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Ear to the Ground

The Durban Deal Is No Deal

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Posted on Dec 11, 2011
Karmen Meyer (CC-BY)

Another round of climate negotiations, another vague promise to commit to something in the distant future and another slow-motion step toward disaster for the world’s poor and vulnerable. The Durban deal puts the U.N.’s 194 nations on track to begin negotiating a legally binding pact by 2015, six years after we were told to expect such a treaty in Copenhagen.

After two days of deadlock, delegates salvaged the talks by changing the words “legal outcome” to the substantially more slippery “agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties.” That injection of hot air into a corpse of a deal was enough to bring Indian negotiator Jayanthi Natarajan back to the table to declare the process operable. The earlier language made her concerned that India would be legally bound to curtail its economic development.

Negotiators did not commit to renewing the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December 2012, and instead called for an extension until 2017 or 2020. That leaves the “real” deciding for next year’s talks in Qatar. —ARK

Kate Sheppard with Mother Jones:

Of course, the change still leaves the agreement, termed the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action,” somewhat vague. Even if negotiations on a new legal agreement are set to begin ... in 2015, it’s not clear when they’d conclude. It also reaffirms the goal of holding global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), notes with “grave concern” that the pledges listed won’t meet that goal, and launches a “work plan” to consider improving those targets. But countries are still continuing pledges that put the world on a path toward 4 degrees C warming (7 degrees F).

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 14, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Albert R. Close:

“as the situation becomes more of an emergency, progressing to a full scale panic, then… the floodgates of the money from the U.S. treasury will open, and hundreds of very lucrative contracts will be given out. Whether any of these proposed “solutions” has any merit whatsoever is completely irrelevant. The U.S. government will be seen as ‘Acting in the interests of humanity’ to solve the problem.”
___________________

Whether the Final Solution is labeled “humanitarian” or not will depend upon whether Democrats are in nominal control when their corporate party is perpetrating it.

Three part 3 hour January 2009 CBC Podcast of Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars:

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/features/2009/07/09/climate-wars-part-12-cd/

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

Report this

By Albert R. Close, December 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m quite sure that the reason the United States has essentially blocked any
meaningful agreement to reduce global warming is that no one has figured out
how to make any money from it. And, it is very likely that people in the
corporations are working on ways to profit from global warming and their
proposed solution to the problem. But they haven’t quite figured out how to do
it.
Now the situation is not an extreme emergency, just yet. So the U.S. can delay
agreements which might cost the corporations money. And, as the situation
becomes more of an emergency, progressing to a full scale panic, then, just as
Naomi Klein outlined in her book “The Shock Doctrine”, the U.S. government
will be persuaded to act.

At this time, corporations will have a “solution to the problem”  thoroughly
worked out. Then the floodgates of the money from the U.S. treasury will open,
and hundreds of very lucrative contracts will be given out. Whether any of these
proposed “solutions” has any merit whatsoever is completely irrelevant. The
U.S. government will be seen as “Acting in the interests of humanity” to solve
the problem.

But the REAL problem is, have we acted too late to stop a runaway warming ?
This could come about as the melting permafrost releases the trapped methane
gas below its surface. As most of you know, methane has about 15 to 20 times
the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. It doesn’t last quite as long as carbon
dioxide, but it is pretty potent while it is there. So if this scenario unfolds, it
could create an ever increasing spiral of warming leading to still more warming.
At that time, the human deaths could potentially run into the many millions.
And the extinction of many animal species, and plant species, could be beyond
counting.

So, at this point in time, the U.S. government is only concerned with protecting
the profits of the corporations, regardless of the outcome for all of humanity.
And, of course, the corporations control the U.S. government.

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By Kito Rodriguez, December 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGn3Z-1jMPc

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE: “The White House continued to block effective international action on climate change at Durban despite recent reports that the level of carbon emissions has actually increased by 50% since the Kyoto protocols were agreed to. Instead of pushing for stronger curbs, the White House led the fight to delay adopting the new climate agreement until 2020, when it will be too late to turn back. This is a deadly betrayal of future generations. Scientists have repeatedly stated that to avoid catastrophic climate change, emissions must begin to decline well before 2020.”
— Dr. Jill Stein, on 12/12/11

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, December 12, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

@ Sebastian Lawhorne

“What are you talking about? Obviously, you didn’t care to read my comment. I didn’t say the Occupy activists were cynical or self-defeating. Quite the contrary:”

That is what I meant by you being a smartass.

Obviously… oh nevermind.

Have a nice day my friend.

Report this

By Sebastian Lawhorne, December 12, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@EmileZ:

That is a pretty uncompelling comment, even contrasted to “Steve E” and “Guy Sorrow”.

I think I will chuck my pill, stand out there, and wallow among the other cynical, self-defeating activists.

If there is a better way (and I believe there is)... it will surely be found among them.

Oh, wait… that isn’t cynical and self-defeating or more importantly smartass.

Yeah, that means you, you smarty smartass!!!

What are you talking about? Obviously, you didn’t care to read my comment. I didn’t say the Occupy activists were cynical or self-defeating. Quite the contrary:

Cynicism will lead you nowhere except self-defeat; you don’t see the Occupy people standing out there wallowing in that cynicism, do you?

The Occupy people are not cynical. They are full of hope. They are the best citizens this country has to offer right now, and have managed to bring about progressive victories like delaying the Keystone XL pipeline. They are the opposite of cynical.

However, boasting one’s own nihilism, fatalism, and misanthropy IS cynical. Cynics offer despair and lack imagination, which we shouldn’t tolerate in times like these. “Guysorow” and “Steve E” are who I am critiquing here, not the Occupy movement.

