Wednesday Evening Climate News Roundup

Interpretation varies as to just how significant and divisive the so-called Danish text, a draft agreement worked out by the worlds industrialized nations in secret, will be for the future of the Copenhagen Climate talks.

On the one hand, we have groups like Democracy Now! who say the third world nations are up in revolt:

This Text Is an Extremely Dangerous Document for Developing Countries: G77 Chief Condemns Secret US-Danish Climate Deal

The UN climate talks are in disarray here in Copenhagen after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UNs role in all future climate change negotiations. Moments before we went on the air, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77, condemned the leaked document.

The Huffiington Post gives us some idea of the pressure on Obama and the negotiators to come up with a worthwhile treaty in Police and protesters gear up for Obama visit, December 9, 2009, by Ian MacDougall.

PBS Newshour describes tensions between rich and poor nations at Copenhagen as hovering. In other words, the press from developed nations is still acting hopeful about the future of the climate talks and putting the best face possible on what may turn out to be a general revolt by third world nations that may even scuttle the talks. Progressive groups too, dont like the fact that the Kyoto accord would be scuttled under the secret plan. This article has good coverage over undeveloped countries anger.

Pressure for a Climate Draft Accord Grows , The New York Times, December 9, 2009, by Andrew C. Revkin and James Kanter has the Times take that things are moving forward rather inexorably but still with deep disagreements thus far:

COPENHAGEN — Delegates to the international climate talks accelerated their negotiations on Wednesday, racing among the booths and offices of countries large and small, comparing competing “nonpapers” — sections of the proposed text with no official existence — in the quest to hash out a realistic draft of a new climate agreement by the weekend.

The proposed sections must be in decent shape before top ministers arrive to prepare for the more than 100 heads of state who will follow to close out the negotiations on Dec. 18.

Two proposals popped loudly on Tuesday: a Danish text, seen by many observers to be mainly accommodating the interests of the United States and other industrialized powers; and one drafted by China and endorsed by a variety of developing countries. Both were criticized by the opposing camps.

The main points of contention remain as they have been for years.

(Developing and Third World nations want the west to provide major assistance towards these countries costs in reducing greenhouse gasses and moving towards a green energy economy. The West is still balking at this.)

In Copenhagen climate conference: US says China must make cuts, Telegraph.co.uk, Dec. 9, there are said to be rising tensions between China and the U.S. over demands that China make larger cuts in carbon emissions than China will agree to, unless provided financial/incentive assistance to do so.

View pictures of day 3 of the Copenhagen climate change conference, here.

Read Saving Ourselves from Ourselves, The Huffington Post, December 9, 2009, by Kofi Anan: the burden born by the people in third world nations in the battle against global warming, because of developed nations energy and resource use is discussed.

Read Palinclimategateopedgate in todays Guardian, Michael Tomaskys blog:

As you may have seen, Sarah Palin had an oped in the Wash Post today on climate gate, arguing that Obama must boycott Copenhagen (the Guardian reprinted her column here).

The column has kicked up quite a kerfuffle here stateside, because its the second time the WP has granted Palin acreage to plant her sophistic and evidence-free notions and make her seem like a serious person. Im kind of only about half-way down with the general liberal fury at this. Op-ed pages are entitled to run what they want to run. That said, they should indeed demand of outside contributors that they be able to back up their assertions with data and facts.

In-house columnists have pretty free rein. Thats why George Will can bloviate about global cooling and the Post doesnt say boo. He is, as this rather scabrous blog post puts it, uncheckable. Right or wrong, thats how it works (when people say right or wrong they of course really mean wrong). But outside contributors, even really really famous ones who haul their needs-challenged infants around as props on their book tours instead of seeing to it that they receive the proper therapies and remediations at home, are supposed to demonstrate to editors that they can meet a certain standard of reality.

Truthout has a good summary of the right wings campaign to discredit climate science and prevent an effective climate treaty in Copenhagen, insofar as public opinion can do that (or change perception for U.S. political campaigns), in The True Story About Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.

No Global Warming??? See Iceberg half the size of the Isle of Wight spotted drifting south of Australia, Daily Mail (U.K.), December 9, 2009 by Mail Foreign Service: MSNBC described this 87 square mile iceberg which broke off from Antartica as a once in a century event.

Visit The Guardians general Copenhagen climate change page, with links and summaries to many relevant articles.

There was a possibly important new development when developing nations split over a new plan called the Tuvalu protocol. Some support it while others insist on sticking with the Kyoto Treaty.

However, Wednesday seems to have essentially seen its most important development and culmination when U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon reasserted his leadership over the ongoing process at Copenhagen:

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has re-asserted ownership over the Copenhagen climate change meeting after the trust issues between rich and poor nations were exposed by a leaked draft agreement. He said he was confident of getting a deal for immediate action on global warming.

In an interview with the Guardian, Ban said he believed the negotiations remained on course for a strong deal, sweetened with the early release of $10bn in aid to poor countries and set down in international law within six months.

He was also adamant that deal would hinge on the core elements of the Kyoto protocol, which developing countries feared was being sabotaged in the so-called Danish text leaked to the Guardian yesterday. The text, prepared in secret by the Danish hosts, was interpreted by developing nations as favouring the rich nations they hold responsible for global warming.

For an ominous development at the end of the day, see U.S. Negotiator Dismisses Reparations for Climate, The New York Times, December 9, 2009, by Andrew C. Revkin and Tom Zeller, Jr.:

COPENHAGEN — The top American envoy to climate talks here flatly rejected arguments Wednesday by diplomats from poor lands that the United States owes a debt to developing nations for decades of American emissions that contributed to global warming.

Its hard to see developing and third world nations signing onto any treaty that does not include these reparations in some form or another, that is to say, at least some assistance towards growing a greener economy.

In Other Crucial Developments it appears humanity will survive for just a little while while longer:

The Cern Large Hadron Colliger has smashed together high energy beams of protons at a record energy of 2.36 trillion electron volts. The machine is designed to recreate the conditions in the moments after the big bang. They are desperately seeking something called the Higgs boson, which will reveal to science the very nature of dark matter.

Is this what we want our scientists studying?? Doesnt it sound rather ominous???