USA Seek to Block Progress on Climate Talks

The US has produced a draft communique on climate change for the G8 to agree at their summit in Germany in June reports the FT. It might only be a first negotiating position but it suggests that hopes that the USA is going to change its position are premature.

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9 Responses to USA Seek to Block Progress on Climate Talks

  1. Stephan says:

    I do have some sympathy for the US position of not wanting to use the achievement of a specific temperature as a measure of the success for our climate change abatement efforts. As recently published research papers have indicated, our understanding of the issue of climate change is not yet complete, and our therefore our climate models cannot yet fully predict the outcomes form the chaotic interplay of its many components. Setting a target implies that there is some set of actions that can be taken which will allow it to be achieved, and that having been achieved it will result in the ultimate goal of an ‘acceptable’ level of ecological/social impact . We would be relying of our models to tell us what actions would be needed and to predict whether these would result in an acceptable impact. Whatever actions we take they are bound to have economic and social impacts, it is prudent that the US would not want to head down a path that might lead to reduced growth and therefore a reduced capacity to achieve effective climate change abatement if other measures are proved to be needed later.

  2. matt says:

    So you see no use here for the precautionary principle?

  3. Stephan says:

    I don’t see this as a contradiction of the precautionary priniciple which is based on the idea that you know what level will result in no detrimental effects. Two deg by when? more warming than that might already be built into the system inwhich case we are ‘shutting the door after the horse has bolted’. Or this target may be too high to avoid unstoppable change as a recent article on the reduction in CO2 absorbtion by the Southern Ocean might be indication, in which case more effort might be required in the right places to give a lower target; alternatively, money might be better spent on adaption stratergies – the models aren’t yet good enough to tell us. That doesn’t meam we shouldn’t be doing something, just that a target like 2 deg by????(2020) may not be the way to go.

  4. matt says:

    The target isn’t important. Action is. The US are simply stalling/blocking.

    As my post on the ‘US weatherman…’ indicates; Americans firmly believe the world is out to get them, one way or another. Their reaction is to put their hands over their ears and put up the shutters, whether it be climate change, Iraq, Palestine or the WTO negotiations. Doesn’t matter. The US has a siege mentality.

  5. keithsc says:

    The Stern Report concluded it would be cheaper to act now rather than leave action to later. I agree the models aren’t good enough at the moment to accurately predict a safe temperature but they might never be because of the complexities involved. The US government would still seem to be adopting the policy of wait and see and hope and blocking any way forward to international cooperation which seems to me to be a very shortsighted approach. They will probably be richer in the future but will they be any more willing to act?

  6. Stephan says:

    Yes, but most climate models are now indicating that the CO2 levels suggested as our ‘peek greenhouse emissions’ target (that word again) in the Stern Report are too high if we are to put a significant break on the climate change throttle. So the the ‘small propotion of global GDP’ directed at achieving this goal (based on Stern science) would be wasted when it could lift 200 million people out of poverty and make them better equipped to cope with the impending changes, whatever they might be. And after all we could always go it alone, we did with Kyoto (missed all our targets though!).

  7. keithsc says:

    But would the “small proportion of global GDP” be used to lift 200 million people out of poverty if not used as the Stern report suggests or would it be used for armaments or conspicuous consumption? And would the money spent on following the Stern Report be wasted? It would surely create jobs, encourage further research and could create more wealth than if used for other purposes.

  8. Stephan says:

    All your points are valid:) I wish we knew the answers.

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