Subject: Viridian Note 00278: Kyoto Soldiers On

Key concepts: Kyoto climate treaty, Marrakesh, COP-7

Attention Conservation Notice: It's about climate politics. Over 2,500 words of diplomatic wheeze.

Links: Enron doesn't want to do Kyoto, but they still imagine that they have all kinds of clout at the WTO. html aysheadlines "Enron's stock is plunging, and questions about its finances are mounting." Gosh, and to think that just a few months ago they more or less owned California.

Source: Reuters

"Story by Gilles Trequesser

"UPDATE - Key climate change talks start in Morocco

MOROCCO: October 30, 2001

"MARRAKESH, Morocco == U.N. talks to seal an unprecedented climate change treaty got under way in Marrakesh yesterday with the world's biggest polluter, the United States, taking a back seat.

"The 2,000 delegates from 160 countries have two weeks to set out in legal detail principles adopted in Bonn in July on making significant cuts in the next decade in emissions of the 'greenhouse gases' blamed for raising the earth's temperature.

(((Okay, imagine you're a delegate from one of these 160 countries (who are not the United States), and you're all in some big hotel in a Moslem country. What do you suppose you want to talk about?)))

"The treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol and forged in 1997 in Japan, must be ratified by a majority of industrial nations responsible for global warming in order to take effect.

"It aims to cut emissions of greenhouses gases by an average of five percent from 1990 levels by 2012. (((As we Viridians have frequently noted, this goal implies spewing greenhouse gases of the level of about 1988, forever.)))

"'In Marrakesh, the focus will be on completing the translation of the Bonn agreements into legal language,' Dutch Environment Minister and outgoing conference chairman Jan Pronk told the opening plenary session.

"A last-minute political compromise on the main issues was reached in Bonn three months ago and the Marrakesh session is expected to produce a legally binding document.

"'You can put the icing on the Bonn cake,' Pronk told delegates, urging them to set aside political differences. 'Don't renegotiate a political agreement already reached, just work it out,' he said. ((("And work it out before you clowns drown my beloved Dutch homeland, large expanses of which are already subaqueous.")))

"U.S. DELEGATION ON SIDELINES (((in their flak jackets)))

"The environmental group Greenpeace sounded a less optimistic note, saying rules already agreed were so weak that they were unlikely to lead to a reduction of greenhouse emissions.

"'Even the Protocol's nominal target of a five percent reduction hardly started the process of making the 80 percent reductions needed to prevent dangerous levels of climate change,' said Bill Hare, Greenpeace climate policy director. ((("Hi, I'm Bill Hare of Greenpeace, and I'll be playing the role of Banquo in William Shakespeare's immortal 'Macbeth.'")))

"The Marrakesh conference 'must not be muddled with diplomatic doubletalk...the processes that underpin the Protocol must be transparent and open for public participation,' he added in a communique. ((("In fact, it's already so transparent that we've seen through the whole threadbare charade.")))

"The United States pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in March, calling it flawed and harmful to the U.S. economy. (((What's left of it.)))

"Though represented in Marrakesh, Washington == the world's biggest industrial power and biggest polluter == is not expected to play an active role, delegates said. This made the support of the 15 European Union countries and Russia vital to the success of the meeting. (((Let's face it, it's high time the lot of 'em ditched that jittery hyperpower and succeeded at something.)))

"The treaty will enter into force if ratified by 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of emissions in 1990. Russia produced about 17 percent of those 11 years ago. (((When Russia still had an economy.)))

"So far, 40 nations have ratified the treaty.

"Michael Zummit Cutajar, executive secretary of the Climate Change Convention, said there were no obstacles on major issues. ((("Because Exxon's not here.")))

"From Russia 'what's on the table is larger allowances for the use of sinks,' he told a news conference. (((Since the next major Kyoto meeting is in Russia, they're not real likely to queer that deal.)))

"'Sinks' is jargon for the forests and farms that absorb carbon from the earth's atmosphere. The deal allows Russia, Japan and Canada to use these widely to reach their goals. (((Hey wow, somebody noticed Canada.)))


"Moroccan Environment Minister Mohamed El Yazghi, who was elected conference chairman, said last months's suicide attacks on New York and Washington had shocked everyone, but the U.N. climate talks were a clear answer to those who thought they could stop human progress.