Please bother to COMPREHEND my comments before you go off attacking them. Smartass.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, December 12, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

@ Sebastian Lawhorne

That is a pretty uncompelling comment, even contrasted to “Steve E” and “Guy Sorrow”.

I think I will chuck my pill, stand out there, and wallow among the other cynical, self-defeating activists.

If there is a better way (and I believe there is)... it will surely be found among them.

Oh, wait… that isn’t cynical and self-defeating or more importantly smartass.

Yeah, that means you, you smarty smartass!!!

I’ll take some pickles, onions and relish to go with my smartass please.

Harry Potter???

THE Harry Potter???

Report this

By Sebastian Lawhorne, December 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

guysorow:

If anyone is suprised by the way the Durban anti-Climate squealing-
profusion of perfunctory platitudes and profound plenary of powerful
pecuniary pleasing pastyfaced pricks, turned out then let me introduce you
to my latest and perhaps greatest achievement in pharmaceuticals.  I have
given it the pre approved name “Cynicuall “. The drugs sole purpose is to
remove all symptoms of hope pertaining to high authority and low
expectations. You take one pill per lifetime on an empty stomach, which for
most of the world is not a problem. There are no side effects other than the
urge to burn down the twelve bedroom summer home of a financial
institutes CEo. I do not advocate this of course. I’m just sayin stay away
from matches.

Steve E:

Anyone who thinks that a global catastrophe can be diverted is a fool. It’s all over
but the crying. The human species is a vile bunch and is gonna get what it
deserves, so grin and keep shopping.

Get over yourselves.

For all it’s flaws, the Durban agreement is a lot more than what most observers expected would come out of COP 17. Joe Conn has written that the agreement was a lot better alternative than what almost certainly would have happened if no deal had been made at all: a probable collapse of Kyoto and everything else:

...[T]he Durban Agreement or Durban Platform…was a pretty big success, committing the entire world — not just rich countries — to develop a roadmap for reductions, along with a serious Green Climate Fund. It’s worth noting that the alternative was not a binding agreement to stabilize at 2°C ( 3.6°F) warming, but a complete collapse of the international negotiating process.

Cynicism will lead you nowhere except self-defeat; you don’t see the Occupy people standing out there wallowing in that cynicism, do you? If you’ve stopped caring, why bother posting here? Take your pill and chuck it.

Report this

By guysorow, December 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Steve for trying out my new drug. It seems to be working as
intended.  Keep in mind the side effects. Continue to update us on the
depths of your cynisim. Stay away from matches.

Report this

By Steve E, December 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who thinks that a global catastrophe can be diverted is a fool. It’s all over
but the crying. The human species is a vile bunch and is gonna get what it
deserves, so grin and keep shopping.

Report this

By guysorow, December 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

If anyone is suprised by the way the Durban anti-Climate squealing-
profusion of perfunctory platitudes and profound plenary of powerful
pecuniary pleasing pastyfaced pricks, turned out then let me introduce you
to my latest and perhaps greatest achievement in pharmaceuticals.  I have
given it the pre approved name “Cynicuall “. The drugs sole purpose is to
remove all symptoms of hope pertaining to high authority and low
expectations. You take one pill per lifetime on an empty stomach, which for
most of the world is not a problem. There are no side effects other than the
urge to burn down the twelve bedroom summer home of a financial
institutes CEo. I do not advocate this of course. I’m just sayin stay away
from matches.

Report this
D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, December 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

It’s disheartening and dangerous to debate climate change as a rich
vs. poor argument.  We will all suffer. 

The way we are approaching the entire issue, climate change separate
from the collapse of the ecosystem supporting human life, foreign
policy separate from environmental issues, energy policy separate from
economic and monetary policies is dangerous, because when the
ecosystem collapses everything will collapse, American foreign policy,
our energy policy, our monetary and economic systems. People in rich
and poor countries will die of starvation and thirst by the hundreds
of millions, just as the great recession we are now experiencing is
hurting all countries, rich and poor.  And the great collapse is
likely to happen in the next forty years, at or around 2050.

Another thing that would be laughable were it not so dangerous is the
“goal of holding global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6
Fahrenheit).” That statement shows arrogance, ignorance and stupidity
that will haunt us in a few short years. 

The earth’s warming is causing glaciers to melt and run off into the
ocean, which in turn changes the salinity (the amount of salt) of the
oceans.  Changes in salinity affect oceans currents, such as The Gulf
Stream.  We only have a vague idea what will happen if The Gulf Stream
alters its course or stops flowing. Scientists say there could be an
ice age in Northern Europe, and I would think there could possibly be
one in Canada and North America (look at The Gulf Stream’s course, it
goes off the coast of Newfoundland and on up to Iceland).  We have no
idea what will happen if many or all of the ocean currents change
their course, except that the climate we now know and love, the
climate that has allowed human beings to dominate the earth will not
exist.     

Scientists don’t like raising this issue because it complicates the
debate and the idiots they are dealing with—television journalists and
politicians—prefer the issues to be in little bitty sound bytes
that average semi-literate, scientifically illiterate Americans and
TV journalists can understand. 

Pity.

Here it is in plain English:

Climate change will be like a boulder-sized ball of shit bouncing down
a mountain.  It will be pick up more shit along the way and get bigger
and bigger until it destroys everything and everyone in its path. We
are simply not equipped as a nation or as a global people to debate
the avalanche of shit storming down the mountain. 

Ignorance is not having information. Stupidity is having access to
information and not being able to comprehend it. Ignorance breeds
stupidity.  Stupidity discusses a global catastrophy as if it will
only affect the poor and as if a few tweaks here and there will avert
it.

They won’t.

We’re fucked.

For now.

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