Tagged: Greenhouse gas emission

US Senate will not pass a full climate bill

BBC News | 23 July 2010 | 12:15 GMT

The US Senate will not pass a full climate bill in its current session, majority leader Harry Reid has said. Mr Reid acknowledged on Thursday that Democrats pushing for a bill could not muster the required number of votes. Instead, he plans to introduce more limited legislation that would boost energy efficiency in vehicles and crack down on offshore oil exploration. The news is a major blow to prospects of achieving a new global deal on climate change through the UN talks. Some advocates of climate legislation in the US have criticised President Barack Obama for failing to take a strong lead on the issue, despite campaign promises.

In June 2009, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cap emissions from most sectors of the economy and establish a nationwide carbon market. A similar bill was introduced into the Senate last September, but did not receive enough backing; and weaker versions have suffered a similar fate. On Thursday, Mr Reid acknowledged legislation was not going anywhere. "We know where we are – we know that we don’t have the votes," he said. The Democrats hold 59 of the 100 Senate seats. But some Democrats fearful of the economic impacts of cap-and-trade legislation have joined the minority Republicans in opposition to the bill.

Key cuts

US legislation is key to tying up a new global agreement on climate change – the agreement that governments promised in 2007 they would deliver at last year’s Copenhagen summit, but did not. "It is very important to have the US in any agreement, as it constitutes 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions," said John Lanchbery, principal climate change adviser at the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and a seasoned observer of UN negotiations. "And it’s in the position where it has to have some domestic legislation before it will put anything 

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India, China stronger from climate meet – Pachauri

Reuters | NEW DELHI | Wed Dec 23, 2009 | 5:24pm IST

The grouping of China, India, Brazil and South Africa has emerged as a significant force in Copenhagen and they could lead the way in future negotiations, the head of the U.N. climate panel said on Wednesday. A climate change meeting ended last week in Copenhagen with a non-legally binding political agreement at the last moment between the United States and the big developing countries — China, India, Brazil and South Africa that forms the BASIC group. The next climate change meet is in Mexico next year, where countries hope to reach a legally binding agreement.

“What has happened politically which is very significant is the emergence of this grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in New Delhi. “Undoubtedly whatever agreement comes into existence by the time Mexico completes its conference of the parties, will necessarily have to deal with the power of this group (BASIC).” In November, the BASIC countries forged a united front in Beijing to put pressure on developed countries in Copenhagen. India said the BASIC countries were successful in thwarting global pressure to agree to a legally-binding emissions cut.     Continue reading

China rejects UK claims it hindered Copenhagen talks

BBC News | 2009/12/22 | 08:28:13 GMT

China has dismissed claims made by a British minister that it “hijacked” efforts to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband had accused China of vetoing two agreements on limiting emissions. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the accusations were a political plot made by leaders who wanted to shirk their own obligations. The summit ended without the 192 nations reaching a binding agreement. The delegates simply committed to “taking note” of a deal recognising the need to limit temperature rises to 2C. Jiang Yu did not mention Mr. Miliband by name, but in comments reported by the Xinhua state news agency, she said statements from “certain British politicians” were “plainly a political scheme.” The aim, she said, was “to shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries, and to provoke discord among developing countries. This scheme will come to nothing,”

‘New beginning’

Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Miliband said the vast majority of countries wanted a legally-binding treaty to protect the planet, but it seemed that four or five countries at the summit had been keen to “shelve the accord.” He said China had vetoed two proposed agreements on emissions cuts, “despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries.” Ms Jiang said Mr. Miliband and others behind the editorial should “correct their mistakes, fulfill their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way and stay away from activities that hinder the international community’s co-operation in coping with climate change.”     Continue reading

Copenhagen climate summit held to ransom – Gordon Brown

BBC NEWS | 2009/12/21 | 14:25:07 GMT

Gordon Brown will accuse a small group of countries of holding the Copenhagen climate summit talks to ransom. The 193-nation UN conference ended with delegates simply “taking note” of a US-led climate deal that recognised the need to limit temperature rises to 2C. Mr. Brown said on Monday the talks were “at best flawed and at worst chaotic” and called for a reformed UN process. And he is expected to say in a podcast that a global deal should not be “held to ransom by a handful of countries.” Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has singled out China for vetoing an agreement on emissions but in an article in The Guardian, both he and Mr. Brown say a diluted deal was better than nothing at all.

BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg says politicians were “pointing the finger” after the disappointment of the outcome of the summit. The prime minister will say in his podcast: “Never again should we face the deadlock that threatened to pull down these talks. Never again should we let a global deal to move towards a greener future be held to ransom by only a handful of countries.” He said lessons must be learned from the “tough negotiations” that took place in Copenhagen.     Continue reading

ANALYSIS – Climate deal won’t cap warming, big gaps

Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 6:04am IST

A climate deal among world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama puts off many tough decisions until 2010 and sets the planet on track to overshoot goals for limiting global warming. Obama spoke of “the beginning of a new era of international action” but many other leaders said it was “imperfect”, “not sufficient” and at best a “modest success” if it gets formally adopted by all 193 nations in Copenhagen on Saturday. Problems faced by China and the United States — the world’s top emitters — stood in the way of a stronger deal for the world’s first pact to combat climate change since the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

In big advances, the deal adds a promise of $100 billion a year to help developing nations from 2020 and promotes the use of forests to soak up carbon dioxide. But it is unclear where the cash will come from. European leaders fell in reluctantly after Obama announced the deal with China, India, South Africa and Brazil. It was drafted by 28 nations ranging from OPEC oil producers to small island states. A drawback is that the deal is not legally binding — a key demand of many developing nations. The text instead suggests an end-2010 deadline for transforming it into a legal text that had long been expected in Copenhagen.     Continue reading

Main points of the Copenhagen Accord

Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 6:43am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama reached a climate agreement on Friday with India, South Africa, China and Brazil. The deal outlined fell far short of the ambitions for the Copenhagen summit. Here are key points from the agreement, which is titled “Copenhagen Accord.”


“Deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science…with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.”


A proposal attached to the accord calls for a legally binding treaty to be pinned down by the end of next year.


The text says: “Developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.” It mentions as particularly vulnerable and in need of help are the      Continue reading

US-led climate deal under threat in Copenhagen

Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 1:38pm IST

U.N. climate talks fell into crisis on Saturday after some developing nations angrily rejected a plan worked out by U.S. President Barack Obama, China and other fast growing economies for fighting global warming. Copenhagen, meant to be the finale of two years of negotiations, risked ending with no firm UN accords despite a summit of 120 world leaders on Friday who tried to work out the first climate blueprint since the U.N.’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Countries including Venezuela, Sudan and Tuvalu said they opposed a deal spearheaded on Friday in Copenhagen by the United States, China, India, South Africa and Brazil at the summit.

A final, all-night plenary session, chaired by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and involving national negotiators, was punctuated by increasingly irritable exchanges. The deal would need unanimous backing to be adopted, and Britain said failure to adopt it would hold up funds pledged to poorer countries to fight the impact of climate change. Opponents said the document, which sets a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degree Celsius rise over pre-industrial times and holds out the prospect of $100 billion in annual aid from 2020 for developing nations, was too weak.     Continue reading

Copenhagen summit battles to save climate deal

BBC NEWS | 2009/12/19 | 08:23:36 GMT


  • No reference to legally binding agreement
  • Recognises the need to limit global temperatures rising no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels
  • Developed countries to “set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries”
  • On transparency: Emerging nations monitor own efforts and report to UN every two years. Some international checks
  • No detailed framework on carbon markets – “various approaches” will be pursued

(Updated: 06:40 GMT, 19 December)

Delegates at the climate summit are battling to prevent the talks ending without reaching a final deal. Earlier, a US-led group of five nations – including China – tabled a last-minute proposal that President Barack Obama called a “meaningful agreement.” However, it was rejected by a few developing nations who felt it failed to deliver the actions needed to halt dangerous climate change. But the majority of nations are urging the Danish hosts to adopt the deal. To be accepted as an official UN agreement, the deal needs to be endorsed by all 193 nations at the talks.

