August 27, 2014

Obama reaches new low on #climatechange spinelessness

Chinese Premier Li Kequiang laughs at
'naming and shaming' threats
from President Barak Obama.
Wikipedia photo
Yes, the authoritarian leadership in China is really going to stop burning coal because Barack Neoliberal Obama (born not in Kenya, but a business law program's pocket) thinks that "naming and shaming" countries contributing to global warming will make them stop it:

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.
 In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
 To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions.
What B.O. is committing too, actually, is simply updating what happened at the 2009 Copenhagen round of climate talks:
American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.
Yeah, right. That’s technically true, but it’s meaningless, and anybody with a brain knows that.

As far as it doing anything? I’m sure that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is quaking in his fake Italian shoes at being “named and shamed.”

But, hey, it’s working already. At least one Gang Green environmental group seems to be giving it the thumbs up.
“There’s some legal and political magic to this,” said Jake Schmidt, an expert in global climate negotiations with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “They’re trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the 67-vote threshold” in the Senate.
Yeah, yeah.

Carbon tax domestically, plus carbon import tariff for the other countries. Forces us all on the same playing field, protects “cleaner” American business and thus gets the support of CEOs whose middle names aren’t, all of them, “Outsource,” and gives us fixed, written-in-stone targets.

That said, the NY Times doesn’t quite read the GOP right:
The Obama administration’s international climate strategy is likely to infuriate Republican lawmakers who already say the president is abusing his executive authority by pushing through major policies without congressional approval.
Actually, it’s likely to make them laugh hysterically more than be infuriated, for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

Beyond that, Obama KNOWS this.

Also laughing at Obama's threats?
PM Tony Abbott of Australia, top
coal exporter to China.
Wikipedia photo
And, he knows it won't do a think to stop actual climate change problems, which the U.N. Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change has just detailed in its newest report.

That would be things like grain harvests already declining, the possibility that we've already cooked in the destruction of the Greenland ice sheet and more.

Meanwhile, the IPCC also notes that, "name and shame" aside, this:
From 1970 to 2000, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at 1.3 percent a year. But from 2000 to 2010, that rate jumped to 2.2 percent a year, the report found, and the pace seems to be accelerating further in this decade.
Yep, Li Keqiang is laughing all the way to the ribbon cutting for the next Chinese coal-fired power plant. And, the new Liberal government in Australia 

Do we have hope?
The new report found that it was still technically possible to limit global warming to an internationally agreed upper bound of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level. But continued political delays for another decade or two will make that unachievable without severe economic disruption, the report said.
"There never was much hope, Planet Earth."

We're really headed to about 9 degrees F, or 4 C, by the end of the century. And, we haven't even talked about what will happen if and when India starts industrializing at an even more rapid rate. Or if Brazil wants to become an industrial country. Or, if we find even more undersea methane hydrates starting to bubble.

Meanwhile, for American wingnuts who want to say "so what," er, more ozone in U.S. cities is part of the so what. And, unlike international non-binding "naming and shaming," the Clean Air Act requires that that be fixed, especially in hot red-state cities like Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, etc.

And, want to be really alarmist?

Per a long new piece by Charles Mann, all of this is likely going to spur the "salvific technologism" fake solution of geoengineering.
A single country could geo-engineer the whole planet by itself. Or one country’s geo-engineering could set off conflicts with another country—a Chinese program to increase its monsoon might reduce India’s monsoon. “Both are nuclear weapons states,” (David) Keith reminds us.
Let's hope it doesn't get that bad. 

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