Thursday, May 21, 2009

Copenhagen, ho!

NEVER MIND. The Guardian took some liberties with its reporting, and the talks were neither so "secret" (just "off the record") nor monumental as the article made them out to be. Aargh, the sensationalizing press! It was 1 a.m. and I was too eager to hear optimistic news (I guess skepticism wanes in the early morning hours), so I just posted the links and went to bed. I guess I should have waited until the blogosphere and news agencies weighed in.

Thanks for the tip-off, Bobby!


Huge news on the environmental front! According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, the US and China held secret negotiations on coming together to help fight climate change (even as the world criticized them for inaction... a criticism that wasn't unwarranted, because we still need action).

From the source:

China and US held secret talks on climate change deal

• Negotiations began in final months of Bush administration
• Obama could seal accord on cutting emissions by autumn

Key points from the article:

  • The first communications took place in autumn 2007 and were initiated by the Chinese. “Xie Zhenhua, the vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's central economic planning body, made the first move by expressing interest in a co-operative effort on carbon capture and storage and other technologies with the US.”...
  • “The two sides began discussing ways to break through the impasse, including the possibility that China would agree to voluntary -- but verifiable -- reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. China has rejected the possibility of cuts” which “it sees as a risk to its continued economic growth, deemed essential to lift millions out of poverty and advance national status.”

  • During the second trip to China by the Americans, Xie suggested a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on joint action on climate change. William Chandler [of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] and Jon Holdren [now Obama’s chief science advisor] drew up a list of three points including:
1. Using existing technologies to produce a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2010.
2. Co-operating on new technology including carbon capture and storage and fuel efficiency for cars.
3. The US and China signing up to a global climate change deal in Copenhagen.

  • By the time Xie visited the US in March, the state department's new climate change envoy, Todd Stern, and his deputy, Jonathan Pershing, were also involved in the dialogue. But the trip by Xie did not produce the hoped-for agreement. Those involved agree it was premature to expect the Obama Administration to enter into a formal agreement so soon in its tenure.” But they “believe the effort will pay off in a more comprehensive deal between the two governments.”
So it’s just the start and it’s looking optimistic that there will be a real climate deal coming soon! Anyhow, I am just ecstatic and amazed.

No comments:

Post a Comment