Viridian Note 00258: Kyoto RedeemedBruce Sterling [email@example.com]
Key concepts: Kyoto treaty, US diplomatic isolation, Bonn summit, commentary by diplomats, European Union, Japan, Jan Pronk, Seattle
Attention Conservation Notice: it's a bunch of international diplomats spouting off about what they just got done in Bonn, Germany. Contains a plethora of acidic and tactless remarks by irrepressible Pope-Emperor. Over 1,800 words about climate politics.
"What they said at the Bonn climate conference
"BONN, Germany == Here are some quotes from key players at the climate summit in Bonn where world governments clinched a historic deal yesterday to save the Kyoto protocol on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
"CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN AND DUTCH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER JAN PRONK
"'We had made a promise. Citizens, the electorate, people did expect us to reach a result,' he said. (((Unless these people worked for ExxonMobil, Halliburton, the GCC or the Bush Administration, that is. In which case they didn't expect this result to be reached at all. It must feel mighty odd.)))
"'We felt that we needed that result not only for climate reasons but also to show that multilateral negotiations within the framework of the United Nations do make sense.' ((("It's not so much that we got concrete results; but it was really insulting to be treated like a bunch of potted plants.")))
"'Now that globalisation is meeting so much criticism it is extremely important to show that global developments...can be met and addressed by global responsible decision-making. That augurs well for other developments on our earth,' he said. (((Wow, those soggy Dutch guys in their marshy little country sure are tenacious. You'd think their homeland was important or something.)))
"EUROPEAN UNION ENVIRONMENT COMMISSIONER MARGOT WALLSTROM
"'We have rescued the Kyoto protocol,' she said. 'We can
go home and look our children in the eye and feel proud of
what we have done.'
((("And here at the United States E.P.A., we feel *just the same way,* Madame Minister Wallstrom! Our children are just as proud of us as yours are, and we also stand up straight when we look into our soot-stained mirrors, and <broken sob> I can't go on like this! <anguished wail> We're enemies of all mankind! We're owned lock, stock and barrel by the world's biggest and stupidest corporation! Please, please, please, can you ever forgive us.... <grief-choked moaning>")))
"'It is a compromise but it is a deal, but we will have to adapt it and adjust it in the years to come,' she said. 'We are happy, tired but happy.' ((("Years to come" being the operative phrase here. Guess where the 2003 climate conference is gonna be held? Russia.)))
"'We were capable of showing the United States and our citizens and the NGOs that we could come to an agreement without the United States.' (((Quite an achievement. Really. For your next trick, let's see you run your economies without oil and coal.)))
"BELGIAN ENERGY MINISTER AND EU NEGOTIATOR OLIVIER DELEUZE
"'From the beginning... Europe has had a very clear and cohesive attitude on this. Some people have tried to portray this as being naive or anti-economy, but I think Europe as a whole has played a very positive role.'
"'Without chauvinism, arrogance, in a spirit of cooperation, this accord is important for Europe,' he said.
"'Almost every country in the world has chosen to stay in the Kyoto process,' he said. 'One country not playing the game is one too much.' (((So much for the canard that "European leadership is an oxymoron.")))
"PAULA DOBRIANSKY, U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS
(((Booooh!!!! Hiss!!! <sounds of tear- gas canisters, shattering glass, and ominous chants of "our streets, our streets">)))
"'The Bush administration takes the issue of climate change very seriously and we will not abdicate our responsibilities,' she said. ((("Those responsibilities, primarily, being to pay back the huge campaign sums we wangled from our former employers, the fossil fuel industries.")))
"'Although the United States does not intend to ratify that agreement we have not tried to stop others from moving ahead as long as U.S. interests are not threatened,' she said. (((You'd think it would be pretty "threatening to US interests" to be diplomatically outmaneuvered and made to look like total cheese-eating idiots, but what do we Viridians know.))) 'It does not change our view that the protocol is not sound policy.' (((Making the best of a very bad scene here... Keep catching that flak, Paula; if it wasn't you, it'd just be some other suffering State Dept. flunky.)))
"JAPANESE ENVIRONMENT MINISTER YORIKO KAWAGUCHI
(((pleasant chime of kotos, mellow ring of cash registers)))
"'The government of Japan is pleased to join in the consensus,' she said. 'Today's agreement is a vital step forward into realising into force the Kyoto protocol by 2002.'
"'We should try to encourage all our friends to join us in our common effort to address global warming,' she said. ((("That would include our former friends in that large dirty continent across the Pacific."))) 'Global warming requires us to mobilise our wisdom and courage as we sail across uncharted seas into the future discussions.' (((This doubtless sounded even more flowery in Ms Kawaguchi's native tongue.)))
"AUSTRALIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ROBERT HILL (((large clanking noises, rumble of coal trucks)))
"'Most important is that the international community...has shown a determination to address this major environmental, social and economic challenge. We are still only making very tentative steps along a very long road,' he said. ((("Please don't strike yet, Aussie coal miners! You'll be shipping product for years to come!")))
