Then there is the problem of allowing lawyers using standard debating techniques to bargain over carbon limits. Some folks think this is a deal to be negotiated. What they forget is that the laws of nature are not negotiable.
Everything Is Negotiable, Except with Nature: You Can’t Bargain About Global Warming with Chemistry and Physics
By Bill McKibben
The UN’s big climate conference ended Saturday in Cancún, with claims of modest victory. "The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine," said Tim Gore of Oxfam. “Not as rancorous as last year’s train wreck in Copenhagen,” wrote theGuardian. Patricia Espinosa, the Mexican foreign minister who brokered the final compromise, described it as "the best we could achieve at this point in a long process."
The conference did indeed make progress on a few important issues: the outlines offinancial aid for developing countries to help them deal with climate change, and some ideas on how to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in China and India. But it basically ignored the two crucial questions: How much carbon will we cut, and how fast?
On those topics, one voice spoke more eloquently than all the 9,000 delegates, reporters, and activists gathered in Cancún.
And he wasn’t even there. And he wasn’t even talking about climate.
Barack Obama was in Washington, holding a press conference to discuss the liberal insurgency against his taxation agreement with the Republicans.
I do know the one place where the president’s reasonable compromises simply won’t work -- a place where we have absolutely no choice but to steer by abstract ideals. That place is the climate.
The terms of the climate change conundrum aren’t set by contending ideologies, whose adherents can argue till the end of time about whether tax cuts create jobs or kill them. In the case of global warming, chemistry rules, which means there are lines, hard and fast. Those of you who remember your periodic table will recall how neat that can be. There’s no shading between one element and the next. It’s either gallium or it’s zinc. There’s no zallium, no ginc. You might say that the elements are, in that sense, abstract ideals.
So are the molecules those elements combine to form. Take carbon dioxide (CO2), the most politically charged molecule on Earth. As the encyclopedia says: “At standard pressure and temperature the density of carbon dioxide is around 1.98 kg/m3, about 1.5 times that of air. The carbon dioxide molecule (O=C=O) contains two double bonds and has a linear shape.” Oh, and that particular molecular structure traps heat near the planet that would otherwise radiate back out into space, giving rise to what we call the greenhouse effect.
As of January 2008, our best climatologists gave us a number for how much carbon in the atmosphere is too much. At concentrations above 350 parts per million (ppm), a NASA team insisted, we can’t have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” We’re already past that; we’re at 390 ppm. Which is why 2010 will be the warmest year on record, almost a degree Celsius above the planet’s natural average, according to federal researchers. Which is why the Arctic melted again this summer, and Russia caught fire, and Pakistan drowned. moreAnd then there are the Germans who understand that discussions of energy belong to the engineers and physicists. THEY have a CHANCE of meeting their goals for carbon reduction.
Röttgen calls for 30-percent carbon cuts
Published: 13 Dec 10 08:31 CET
German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has stepped up expectations for climate change action in Europe, calling on neighbours to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020.
Following the latest climate conference in Cancún, Mexico, Röttgen said the deep cuts were essential to meet the renewed goal to keep global temperature rises to within two degrees Celsius by 2100 of pre-industrial age averages.
Previously Europe had committed to cuts of 20 percent. The financial crisis, moreover, has dented enthusiasm for tough climate measures.
“Europe will only keep its leadership role on climate change if we push ahead decisively and reduce our emissions by 30 percent by 2020 compared with 1990,” Röttgen told the Rheinische Post. “This is an appropriate rate for compliance with the two-degree goal.” moreAh yes! The text I highlighted shows that even a society that can organize to actually achieve solutions will be held hostage by the moneychangers. Political leaders are being told, "Don't, whatever you do, spend time and resources on solving the problems of the real economy when we must first save the casino."
Debt Contagion Threat Splits EU Leaders Seeking Rules to Stem Euro Crisis
By James G. Neuger - Dec 16, 2010 10:22 AM CT
Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Jacques Cailloux, chief European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, discusses the response by policy makers to the euro-zone debt crisis. He talks with Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television's "On The Move." (Source: Bloomberg)
European Union divisions widened over how to contain the debt contagion that threatens the euro, limiting a summit that began today to an agreement on a crisis- management mechanism that takes effect in 2013.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel balked at boosting or making more flexible use of the EU’s 750 billion-euro ($1 trillion) emergency fund, as leaders neared an accord on the tool to contain future debt shocks and the European Central Bank armed itself with more capital.
Strife among Merkel, the ECB, Luxembourg Prime MinisterJean-Claude Juncker, and the German domestic opposition intensified on the eve of the Brussels summit, marring confidence in Europe’s handling of the fiscal woes that forced Greece and Ireland to fall back on financial handouts. more depressing stuff on bankster concerns