imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Greenhouse gas 'plan B' gaining support

by Fred Pearce Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003 at 2:43 AM

While the Contraction & Convergence model seems anathema to countries like the US, which would have to buy large numbers of pollution credits in the early years. But it does meet most of the criticisms made by the Bush administration of the Kyoto protocol., December 10, 2003

The Kyoto protocol is dying a death of a thousand cuts. Last week, the US reiterated that it wants nothing to do with the sole international agreement designed to save the world from runaway global warming.

The European Union, Kyoto's main promoter, revealed that most of its members will not meet their treaty's obligations. And Russia once again seemed to be on the point of wrecking the protocol completely.

These blows follow a history of bureaucratic squabbling and political posturing by the protocol's signatories, and many observers now fear that it has been damaged beyond repair. So does the world have a plan B for bringing the emissions of greenhouse gases under control?

Contraction & Convergence model

The answer is yes, and it goes by the name "contraction and convergence", or C&C. The idea has been around for a decade, but lately it has been gaining ever more influential converts, such as the UK's Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the UN Environment Programme, the European Parliament and the German Advisory Council on Global Change, which last week released a report supporting the idea.

A source within the German delegation in Milan said this week that his government was taking the idea "very seriously indeed". Even observers outside the environmental establishment, such as the World Council of Churches, back the proposal.

Simple and fair

For the past two weeks, representatives from around the world have been in Milan, Italy, for COP9, the ninth annual meeting of signatories to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. Many of them now privately admit that C&C is what we have been waiting for.

While Kyoto has become a convoluted, arbitrary and short-term measure to mitigate climate change, C&C could provide a simple, fair, long-term solution. And above all, it is based on science rather than politics.

The "contraction" in C&C is shorthand for reducing the total global output of greenhouse gases. At the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the world's governments agreed to act to prevent dangerous climatic change. The Kyoto treaty was their first fumbling attempt to meet that pledge, and if implemented would set emissions targets for industrialised nations for the period 2008 to 2012.

But increasing numbers of delegates are viewing Kyoto as part of the problem, not part of the solution. Its labyrinthine rules allow nations to offset emissions with devices such as carbon-sink projects, and are so complex they are virtually unenforceable. Even if Kyoto becomes international law, it cannot be the blueprint for future deals beyond 2012. A new start is needed.

These delegates argue that it is time to get back to first principles ­ to find a formula to fight the "dangerous" climate change mentioned in the Rio treaty. And there is an emerging consensus that "dangerous" means any warming in excess of 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels; so far temperatures have risen by 0.6 degrees C.

Drastic cuts

To keep below the 2 degrees C ceiling will mean keeping global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, below about 450 parts per million. But because CO2 and other greenhouse gases linger in the atmosphere for a century or more, staying below that ceiling will mean drastic cuts in emissions over the next 50 years.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has decided that a 60 per cent cut in global emissions by 2050 is needed, which the British government has adopted as its national target. But if the world is to manage such a transformation, then hard choices will have to be made.

And that is where the "convergence" part of C&C comes in. Industrialised nations have so far done most of the polluting. The US emits 25 times as much CO2 per head as India, for example, but if pollution is to be rationed, that cannot carry on.

So under the C&C proposals, national emissions will converge year by year towards some agreed target based upon each country's population (see graph). In effect, by a target date that the Royal Commission and Germany's advisory council agree should be 2050, every citizen of the world should have an equal right to pollute.

Emerging technologies

The average global citizen is responsible for pumping just over a tonne of carbon into the air each year. To prevent dangerous climate change, while allowing for some population increase, the world has to reduce that figure to around 0.3 tonnes per head.

That target is not quite as daunting as it sounds. Emerging technologies for generating energy without burning fossil fuel and for increased energy efficiency suggest it is achievable within a few decades without serious damage to the world's economic health.

But because some nations will find it harder than others to meet their targets, especially early on, the C&C formula also embraces the idea of countries trading emissions permits. This is already part of the Kyoto formula, but with every nation in the world involved, and with far more stringent targets, it would be a much bigger business.

Many of the politicians and diplomats most intimately involved in negotiating the Kyoto Protocol targets six years ago have emerged as supporters of C&C in Milan. "We should not be fixated on Kyoto but on the climate change problem itself and what comes after Kyoto," said Raul Esatrada, the Argentinian diplomat who chaired the crucial Kyoto negotiations. And that, he says, is likely to mean C&C.

The chief climate negotiator for the US under President Clinton, Eileen Claussen, says that "almost any long-term solution will embody a high degree of contraction and convergence." She predicts it will become "an importance force in the negotiation".

Pollution for sale

On the face of it, C&C seems anathema to countries like the US, which would have to buy large numbers of pollution credits in the early years. But it does meet most of the criticisms made by the Bush administration of the Kyoto protocol.

In particular, Bush called it unfair that Asian trading competitors, as developing nations, had no targets. Under C&C every nation would ultimately have the same target. Some, such as China, already have per-capita emissions in excess of targets they might have to meet by mid-century.

But perhaps the greatest attraction of C&C is the complete break it would make from the horse-trading, short-term fixing and endless complications that have plagued efforts to bring the Kyoto protocol into effect. In 2002, the US shocked the world by refusing to ratify the treaty, and just last week the EU, its biggest cheerleader, admitted that only two member states, Sweden and the UK, were on course to meet the targets laid down in 1997.

As business grinds on in Milan, the bureaucratic tangles of the Kyoto protocol are becoming ever more convoluted as nations discuss matters such as whether rubber plantations might, like forests, count as a "carbon sink" for which they can claim credit.

Six years after the heady Kyoto night when 171 nations thought they had signed up to save the world, the disconnect between the science and the politics remains huge.
Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
NOT JUST POLITICS pat neuman Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003 at 8:49 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy