China, India, once again get virtual pass on CO2 emissions in new climate deal
The Kyoto climate treaty was scuttled by the Senate on a vote of 96-0. The reason for it was simple; China and India, two rapidly growing competitors to the US in the economic sphere, were able to carve out special exemptions on CO2 emissions that gave them an unfair competitive advantage over the US.
Fast forward to today and the Warsaw climate agreement in which both emerging economic powers were once again able to get reduced emission goals out of the international community.
Dozens of countries reached a climate change agreement in Warsaw on Saturday, overcoming a rift between developing and more established economies.
In the talks, fast-growing economies like China and India won more lenient climate change guidelines than the U.S. and European countries originally wanted.
Countries will now make "contributions" toward reducing emissions over the next two years, instead of "commitments," after what media reports described as negotiations that helped drive the U.N. talks in Warsaw into an extra day.
Todd Stern, the federal government's special envoy for climate change, said Warsaw "was quite a tough negotiation" but also "quite useful."
"This is a quintessentially global problem, so you have to have action all over the world. Climate change isn't local - the carbon you emit anywhere in the world affects everywhere in the world," Stern said.
"It gives a strong message to civil society and the private sector that this is going to be dealt with at the global level."
Developing and developed countries have long been on different pages when it comes to tackling climate change.
But even a narrow agreement at Warsaw, where close to 200 countries took part, could help lay the groundwork for a longer-term agreement in 2015. Negotiators are scheduled to meet in Paris that year to discuss a potential global climate change agreement.
On Twitter, Connie Hedegaad, the European Union's commissioner for climate action, acknowledged the difficulty negotiators had in finding an agreement. "I'm sure there are more comfortable ways" to Paris in 2015, she sad, "but now we can move forward."
Outside groups pushing for action on climate change said, that while the U.N. efforts in Warsaw might have found an agreement, countries still need to pick up the pace.
"In the nick of time, negotiators in Warsaw delivered just enough to keep things moving," said Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute.
"World leaders better get their act together quickly. If they show up empty-handed in 2015 and don't secure a strong international agreement, they'll be known as the generation that clearly saw the growing threat of global climate change, and failed to try to stop it," said Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Let's get something straight. If the world has to act now, this minute, with no delay, on climate change - it's probably already too late and we're doomed. That's been the dirty little secret that global warming hysterics forget to mention when pushing their radical, anti-development agenda. It will take many decades - if the theories and models are correct - to reduce emissions enough for any kind of positive impact on the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. If things are that bad already, might was well party down and emit to our heart's content.
As for China and India, China emits far more greenhouse gas than the US and Western Europe while India isn't far behind the US.. But since they know full well that no agreement is possible without their consent, they are able to wrest huge concessions from the rest of the world just so that the bureaucrats can say it's truly a global agreement.
As far as the practical effect on global emissions of CO2 - this agreement won't lower the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by one, single, molecule. That's not half as important as politicians being seen "doing something about the problem. Whether it's meaningless or not is another story.