- Key concepts:
- diplomacy, American obstinacy, Kyoto Treaty, climate change facts and figures
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- This may be the last Viridian Note you read this year, because I'm wintering in Belgrade, Serbia. Once I'm teaching design in Pasadena, however, you can expect all Viridian hell to break loose.
That's right, I'm in Serbia. Where a local security guard from the
American embassy clumsily bashed his car into the local President's motorcade, provoking
wild and wacky diplomatic terror angst.
What's wrong with American environmentalism? Lots.
Americans! Buy cool cloud stamps even as you unilaterally wreck the planet's
'Duplicity, sycophancy, guile, bravado, forgery, pretense, hypocrisy, deceit, fraud,
perjury, cunning, collusion, flattery, cant, and perfidy.'
"Arctic People Seek Tropical Team on Global Warming
Thursday Nov 25, 02004
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent
"REYKJAVIK (Reuters)– Arctic peoples aim to team up with tropical islanders in a campaign against global warming, arguing that polar bears and palm-fringed beaches stand to suffer most. ((("We'll just reach all the way across America, since they're egregiously standing in the way!".)))
"The proposed alliance between some of the hottest and coldest parts of the globe would lobby industrial nations like the United States, which had refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. ((("Okay, Cheney – you and the oil boys listen up, or it's no more hand-etched coconuts.")))
"'We are two of the world's most vulnerable areas,"
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), said of the
low-lying islands – at risk from rising sea levels – and the Arctic – where the ice is
melting. (((Imagine that you were a Canadian Eskimo. And imagine that you were a
ceaselessly globetrotting NGO activist. And that you were named "Sheila." "Sheila
"'Linking up makes a lot of sense,' Watt-Cloutier, whose organization says it represents 155,000 people in Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Russia, told Reuters on Thursday.
"The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet because of a build-up of gases from fossil fuels burned in cars, factories and power plants, according to a report by 250 scientists from 8 countries this month.
"That could make the North Pole ice-free in summer by 2100, driving species like polar bears toward extinction and undermining indigenous hunting cultures, the report says. (((Weather in Belgrade today, December 4, 02004 – damp, stifling and grimy. Tomorrow – a toasty 17 degrees centigrade.)))
"In turn, a global thaw could push up sea levels by almost a meter (3
ft) by 2100, according to U.N.
projections, threatening to sink low-lying Pacific island states like Tuvalu or the Marshall Islands or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
"With their homes under threat, many indigenous peoples in the Arctic and islanders say the United States, the world's biggest polluter, bears much of the blame for global warming after Washington rejected caps on emissions under the 128-nation Kyoto protocol. (((Naturally, everybody blames the most stubborn party for any general crisis. "USA – the Serbia of Global Warming.")))
"Watt-Cloutier said that she had talks with officials from Samoa and Vanuatu in the Pacific and Jamaica in the Caribbean (((Jamaican Olympic Bobsled Team))) and planned to widen contacts with other island states at a U.N. meeting in Buenos Aires next month. ((("Buenos" Aires.)))
"In terms of a communications strategy we can start working together, mobilizing ourselves at various U.N. forums or global negotiations sessions to turn up as a team," she said. ((("There's only one way to deal with this ruckus – fire Kofi Annan and abolish the UN. Ha! Let's see 'em find a venue for their left-wing jawing then!")))
"The Inuit plan to file a petition to a commission of the Organization of American States, hoping that it will brand global warming a human rights abuse by the United States. ((("No problem, we already abolished the international courts!")))
"And some Pacific island states have separately spoken of filing lawsuits against Washington for global warming. ((("Okay, fine, fine, we'll buy your whole damn little islands – put it on the deficit tab!")))
"Watt-Cloutier said the cooperation began at a U.N. meeting in Milan last year when Samoa agreed to mention the Arctic in a speech about vulnerable areas. "We try to find new ways to put ourselves on the map so that's how it started," she said.
Entering 'Kyoto' Years, Warming World Wonders what Lies Beyond (((Your Menu: Epidemics, Energy Crises, Resource Wars, Drought, Famine, Oil Peakage, Gigantic Typhoons and Hurricanes, "Mad Max" Characters Mournfully Eating Dog Food Out of Old Cans While Remarking "I Remember Lingerie")))
"November 29, 2004 – By Charles J. Hanley, Associated Press
"The ice is melting and the heat is on for international delegates assembling in Buenos Aires next week to find new ways to confront global warming under the 194-nation treaty on climate change. ((("Our best new tactic – flee the room whenever American diplomats emerge from their neocon bunkers.")))
