Climate Change

Published on December 8th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor


Kyoto Protocol Extended

December 8th, 2012 by  

Via one of our friends, the big news of the day is that the Kyoto Protocol is being extended (full repost, with image added):

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks during the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the high-level segment of the 18th session of the Conference of Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha December 4, 2012. (Credit: Some rights reserved by MINAMPERU – 2011)

In breaking news (Saturday, December 8, 11:30 a.m. EST), the United Nations climate change conference has reaffirmed the world’s intention to curb carbon emissions by extending the historic Kyoto Protocol.

This move confirms that most of the world appears ready to attack the growing threat of climate change in a positive way. Though Kyoto is not as robust a framework as many are calling for, its passage signals that we may yet find a way to avoid almost certain climate rearrangements and extinction of species, possibly our own.

The chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, which are most vulnerable to projected sea level rise, reacted to the decision:

“This is not where we wanted to be at the end of the meeting, I assure you. It certainly isn’t where we need to be in order to prevent islands from going under and other unimaginable impacts…. We will know in the next two years, after which the opportunity to avert the worst impacts of the crisis may be irrevocably lost, whether [world leaders] have delivered on this most basic function of leadership.”

The Responding to Climate Change organization attributes the last-minute adoption of the protocol to a reversal of Poland’s stance regarding excess carbon credits, which is shared by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. A huddle of European Union delegates followed. Also, a number of EU countries and Australia appear to have forgotten to submit their paperwork. Qatar itself may have been instrumental in brokering the deal.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (which represent over 25% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 12% of its gas) have committed to submission of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions. They have not yet tied down the scope or timing of these actions. Despite noting that high economic reliance on hydrocarbon production may conflict with national development objectives, the four nations have moved away from the previous tradition of the Gulf states.

Agreement on black carbon emissions and substantial financial pledges from the EU preceded this late development. Litigation due to loss and damage remains an issue for the U.S. However, according to Harjeet Singh, the word “compensation” has been removed from the text after talks among the U.S., EU, African Group, Least Developed Countries, and Alliance of Small Island States.

More news from Qatar will follow.

Award-winning science writer Sandy Dechert is covering the UNFCCC meeting in Qatar for (See companion articles recommended here.) Previously, Sandy reported on public health and environmental ramifications of the 2012 U.S. elections and extreme weather disasters over the past few years.

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  • We hear all the time of the Great or Greatest Generation. It is time for todays leader to step up. Get off that “free market” bull shit (no market in the world has ever be free) and face this issue head on. Why is hydro the cheapest power in this country, guess what built by the government. Electric power outside of city, you guess it. When US decided to entry WWII we went from building a very small number of tanks/ships/planes to a large number over night. We can do that now if we just have the will. Instead of waiting to the existing power suppliers to decide to have a change of heart. Start a massive build out to replace all electric power used by the Fed/state government to be 100% green. Use a carbon eq tax to fund it. shortage of people to install wind, PV, power lines. Lots of unemployed vet, and general population for that matter. Buy turbines built in this country. Its a jobs program too. It time to stop this, “the best thing you can do for your country is to keep shopping”. Want to help the US PV makers increase demand, if we end up with letting good quality China made panels in that the China government payed for oh well. Tell the people the truth, we need big change now, not in 10 years. Oh and if we replace all those coal plants and turn out there wasn’t global warming after all? Well we still save $500 billion a year by turning them off. Also state straight out the government fleet of cars, buses, light trucks is going EV or at least PEV.

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