googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: GWW: The beginning of the Global Warming War


Thursday, August 2, 2012

GWW: The beginning of the Global Warming War

Despite much hope when he was running for office, President Obama has shown himself to be ultra-cautious when it comes to prodding the USA into the forefront of global warming reduction.
The House is controlled by Republican-Luddites who delight in confessing their ignorance of scientific discoveries.
The Senate that has its fair share of Democrat senators who favour doing nothing.
This means that the legislative side of the US governance troika is set against any meaningful steps to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide.

The Verdict of History on the Obama, Bush & Clinton administrations:
In a century (if humans still exist then) historians will note that the Obama-Bush administrations were ones of ignorance, lost opportunity and deliberate obsfuscation, at a time when our earth – due to our own contributions of greenhouse gases from our inefficient industries, autos and use of fossil fuels – was racing towards a tipping point.
Before Bush, President Clinton refused to champion the USA becoming a member of the Kyoto Accord, despite VP Gore's work on climate change.

Enter our Saviours:
But all  is not lost.
The European Union has absorbed the science, and is leading the world in the fight to save our earth.
Right now, a worldwide war  is being fought over global warming.
One the one hand are those forces that recognize the peril facing the world from greenhouse gases, and are prepared to take serious steps to reduce GHG.
On the other side are those forces who are using delaying tactics to avoid meaningful action.
The anti-action forces are led by the USA, which is using the fight over taxes on airlines and over tar sands as proxies for this Global Warming War:
Both issues carry a strong whiff of testosterone, with the hard men of business determined that their governments should not yield to green demands, and Europe determined to retain the climate cojones it found at last year's UN meeting in South Africa, having mislaid them two years previously in Copenhagen.
But below the posturing is something rather fundamental; and the importance of the week's events should not be underestimated.
As became clear at the South Africa meeting, a majority of governments want action on climate change and want it pretty quickly.
But because of the way international organisations such as the UN climate convention work, a small number of governments can block consensus very effectively.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is so far standing firm against critics
China, India Russia, the US, and Canada found themselves (largely through reasons of expediency) in the laggards' room in Durban - and there's common ground between them again as they survey the EU positions.
We need leadership.
But what the world is getting is the opposite.

Instead of risking political capital, we find the American political elite dragging its feet (from the White House on down) to avoid setting examples.

The Convoy System of delay:

They are doing this by insisting on a convoy system, with all countries being onboard and going at roughly the same speed.
Fortunately, the European Union is not part of the Luddite factions, and we can hope that they force the pace:

The EU has refused to back down and has expressed frustration that opposing countries have not come up with a serious, alternative proposal.
The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) creates permits for carbon emissions. Airlines that exceed their allowances will have to buy extra permits, as an incentive to airlines to pollute less.
The number of permits is reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls.
European officials say the scheme could force airlines to add between 4 and 24 euros ($5 to $29; £3 to £19) to the price of a long-haul trip, the AFP reports.
The European Commission says Europe would be willing to join a global scheme run by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) if it matches the targets set by the EU scheme.
Stand firm, EU!
You are the last hope of the billions who inhabit this globe.

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