‘Devoid of morality’

On Friday evening, the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa reached a last-minute agreement on a number of issues, such as a recognition to limit temperature rises to less than 2C (3.6F). However, BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says the language in the text shows      Continue reading

Key powers in climate compromise

BBC NEWS | 2009/12/19 | 04:04:14 GMT

Key states have reached what they call a “meaningful agreement” at the Copenhagen climate summit. Five nations, including China and the US, reached a deal on a number of issues, such as a recognition to limit temperatures rises to less than 2C. US President Barack Obama said it would be a foundation for global action but there was “much further to go.” However, the deal could be rejected as a number of nations expressed “dissatisfaction” with the contents. “Can I suggest that in biblical terms, it looks like we’re being offered 30 pieces of silver to sell our future,” Tuvalu’s lead negotiator Ian Fry said during the main meeting. “Our future is not for sale.” Mr. Fry said his country could not accept the deal, as did Venezuelan delegate Claudia Salerno Caldera. “Mr. President, I ask whether – under the eye of the UN secretary general – you are going to endorse this coup d’etat against the authority of the United Nations.”

Nicaragua submitted new documents to the meeting calling for the resumption of negotiations on new legal agreements, including emission reductions from developed nations. To be accepted as a official UN agreement, the deal needs to be endorsed by all 193 nations at the talks. The five-nation deal promised to deliver $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid for developing nations over the next three years, and outlined a goal of      Continue reading

Obama reaches climate deal with emerging powers

Reuters | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 5:02am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama forged a climate deal with emerging economic powers on Friday, breaking a deadlock at U.N.-led talks, but said the world still had “much further to go” in the fight against global warming. All sides conceded the agreement, which fell far short of United Nations ambitions for the Dec. 7-18 talks, was imperfect but said it was a starting point for a coordinated international effort to avert the catastrophic impacts of climate change. “This progress did not come easily and we know this progress alone is not enough … We’ve come a long way but we have much further to go,” Obama said after talks with China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma which led to the breakthrough. The agreement still had to win formal approval from a full meeting of all 193 nations at the talks. “If this makes it through the meeting in a couple of hours’ time then I see it as a modest success,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat. “We could have achieved more.”

Negotiators had struggled all day to find a compromise acceptable to all which could avert the threat of dangerous climate change, including floods, droughts, rising sea levels and species extinctions. Tensions between China and the United States, the world’s two biggest emitters, had been particularly acute after Obama — in a message directed at the Chinese — said any deal to cut emissions would be “empty words on a page”      Continue reading

Obama Faces ‘Constipagen’ on Global Warming Accord in Denmark

Bloomberg | December 15, 2009 | 19:00 EST

World leaders will arrive in the Danish capital of Copenhagen over the next three days to agree on a pact to fight global warming. There may be nothing to sign. Envoys from China, the U.S., the European Union and India, the world’s top polluters, have bickered, quarreled and walked out during talks among 193 nations. They’ve left presidents and prime ministers a choice between fudge or a flop for the accord that the United Nations framed as the most comprehensive deal to curb global warming. “Countries and blocks of countries have come here with very hard positions,” Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday in an interview in Copenhagen. “You need some seismic shifts to really close a deal.”

The angst in conference rooms has been reflected on the streets, with protesters fighting riot police as Denmark mounted the biggest security operation in its history. More than half of Denmark’s 10,500 police are providing security for the talks at Copenhagen’s Bella Center, which can hold 15,000 people. The difficulty for the police is 46,000 people have tried to get into the talks in the city dubbed ‘Hopenhagen,’ leaving thousands waiting outside in freezing temperatures and yelling at security. “We’re calling it Constipagen because the line’s not moving and the talks are not moving,” said Jasmine Hyman, who works for the Geneva-based Gold standard Foundation that certifies carbon offsets. She said it took her eight hours to get in.    Continue reading

