01 September 2007

Global Climate Change: Vienna Ends; Little Progress (Of Course)

I don't know why we continue to trust that the world's governments will ever get anything accomplished by holding big talks like the one this week in Vienna. Nothing much ever seems to happen other than grandstanding and minor-league agreements.

AP reports that "negotiators from 158 countries reached a basic [emphasis mine] agreement yesterday on rough [me again] targets aimed at getting some [and again] of the world's biggest polluters to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming." [Sounds like a statement written by committee, doesn't it? There are more hedges in there than in my garden!]

"The weeklong UN climate conference concluded that industrialised countries should strive to cut emissions by 25%-40% of their 1990 levels by 2020.

"Experts said that target would serve as a loose guide for a major international climate summit to be held in December in Bali, Indonesia." [Don't hold your breath...]

"'We have reached broad agreement on the main issues,' said Leon Charles, a negotiator from Grenada.

"The 2020 targets are not binding, [of course not] but they were seen as an important signal that industrialised nations are serious about slashing the amount of carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases to avert the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.

"Yesterday's agreement sought to ease concerns the emissions target might be too ambitious for some nations, noting efforts to cut back on airborne pollutants are 'determined by national circumstances and evolve over time.'

"But the agreement made clear that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 'very low levels' to guard against potentially deadly flooding, drought and other fallout."

Hot air, yet again...next up: the President's meeting in late September.

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