"BRITISH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MICHAEL MEACHER (((cue the remaining Spice Girls)))
"'It's a brilliant day for the environment,' he said. 'It's a huge leap to have achieved a result on this very complex international negotiation. It's a huge relief.' (((Way to go Airstrip One!)))
"BAGHIR ADASI, IRAN AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS
((("'Rogue nation?' 'Fanatical regime?' Oh, you must mean those Yankee guys!")))
"'The success of Bonn is the very direct outcome of dialogue, mutual understanding and a sense of engagement,' he said.'This represents the triumph of multinationalism over unilateralism.'" (((Rushdie's living in New York.)))
"NEW ZEALAND DELEGATE PETER HODGSON
"'We have delivered probably the most comprehensive and difficult agreement in human history,' he said. ((("And I had to sit through it.")))
"JENNIFER MORGAN, DIRECTOR OF WWF CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN
(((staccato rattle of champagne corks)))
"'This first small step is a giant leap for humanity and for the future of our planet,' she said.
"'The agreement is a geopolitical earthquake,' she said. 'Other countries have demonstrated their independence from the Bush administration on the world's most critical environmental problem.'
"GREENPEACE ACTIVIST BILL HARE (((cue electric guitars)))
"'It shows that George Bush is totally isolated in the climate debate,' he said. (((Aw come on now; Dick Cheney's right down the hall...)))
"PHILIP CLAPP, PRESIDENT OF U.S. NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
'It is a major foreign policy defeat for President Bush. Japan was in the hot seat of world opinion with the fate of the treaty in its lap,' he said. (((Uh, yeah.)))
"ROBERT WATSON, MEMBER OF INTERNATIONAL PANEL ON CLIMATE
CHANGE, THE U.N. SCIENCE BODY
"'It's an extremely important first step,' he said. 'It will result in reduced emissions in those countries that ratify.' (((Well, we'll see. In any case, these people, who representing some 95% of the planet's population, must feel like they all earned their salaries. Meanwhile, on the US domestic front, in (where else) Seattle....)))
"Seattle adopts Kyoto limits, scolds Bush ((("High-tech city secedes from US, re-joins global economy")))
"SEATTLE == Seattle officials yesterday said the city would meet greenhouse gas reduction targets in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and blasted President George W. Bush for pulling out of the international treaty.
"'We are sending a message to the federal administration that it is time to act, just like the rest of the world,' Mayor Paul Schell told a press conference. ((("We're not like him, folks! We're one of you!")))
"Dubbed the Emerald City for its lush urban forests and boasting some of the greenest power and waste programs in the nation, Seattle pledged to beat the Kyoto goal to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent from 1990 levels and try to cut three times that much.
"Largely through conservation and purchases of wind power, Seattle will meet rising local electricity demand without spewing more greenhouse gases over the next decade and will offset its entire emission load by planting trees, reducing road traffic and recycling industrial waste and heat. (((How hard can that be, ladies and gentlemen? It's a lot of work and it costs some money, but would we rather destroy the sky?)))
"The mitigation would cost city-owned utility Seattle City Light about $3 million a year, a tiny fraction of the half billion-dollar annual budget, officials said, rejecting Bush's assertion that the Kyoto treaty would wreck local economies. (((Well then. Piece o' cake.)))
"The United States is the world's biggest polluter and the only major power to pull out of the Kyoto treaty, although the remaining signatories yesterday agreed to adhere to the targets anyway at a meeting in Bonn. (((That's some paragraph there, isn't it? That is so humiliating. What a filthy, stupid thing. This behavior would disgrace a small child in a sandbox.)))
"'It's a scandal that the White House won't step up to (the issue) and Seattle has to,' said City Councilor Jim Compton.
"(...) Praise rolled in from various green groups for Seattle's efforts to go 'climate neutral.'
"'Seattle Mayor Paul Schell is providing the environmental leadership that is so obviously lacking in Washington, D.C.,' said Daniel Lashof, head climate scientist at the National Resources Defense Council. ((("We forgive him for pepper-gassing our turtle protesters back in '99!")))"(...) Schell said he had not talked directly to Bush but noted that Bush's Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman had expressed an interest in local conservation programs during a recent visit. (((The ol' "divide 'n' rule" gambit.))) "Schell hopes to marshal support from other U.S. municipalities before taking Seattle's arguments directly to the White House. (((It's the "nuclear-free zone" NIMBY movement in a carbon-free guise.)))
(Now, the scary part.))) "Beyond addressing local demand for green policies, Seattle officials also see themselves on the front line of the global warming debate, with big potential environmental threats right in their own backyard.
"Two years of drought have drained the region's reservoirs, rivers and mountain snowpack to dangerously low levels, forcing a temporary shutdown of a dozen hydroelectricity-powered aluminum smelters, pitting farmers against salmon in a battle for precious water and disrupting power supplies up and down the west coast.
"'The cost of not acting could be extraordinarily high. At its current pace global warming will reduce the region's snowpack by 50 percent over the next 50 years, threatening drinking water, irrigation and hydroelectric supplies,' the city said in a statement."
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