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Obama's Coming!

by Frank Schnittger Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:17:57 PM EST

Cross-posted from Think about it

A breaking news story on the Huffington Post quotes an anonymous official as saying that Obama is going to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit prior to accepting his Nobel Prize and will present a concrete target for US emissions reductions.

Obama To Copenhagen For Climate Talks (BREAKING)

A White House official says President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen next month for a global climate conference.

The official says the president will be in Copenhagen on Dec. 9 before heading to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama's attendance had been in question until now.

At least 65 world leaders will attend and seek to lay out the framework for a new global warming treaty. Obama has said the goal at the Copenhagen meeting should be an agreement that has "immediate operational effect," not just a political declaration. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the formal announcement has not been made.

Obama To Copenhagen For Climate Talks (BREAKING)

Under pressure from other nations as one of the world's largest greenhouse-gas polluters, the Obama administration said the United States plans to present a target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Copenhagen.

The development came as the European Union urged the United States and China to deliver greenhouse gas emissions targets at the long-anticipated summit, saying their delays were hindering global efforts to curb climate change.

For nearly a year the Obama administration has indicated it would eventually come up with specific targets for quick reductions in pollution that causes global warming, as part of international negotiations. Those targets will soon be made public, officials said.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters only on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the administration's thinking, said that all countries, including the U.S., "will need to put their emissions targets on the table."

The Obama administration has resisted talking specific numbers without the backing of Congress, which is not expected to pass climate legislation until next year at the soonest. The official would not offer details about the U.S. targets but said any U.S. goal will reflect the unfinished state of legislation on Capitol Hill and would not seek to get ahead of it.

A House-passed bill would slash heat-trapping pollution by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. A Senate bill seeks a 20 percent reduction over the next decade, but that number is likely to come down to win the votes of moderate Democrats.

The United States has historically been the world's largest greenhouse gas-polluter until China zoomed ahead in 2006.

China vows to seek climate deal - The Irish Times - Wed, Nov 25, 2009

China will demand next month's Copenhagen climate summit culminates in a real deal, Xinhua news agency quoted a Chinese negotiator as saying, but appears to have accepted that a legally binding agreement must wait until 2010.

"We will try to make the summit successful and we will not accept that it ends with an empty and so-called political declaration," Li Gao, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a forum today.

At least the world's top two polluters are beginning to get serious about negotiating a deal, and Copenhagen could yet mark a milestone in the process...

However the US targets set to date have been almost laughably inadequate:
Obama To Copenhagen For Climate Talks (BREAKING)

A panel of U.N. scientists has recommended that developed countries cut between 25 percent and 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea levels, harsher storms and droughts, and climate disruptions.

The EU aims for deeper cuts than most other industrialized nations -- pledging to move from a 20 percent cut below 1990 levels to 30 percent if others follow suit. By 2050, it wants to eliminate most emissions, with a target of up to 95 percent.

The U.S. is considering a far lower cut -- 17 percent from 2005 levels or about 3.5 percent from 1990. Japan has promised a 25 percent reduction from 1990 levels. Per head, Americans account for twice the emissions compared to Europeans and Japanese.

While the EU sees itself as a trailblazer, it has delayed promising cash to poorer nations to help them tackle global warming. EU leaders have pledged to pay their "fair share" into an annual global fund but gave no amount.

They estimated that $148 billion a year is needed and that half should come from governments. The EU's executive suggested that the 27 EU governments should give up to $22 billion a year from 2013 to 2020.

Proposing just a 3.5% cut from 1990 levels compared to 30% for the EU and 25% for Japan - and that when starting from a base of twice the EU levels - is not going to be taken very seriously by other negotiators.  Let us hope Obama comes to the table with something more realistic.  However to date he has been reluctant to get ahead of the proposals before the US House and Senate.

Perhaps it is time for Obama to take a lead and not always pass the buck to Congress.

Not much time to listen and learn in only 1 day there. and he has so much to learn.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:13:34 PM EST
No, but no doubt he'll give a fine speech!  Just stopping a war or two would have a great impact on global CO2 emissions!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:35:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no doubt he'll give a fine speech!

Obama's presidency in 8 words or less.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should we panic and try and look busy ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:55:43 PM EST
Don't worry Helen.  I'm sure you'll Cope admirably 'n find a safe Haven...

The Nobel chaps are just going to give him a pat on the back and tell him that he really doesn't want to be outdone by those old Europe fogeys.  Then we can all get back down to business as usual:  Shoot a few darkies, pump us some oil, blame the tree-huggers for not being reasonable.

I'm sure Lady Ashton will tell him what's what in any case.  Terribly obliging old chap.  Really.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:21:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama will get a weak bill on climate change. I was always sure about that (just like I am sure the health care bill is going to be impressive).

The hope in this quartet has always been that the more developed high-tech funds in the Us only need a minor push. there is a good sense that this might be indeed the case, once the most basic technology has been developed. Once the hard work has been done (read internet in Europe), American infrastructure is still the best in the world to do the necessary tweaking, improvements and arrangements to sell ET big time.

I still hope this is the case.. the future of our present ecosystem (if there is enough oil out there) or economy (if there isn't), it's in the balance. If silicon valley does not get huge amounts of money , there is no other way the US beats back the oil lobby and gets into the business of reducing emissions.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:42:45 PM EST
NPR included that in its news today. Said he's going to present US plan (maybe not that strong a word--idea?) for reducing our CO2 by 17% by 2020 or thereabouts.

Watch the right-wing heads explode as the crazies start shouting about how he's beholden to . . . them furriners. < sigh > And you think you have it tough with Brown and Sarko et al.

by Mnemosyne on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 08:48:20 PM EST
Western Yurpeen countries are hovering around 20% less than 1997, so the US wants to look good with the public hearing 17%.

From 2005.  Hah.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 06:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU has committed to 20%, 30% if others match off 1990 levels.  The US 17% off 2005 levels is just 3% off 1990 levels - i.e. c. one tenth of EU max offer.

This isn't serious negotiation.  It's not even a serious opening offer.  The US needs a wake-up call, but it looks like Obama prefers to let sleeping giant (polluters) lie.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 06:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's hard to reduce the national CO2 footprint while conducting two wars.
by rifek on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 11:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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