Wednesday :: Dec 5, 2007

Climate Change: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by Turkana

With the world we know in just a little bit of trouble, thanks to global warming/climate change and other human-caused environmental disasters, three different countries are pursuing three very different approaches to dealing with it.

In Germany, Spiegel Online reports:

The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel approved a package of emissions reduction policies representing a 2008 commitment of €3.3 billion ($4.8 billion) on Wednesday. Cabinet members say it is among the most ambitious national initiatives of its kind in the world.

"The government is taking a big step forward to achieve its climate protection goals," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said, according to the Associated Press. "Germany will maintain its leadership role."

The plan breaks down into 14 new laws and regulations, each designed to encourage businesses to conserve energy or expand Germany's production of renewable energy.

Germany's goals are to cut their greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2020, which would put it in compliance with the the overall European Union's target, and to increase the share of its energy consumption that comes from renewable sources from a current 14% to 25-30%, by the same date.

Some other countries, however, are backing off previous promises.

According to the Guardian:

A group of rich countries including Britain has broken a promise to pay more than a billion dollars to help the developing world cope with the effects of climate change. The group agreed in 2001 to pay $1.2bn (£600m) to help poor and vulnerable countries predict and plan for the effects of global warming, as well as fund flood defences, conservation and thousands of other projects. But new figures show less than £90m of the promised money has been delivered. Britain has so far paid just £10m.

The disclosure comes after Gordon Brown said this week that industrialised countries must do more to help the developing world adapt to a changed climate, and two weeks before countries meet in Bali to begin negotiations on a new global deal to regulate emissions which is expected to stress the need for all countries to adapt.

Andrew Pendleton, climate change policy analyst at Christian Aid, said: "This represents a broken promise on a massive scale and on quite a cynical scale as well. Promising funds for adaptation is exactly the kind of incentive the rich countries will offer at Bali to bring the developing world on board a new climate deal. This is the signal we are seeing on all fronts, that the developed countries are unwilling to fulfil their moral and legal commitments."

Britain seems to be in full retreat, when it comes to climate change. They're drastically cutting funding for their own government agency that addresses climate change, and seem to be ready to abandon their renewable energy targets.

And then there is Bush, who is always willing to do his part. To block climate protection, that is...

Also from Spiegel Online:

In recent official statements, Washington has indicated it might be looking for a compromise during negotiations in Bali for a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. But sources say the White House is discreetly searching for partners in Beijing and Dehli to derail the prospects for any binding agreements to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

In the run-up to the Bali Climate Conference that opened Monday, the administration of US President George W. Bush established contact with representatives of the Chinese and Indian governments in an attempt to curb progress on climate protection initiatives, SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned from a source familiar with the White House's Bali strategy.

According to the source, Washington is hoping that the two greenhouse gas emitters will openly declare during the conference that they are unwilling to accept any binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases -- at least not as long as the US is unwilling to do more or if the Western industrial nations do not provide them with more financial aid for climate protection initiatives. If successful, the US could use the tactic to prevent itself from becoming an isolated scapegoat if negotiations in Bali end in a stalemate.

"Bush's people don't want to make any real progress in the next two weeks," one Washington insider said. "But they also don't want to be severely criticized internationally again. So now the White House is seeking discreet ways of preventing binding limits on emissions."

Of all Bush's countless failures, depredations, and other outrages, this will eventually be considered his worst.

Turkana :: 1:57 PM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!