"The treaty?s Kyoto Protocol, requiring initial cuts in 'greenhouse gas' emissions by 2012, finally comes into force in February, seven years after it was negotiated. Next, European governments want the annual treaty conference – Dec. 6-17 in the Argentine capital – to get down to talks on steps beyond 2012 to limit heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. (((Latest Philippines typhoon news: over 1,000 dead and missing.)))
"'We are, in fact, only at the beginning of what we need to do,' Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's outgoing environment chief, recently told European Parliament members. ((("So I, Margot, did pretty much nothing, but, well, so long!")))
"But the U.S. government, which rejects Kyoto and its mandatory controls, balks at that idea. (((The U.S. government balks at the very idea of "ideas.")))
"'We think it's premature to be discussing post-Kyoto 2012 arrangements," Paula J. Dobriansky, the undersecretary of state who will head the U.S. delegation, said in an interview. (((Isn't it time this weary flak-catcher retired, too? I've been watching Paula balk and backpedal for years now.)))
"Instead, she said, she will use the conference to spotlight Bush administration efforts to develop cleaner energy technologies and ways to capture and safely store carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. (((As if.))) Developing countries, facing possible emissions controls for the first time after 2012, also have resisted opening talks about the "post-Kyoto" future. (((Unless they're Arctic or tropical islands, that is, in which case they can rename themselves "drowning countries.")))
"That debate will go on in the corridors at Buenos Aires, while the formal meeting agenda puts a 'major, major emphasis' on adapting to climate change, said the Dutch head of the treaty secretariat, Joke Waller-Hunter. (((So, uh, "Joke" – would a worldwide Dutch dike-building initiative be in the cards?)))
"Small islands and low-lying lands such as Bangladesh worry over rising seas. Poor nations face possible water shortages if warmth washes away glaciers. (((Rich countries like Switzerland can just buy themselves new glaciers, presumably.))) Climate change may kill off traditional crops. (((And any people who traditionally eat.)))
"'Developing countries don't have capacity to deal with climate-related risk," Waller-Hunter said. They're seeking more technical and financial help to predict and cope with changed climates.
"The focus on adaptation also suggests that warming is having an impact sooner than many anticipated. ((("None so blind as those who will not see.")))
"A report Nov. 8 by the intergovernmental Arctic Council, based on a four-year study by 300 scientists, said average winter temperatures in the Arctic have increased as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 50 years. Permafrost is thawing, buckling roads. The extent of Arctic Sea ice is shrinking. Polar bears and other animals are threatened. Satellite images show the summer melting area of the Greenland ice cap moving far inland. If it melts entirely, over hundreds of years, it could raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet (7 meters), the report said.
"As for global temperatures, U.S. scientists last April reported NASA satellite readings showed an average increase of 0.77 degrees Fahrenheit between 1981 and 1998. The temperature rise is consistent with carbon-dioxide warming, scientists say.
"Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuels burned in everything from automobiles to electricity plants, rose to a seasonal peak record of 379 parts per million in the atmosphere last March, up from 330 just 30 years ago.
"Under the umbrella climate treaty, which took effect in 1994, governments pledged to limit emissions. But it wasn't until the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that they set quotas for industrial nations. By 2012 the European Union, for example, would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases by 8 percent below 1990 levels, Japan by 6 percent, and the United States by 7 percent.
"The Americans, responsible for one-quarter of the world's emissions, subsequently withdrew their support. (((A quarter of the emissions – a hundred percent of the blame game.))) But 30 other industrial nations will be subject to Kyoto's mandates as of Feb. 16, now that Russia has ratified the pact as required.
"A European emissions trading system also begins operation in the new year, enabling companies that emit less gas than allowed to sell unused "carbon credits" to others that overshoot their targets.
"Although the Bush administration rejects Kyoto, northeastern U.S. states are moving toward capping carbon dioxide on their own and allowing emissions trading. California, meanwhile, has acted to reduce auto emissions sharply. (((Look at that. Wow.)))
"Such state-level actions, combined with international emissions trading and Kyoto's coming into force, make it 'harder and harder for the U.S. to say we're just not going to participate," said Eileen Claussen, president of Washington's private Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
"A veteran Brazilian climate negotiator, meanwhile, (((amazingly, people in the monde diplomatique listen with hushed attention to Brazilians now))) said his and other developing countries, such as China, are increasingly concerned about climate change's impact and open to 'the idea that everyone should do his part.' (((Yeah, let's all starve and smother in global fraternity!)))"Like others studying the issues, Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho foresees, 'post-Kyoto,' a more complex web of both rigid and less binding commitments – to certain technologies, to emissions quotas for some and 'goals' for others, varying from country to country. (((Kind of like the loose yet active networking of the Saddam Hussein UN oil-for-food bribery scheme, basically.))) Informal discussions will begin at Buenos Aires, he predicted, and "it will take one or two years to get a mandate to negotiate a post-Kyoto regime."