Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hokkaido Toyako ≠ Kyoto

At the G8 summit in Hokkaido Toyako yesterday, the "group of five" developing nations invited to discuss global climate change issues--China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa--refused to endorse the G8's flimsy pledge to cut carbon emissions 50% by 2050. Three other nations invited to the talks by the summit's Japanese hosts--Australia, Indonesia, and South Korea--tried to work a compromise, but the best they could produce was a vague statement that global climate change was a problem.

Incredibly, the New York Times today ran the very misleading headline, "Emerging Nations Join G-8 on Climate Goals," along with a picture of smiling leaders standing together. But the truth is this photo-op was all they agreed upon. There was no agreement on targets or timetables, and indeed the real news story reported in the rest of the world was the failure to reach meaningful agreement--considered a major embarrassment. Shame on the Times for parroting the Bush administration's propaganda on this one.

The group of five developing nations insisted on a two-tiered structure for cuts: developed nations would cut emissions between 25 and 40 percent by 2020--that is, real cuts up front--and in return, developing countries would slash their own emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050. The shape of this proposal lays bare the truth about the G8's cynical "pledge" to cut emissions: the only pledge that means anything is to make real cuts in the forseable future. Nations could promise one million percent reductions by 2050 and the end result would still be just a lot of hot air.

4 comments:

The Law Talking Guy said...

Developing nations would prefer to develop to the level of the Western powers (with much larger carbon emissions), *then* cut back carbon emissions by 50%. This is not altogether surprising, is it? And of course developed nations don't want to cut back on emissions if developing nations will belch forth pollution at uncontrolled rates making the economic sacrifice pointless. So the solution would seem to be to ask developed nations to cut back, say, 50%, then ask developing nations to control the rate of growth over the next 20 years, then follow a curve where, by 2050, they are starting to reduce.

But nobody listens to me.

USwest said...

I agree with LTG on this point. When I hear that Tata Motors in India is producing a tiny vehicle that will get something like 40 miles to the gallon for around US$2500, I cringe. Imagine 1 billion Indian's or even the Chinese abandoning their bikes for cars that belch gas? Of course, they need roads first, which will mean new pavement that will only heat things up more. Chinese carbon emissions surpass those of the US simply because of the number of people they have and their rapid, but haphazard development.

I'm sorry, but the technology is available now that developing nations should be able to develop without high rates of emissions. And the knowledge is there as well. I don't buy the argument that emissions reduction is some secret plot to keep developing nations from developing. Why shouldn't they avoid making our mistakes from the get go? To LTG's proposal, I'd say open up technology transfers. And start attaching environmental requirements to trade agreements. I know we are doing some of that already. No, those aren't trade barriers if it is a question of global survivial. Get the GATT to agree to that. And I'd force US companies opening factories abroad to respect US EPA regulations. Then I'd lobby my western allies to do the same. Rather than agreeing to things with the developing nations, let's just start doing something on our own. And let's be bold about it. Let's be the moral example.

I firmly believe that progress will come from the grassroots as the gas prices rise. And remeber that air quality improved drastically in this country when we went from leaded to unleaded gas!

The British learned when they cleaned up their factories and suddenly the fogs disappeared.

When the Chinese see how clean their air can be when the more polluting factories close for the Olympics, they may pressure the government to keep them closed until they clean up their act.

And when developing nations see that wealth can be built and maintained while using green technologies, they will want them, too.

Raised By Republicans said...

The problem with the developing countries is that we aren't developing clean cars (we're the ones who killed the electric car, remember?) and we won't let them generate power with nuclear power plants. India and China of course may use nuclear power but most developing countries that try to develope nuclear power are viewed with deep suspicion (often justifiably).

The really crucial development we need to push is an alternative to oiled fueld cars and coal fueled power plants.

All that said, US West is right that the developing countries have a "late developers' advantage" in that they can go from pre-industrial levels straight to the new Green economy if they play their cards right.

We should subsidize their efforts to do just that. And guess where most of that new green technology is being developed? That's right, in the developed world. There is a lot of money to be made by developing green technologies and selling them to the developing world.

Raised By Republicans said...

The problem with the developing countries is that we aren't developing clean cars (we're the ones who killed the electric car, remember?) and we won't let them generate power with nuclear power plants. India and China of course may use nuclear power but most developing countries that try to develope nuclear power are viewed with deep suspicion (often justifiably).

The really crucial development we need to push is an alternative to oiled fueld cars and coal fueled power plants.

All that said, US West is right that the developing countries have a "late developers' advantage" in that they can go from pre-industrial levels straight to the new Green economy if they play their cards right.

We should subsidize their efforts to do just that. And guess where most of that new green technology is being developed? That's right, in the developed world. There is a lot of money to be made by developing green technologies and selling them to the developing world.