tactful approach than mine but:
Did the Durban climate change talks actually accomplish anything?
The UN’s latest Climate Change Conference recently concluded after two weeks of intense negotiations in Durban, South Africa. There’s going to be a new agreement to address climate change, but does that really mean anything? Let’s break down what happened.
Top image: Chukchi Sea Polar Bears by AP/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s no point in denying it — the Durban talks, otherwise known as COP17, didn’t directly accomplish much at all, if anything. In fact, you could argue the talks represented a net loss for the world’s commitment to fighting climate change, as Canada announced it was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, the current UN agreement aimed at cutting climate change, placing it in the unusual position of being lectured by China about its environmental policy.
And if you were hoping for an agreement that would lay down concrete steps to cut carbon emissions or lower global temperatures, then these talks were a dismal failure. Instead, they simply got all the countries there to agree to be part of a future, legally binding agreement that will be defined by 2015 and go into effect in 2020. That might just sound like passing the buck — and yeah, it kind of is — but this does represent some small progress from the Kyoto Protocol.
For one thing, this new agreement has the United States on board, which infamously refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Second, this future treaty will be legally binding for all countries, not just those classified as developed. While major developing powers like China and India ratified the Kyoto Protocol, they were under no real requirement to comply with it.
That should change with this new agreement, although a major contention of the final marathon 60-hour negotiating session was India’s objection that their compliance not be “legally binding.” They eventually settled on an agreement that would have “legal force.” What’s the difference? Your guess is as good as mine, though hopefully that will become clearer by 2015. It was also agreed to set up a fund to help developing countries pay for climate compliance, though there are no actual specifics on where the money would come from or how it would be managed.
Go there and read. More next week.