"'We don't have the right to fail', Yazghi told delegates, urging them to avoid raising new demands. (((That's right == the chairman is a diplomat named Mohamed who is talking perfect sense.)))

"Acknowledging that world attention might be focused on the U.S.-led strikes on Afghanistan, he said climatic dangers were not the least of the dangers threatening mankind, which must act as one family.

"Organisers also stressed the importance of the venue, in Africa and in a Muslim country. (((Kinda hard to miss, given the circumstances.)))

"'Widespread poverty, recurrent drought and floods, and dependence on rainfed agriculture, forestry and fisheries make this continent and its people most vulnerable to climate change,' said Zummit Cutajar. (((It's hard to think of anything that Africa is the least vulnerable to, except maybe dotcom crashes.)))

"Security was tight at the first international conference since the September 11 attacks and all mail addressed to the conference was being checked for anthrax. (((There may be some international venue somewhere that's not being checked for anthrax, but I doubt it. How could the attendees tolerate such disrespect?)))

"The Marrakesh meeting, attended by some 4,000 people including non-governmental organisations and the press, is known as COP7, the seventh conference of the parties to a U.N. treaty signed in 1992 at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro."

(((Next, a handy chronology of just how little the New World Order has accomplished politically in the past ten years.)))


"UK: October 29, 2001

"LONDON - U.N. climate talks on a pact to limit global warming resume today with the world's main polluter, the United States, on the sidelines. (...) ((("Sidelines," "backseat," it just can't be repeated too often.)))

"Here is a chronology of some of the major political events since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.


"June == World leaders end their Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro pledging to do their utmost to prevent environmental ruin and alleviate poverty.

"The main achievement of the Earth Summit is a treaty to reduce emissions of 'greenhouse gases' which help trap heat in the atmosphere and are believed to be a cause of global warming.

"Nations adopt 1990 as the benchmark year at the summit in which industrialised countries agree to take voluntary steps to cut emissions to that year's levels. Most countries, other than Germany and Great Britain, have failed to meet that goal. (((And hey, Russia.)))

"Sep 30 - The U.S. space agency reports that the 'ozone hole' over Antarctica grew 15 percent in 1992 and is now nearly the size of the entire North American continent. The Antarctic ozone hole, first spotted in 1985, is caused by the depletion of the Earth-shielding ozone layer which is eroded by human-made chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons, known as CFCs.


"May 20 == U.S. scientists report that they have invented a computer model for predicting the effects of global warming on crops and forests. They find that the growth rate of plants is affected by the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, by nitrogen in soil and by temperature and moisture changes caused by global warming.

"Oct 20 == U.S. President Bill Clinton announces an ambitious plan to combat global warming. Under the plan, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would be cut to 1990 levels by 2000 through over 50 initiatives affecting all sectors of the economy. ((("Over everybody else's dead body,' stoutly declares Global Climate Coalition as they hire hordes of spin doctors.)))


"June 1 - The international environmental group, Greenpeace announces in a report entitled 'The Climate Timebomb', that global warming is causing severe climatic changes and environmental disasters around the world.


"Feb 3 - Only slight global warming has occurred in the last 100 years and there is no sign of it producing more hurricanes, tornadoes or other extreme climate changes, Accu-Weather Inc. says in a report for the Global Climate Coalition, a business trade association seeking a voice in scientific research. ((("Seeking a voice;" deftly stifling dozens of others.)))


"Feb 20 - Environment ministers from the world's leading economic powers agree that developing and industrial nations alike must do more to battle global warming and chemicals that deplete the ozone layer after a two-day meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development environment ministers in Paris.

"Jul 18 - A pledge by major industrial powers to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from oil and coal wins wide support and is put into the official record at a United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Geneva.


"Dec 11 - The world's first treaty to reduce greenhouse gases finally emerges after marathon talks in Kyoto, Japan. Under the Kyoto agreement, industrial nations are committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-12.


"November - Around 170 nations gather at the United Nations global warming conference in Buenos Aires to discuss ways of cutting emissions of greenhouse gases by 2008-2012.

"Specialists from the U.S. and Canada tell the summit that global warming is killing the world's coral reefs, and with them the swarming sea life they shelter and support.


"Nov 4 - Environment ministers from 173 countries meeting in Bonn end talks without any breakthroughs and with many difficult issues remaining unresolved. One involves the penalties payable if nations do not meet their pollution targets. Another is the extent to which nations will be able to pay others to reduce pollution on their behalf.


