Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The root of all evil

In the light of recent news I feel both hope and desapair.

The EU has put forward an offer to cut its emissions by up to 95% by 2050 and by 30% by 2030 if a deal is reached at Copenhagen (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/21/europe-carbon-emissions). This is excellent news!

India and China have also agreed to work together in sharing and developing technology and reducing their emissions(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8318725.stm) This is also excellent news!

The British Prime Minister has adressed representatives from 17 nation, including several of the worlds biggest polluters, that we had "50 days to save the world from warming" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8313672.stm) (less now) and that a deal must be made at Copenhagen.

All this is very good, but being the cynical so-and-so that I am, I wonder...

In the same article that the Guardian reports the EU offer, it reports that there is disagreement over the funding package for developing countries. Poland and other poorer european nations are not happy at being asked to subsidise action in developing nations such as China, which have a strong growing economy.

China and India are both reported as stating that the measures needed to address climate change will harm their economies and that they require financial incentives from the developed nations which have historic responsibility for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions (despite China's vulnerability to climate change, see here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8311223.stm).

China and India, along with other developing nations, are reported to require that the Kyoto Protocol, with it's legally binding emissions targets on developed nations, be used as the basis for further negotiations.

Th US rejects this and is pressing for a deal not based on Kyoto and opposition in the US Senate, and fear that the Boxer-Kerry bill will damage US economic competitiveness seem not to promise much hope of a real, radical and binding deal being made at Copenhagen.

I am deeply concerned that our need to be economically competitive and to support our national economies will mean that we do not act radically enough or fast enough, that we will be doomed by our "national economic interest". We do not have the time, we MUST act now.

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