Posted by: Tony Carson | 23 November, 2009

Obama’s real dithering: dealing with Climate Change

Congratulations. The spend-thrift lobbies for the fossil fuel industries and the cacophonous dissenters to the Global Warming evidence have won: it is now virtually impossible to limit global temperature rise to 2C. The challenge now is to keep the warming between 3C and 4C.

Funny how this works in the US. Those with the most money and loudest voices always beat out reason.

Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of the might of the Military Industrial Complex and conservative jingoistic bravado. Urgently need health reform that would greatly benefit the US community has been demonized even from the pulpit for its perceived evils and what reform the US will get will be pitifully paltry at best. And now this: the country that is the single worst polluter refuses to take a leadership role in trying to reverse the man-made global catastrophe.

“Those that have opposed a deal on climate, which would include elements of the fossil fuel industry, have clearly made making a 2C target much, much harder, if not impossible. They’ve clearly put the world at risk of far more adverse effects of climate change.” Professor Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, and key adviser to the British government said in an interview with the Guardian.

The decision of former US president George W Bush to walk away from the Kyoto protocol, the existing global treaty on carbon emissions, sent a message to other countries not to act, he said. “The last decade was a lost opportunity. Elements within the fossil fuel industry clearly had major implications for the Bush administration.”

He added: “I think they’ve clearly been partly to blame, without any question at all. But you have to say it is not just the fossil lobby. Within the US, there is not strong support for the Kyoto protocol in both parties. Even Obama now will have to persuade a still somewhat sceptical Senate that we should be doing this.”

The Copenhagen talks are not expected to deliver a legally binding treaty as originally hoped, but could still make progress on issues such as emissions cuts for rich countries and financial assistance for the developing world. A strong agreement rests on how far Obama is willing to push towards strong carbon cuts in the US.

European officials fear the agreement could eventually do no better than return emissions in 2020 to 1990 levels; scientists say they must fall by 25-40% to have a good chance of staying within the 2C limit.

US President Obama has indeed been ‘dithering’ but it has been on dealing with Global Warming, not on escaling yet another senseless war.

And Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper? He isn’t even bothering to dither. While he digs up Alberta, he is waiting to follow a US lead that isn’t coming.


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