"Apr 9 - Environment ministers of the G8 nations end talks calling for the early ratification of a global warming accord but paper over other differences on cutting greenhouse gases.

"Sep 8 - Scientists from the U.S. space agency NASA report the largest ozone hole ever observed has opened up over Antarctica, a sign that ozone-depleting gases churned out years ago are just now taking their greatest toll.

"Nov 25 - A two-week U.N. climate conference ends in failure in The Hague after a bitter dispute between the EU and the U.S. over how to curb greenhouse gas emissions.


"Mar 28 - The U.S. abandons the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming. President George W. Bush opposes the treaty, saying it is against U.S. economic interests.

"Apr 26 - The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly slams the U.S. decision, saying it casts doubt on Washington's reliability as a global partner.

"July 23 - Environment ministers meeting in Germany, reach a last-minute compromise deal to salvage the Kyoto accord on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, despite the withdrawal of the U.S. from negotiations this year.

"Aug 1 - Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program, says the international pact struck in Bonn will serve as an important base for future agreements but will not reduce toxic gas emissions by the targeted amounts.

"Oct 23 - The E.U. presents a package of measures on climate change, decisive to enable the Union to respect its undertakings under the Kyoto Protocol. The measures include a draft Directive on a greenhouse gas emissions trading system within the EU

(((Meanwhile, back in Morocco...)))


Story by Robin Pomeroy

"'Climate saviour' EU calls world to ratify Kyoto

EU: October 29, 2001

"BRUSSELS - There will be no excuse for countries delaying implementation of a four-year old pact on global warming once the rules are finalised in the next two weeks, the head of the European Union delegation said last week.

"The 15-country European Union has styled itself as the saviour of the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gases which the United States pulled out of in March. But the EU needs the support of most other industrialised countries to bring the deal into force.

"Belgian energy minister Olivier Deleuze said international climate talks that start in Marrakesh, Morocco, today must result in a legally binding text spelling out Kyoto's rules, clearly showing its economic impact on participants.

"'If we come to an agreement in Marrakesh then it will be quite difficult for countries to say they don't have enough information to say whether they will ratify or not,' Deleuze told Reuters in an interview. (((Stern warning there, huh? Whoa!)))

"Belgium currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, which represents the 15-nation bloc at international talks. (((Belgium Saviour of World; Grateful Mankind Agrees To Learn Flemish and French.)))

"'If the United States has the same behaviour as they had in Bonn, that will be fine by me,' he said. ((("Shut up and sit down, deadbeats.")))

"The United States, which will attend Marrakesh as a party to the 1992 U.N. framework convention on climate change which spawned Kyoto, has said it would not disrupt other countries' progress on the pact unless it risked damaging U.S. interests. (((Whatever's left of them.)))

"Although the hijacked airliner attacks on New York and Washington and the subsequent 'war on terrorism' have hogged the headlines since September 11, Deleuze said climate change would remain a crucial issue for international diplomacy.

"'I am not convinced (climate change) is less important because of September 11, maybe it is even more important.'" (((Yeah it is, unless you think physics stops dead in its tracks while people are getting shot.)))


"US may be isolated at Kyoto talks - minister ((("Here's our chair, guys, this isolated sideline backseat.")))

"MOROCCO: October 29, 2001

"RABAT - The United States may seem isolated at global warming talks next week at a time when it seeks global cooperation to fight terrorism, a Moroccan government minister said last week. ((("Seem"? Has al-Jazeera contacted Osama on this issue?)))

"The United States in March pulled out of the Kyoto pact - a 1997 international accord on cutting greenhouse emissions - after President George W. Bush called it 'fatally flawed' and contrary to U.S. economic interests. (((Plenty flawed -- and a little more fatal every day.)))

"'We'd wish they (the Americans) were not outside (the pact), especially after September 11,' Environment Minister Mohamed El Yazghi told Reuters in an interview.

"'Their interest is clearly not to be isolated but they run the risk of appearing to defend only their own interests,' he said. ((("And one of these days, we might figure out who to blame when we're stacking sandbags.")))

(...) "Although world attention is on the fight against terrorism and U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan after last month's suicide airliner attacks on the New York and Washington, experts said environmental issues are here to stay. (((Where are they supposed to go, exactly?)))

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