Expectations Being Lowered For Copenhagen

Oct 07, 2009
Author: SCP Editor

October 7, 2009 - As Copenhagen nears, we are getting no closer to any consensus amongst developed and developing nations about how to arrive at an acceptable global framework to address climate change. The divisions cut across geographic, economic and political lines.  

In the EU, where a proposal is in the works to for its members to commit $22 billion annually, Poland is pushing back, saying that as a poor country, it should not be subject to the same payments as, say, Germany. But then, Poland is one of the dirtiest countries in the EU, relying almost exclusively on coal to produce its power. It could get worse for Poland, if the EU determines that the payments should be weighted against the carbon contribution of each member state.

To be sure, there are so many groups weighing in on the global framework, including the G7, the G20 and the G77. So what does the G77 think? Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states (representing 130 countries) said “It is clear now that the rich countries want a deal outside the Kyoto agreement. It would be based on a total rejection of their historical responsibilities. This is an alarming development. The intention of developed countries is clearly to kill the protocol."  

Here in the U.S. the Obama administration has admitted it doesn’t expect any legislation coming out of Congress ahead of the Copenhagen meetings, and we doubt that any serious legislation will come out after either. There is just too much political heat on the issue and the Democrats clearly don’t have the political will to deal pushing legislation which has been effectively branded as more spending and taxes to the American consumer, ahead of the next election cycle.  

The GOP is leveraging the international debate between developing and developed nations to build opposition here in the U.S. to legislation in Congress that would, as it contends, unfairly tax and handicap American businesses in the international markets.  

Well, Obama will do what he can in this environment to show the rest of the world that the U.S. is taking some steps, however feckless those steps may appear to be in the broader debate. Obama signed an executive order this week which requires federal agencies to set targets for reducing greenhouse gases. The agencies will have 90 days to provide plans for measuring and reducing GHGs from buildings and vehicles by 2020. The order also addresses petroleum use, water conservation and waste reduction.


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