Ministers struggle to shore up climate talks

Reuters | Tue Dec 15, 2009 | 10:41pm IST

Ministers struggled to break deadlock in global climate talks on Tuesday, three days before world leaders are meant to agree a new U.N. pact aimed at averting dangerous climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin that she was “a bit nervous” about the lack of progress at the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen. Organisers of the talks said environment ministers would work deep into night on Tuesday to narrow wide differences, saying the bulk of the work must be complete before some 130 leaders formally join the Dec 7-18 meeting on Thursday. “There’s a great deal yet to do, the parties are quite far apart on a fair number of issues,” said Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy for climate change, adding he did not expect any change in U.S. targets for emission curbs during the talks.

U.N. climate Chief Yvo de Boer said there had been significant progress in several areas, “but we haven’t seen enough of it…We are in a very important phase.” Talks remained stalled after a stand-off the previous day, held up by disputes over the level of emissions cuts by rich countries and a long-term global target to curb a rise in global temperatures which could trigger rising sea levels, floods and drought. Danish     Continue reading

Climate progress eludes ministers, protesters held

Reuters | Mon Dec 14, 2009 | 8:29am IST

Environment ministers struggled to nudge forward climate talks in Copenhagen on Sunday, and police detained more than 250 protesters on a second day of mass action. Church leaders handed a petition with half a million signatures to the United Nations and prayed for climate justice, while hundreds of demonstrators marched through the city centre for a second day to remind world leaders of the huge public pressure for a successful deal at the Dec 7-18 talks. “We are telling them: Hey you, you who are sitting there making the decisions, the world are waiting for a real agreement,” South African Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu told a crowd in the city centre.

The day after a huge demonstration flared into violence and prompted the largest mass arrest in Danish history, police shut down a small march they said had not been authorised, detaining almost all who had joined it for disturbing the peace. More than 90 ministers had met informally, on their day off from official negotiations between 190 nations, to try to break an impasse between rich and poor over who is responsible for emissions cuts, how deep they should be, and who should pay. There was a positive atmosphere, but the talks apparently achieved little beyond a consensus that time is running out.     Continue reading

The Push for 350: Contradictions and Carbon Levels

Associated Press | Copenhagen | December 13, 2009

As police cracked down on climate protesters, church bells tolled 350 times Sunday to impress on the U.N. global warming conference a number that is gaining a following, but is also awash in contradictions. Conference negotiators went behind closed doors in talks to pin down an elusive new pact on climate, talks in which the figure 350 looms as a goal for true believers, but one that appears impossible based on progress so far. It refers to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the highest concentration that some leading scientists say the world can handle without sparking dangerous climate effects. “It’s the most important number in the world,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental activist group 350.org. “It’s the line between habitability on this planet and a really, really desolate future.”

Not everyone buys into that. But an entire environmental group has sprung up around the number, pushing 350 as a goal, sporting it on T-shirts and flags waved by throngs of protesters that marched to the conference center over the weekend. About 100 nations at the U.N. climate summit have signed on to the idea of heading for 350. Actually, the world has lived with more than 350 for a while. The last time the      Continue reading

What’s behind EU’s ‘green’ commitment?

Xinhua | 2009-12-13 | 20:16:24

European Union leaders on Friday concluded their two-day summit, at which they pledged 2.4 billion Euros (3.5 billion U.S. dollars) annually from 2010 to 2012 to help the developing countries tackle climate change. The EU also pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, instead of the originally set target of 20 percent, by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, “provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.” The leaders also discussed a major document for the EU’s development in the next 10 years — the framework of the EU 2020 Strategy designed to build the EU into a more competitive and “greener” economy.

Even as the climate talks are being held in Copenhagen, the EU’s “green” commitment this time sounds more like a latest bid to seize the moral high ground than a practical and sincere action. Shortly after the EU’s announcement of its funding pledge to developing countries, Sudanese envoy Lumumba Stanislas Dia Pin, who spoke at the Copenhagen climate change summit representing the G77 bloc, said the funding is “not a     Continue reading