Monbiot: We Lost. The Carbon War is Over
Published 08th October 2010 - 1 comments - 610 views -
Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it's dead
The collapse of the talks at Copenhagen took away all momentum for change and the lobbyists are back in control. So what next?
The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December's climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don't want to be associated with failure, they don't want to pour time and energy into a broken process.
In 2012 the only global deal for limiting greenhouse gas emissions – the Kyoto protocol – expires. There is no realistic prospect that it will be replaced before it elapses.
Worse still, the reduction in industrial output caused by the recession has allowed big polluters to build up a bank of carbon permits which they can carry into the next phase of the trading scheme.
Unlike the Kyoto protocol, the EU's emissions trading system will remain alive. It will also remain completely useless.
Plenty of nations – like Britain – have produced what appear to be robust national plans for cutting greenhouse gases. With one exception (the Maldives), their targets fall far short of the reductions needed to prevent more than two degrees of global warming.
Even so, none of them are real. Missing from the proposed cuts are the net greenhouse gas emissions we have outsourced to other countries and now import in the form of manufactured goods. Were these included in the UK's accounts, alongside the aviation, shipping and tourism gases excluded from official figures, Britain's emissions would rise by 48%. Rather than cutting our contribution to global warming by 19% since 1990, as the government boasts, we have increased it by about 29%. It's the same story in most developed nations. Our apparent success results entirely from failures elsewhere.
Hanging over everything is the growing recognition that the United States isn't going to play. Not this year, perhaps not in any year. If Congress couldn't pass a climate bill so feeble that it consisted of little but loopholes while Barack Obama was president and the Democrats had a majority in both houses, where does hope lie for action in other circumstances? Last Tuesday the Guardian reported that of 48 Republican contenders for the Senate elections in November only one accepted that man-made climate change is taking place.
...Read more at www.klimaskeptik.cz/english
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