Ecocentric

The History of Global Climate Negotiations, in 83 Seconds

All you need to know about why we can't get a global climate deal.

  • Share
  • Read Later

If you’re having a bad day, know it could be worse. You could be one of the thousands of delegates, journalists or activists enduring the annual exercise in futility that is the U.N. climate summit. This year’s edition in the Middle Eastern city of Doha was meant to wrap up at the end of the day, but as is often the case with climate talks, the negotiations will almost surely be going into overtime. This despite the fact that very little progress is likely to come out of the talks, which are hung up over questions of climate aid for developing nations and the status of the now 15-year-old Kyoto Protocol.

How did we get here? The good people at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research and the Research Council of Norway have put together a video that explains the background to the current deadlock in less than a minute and a half. If only it were this easy to figure out how to fix it. (Hat tip to Will Oremus at Slate for posting this video.)

4 comments
JKBullis
JKBullis

Please read in reverse order.

But the most progress could be made by rethinking water distribution, particularly in North America. Big increases in use of water for hydro-electric purposes could be a beginning. Water distribution should then go further, with construction of facilities to enable universal irrigation, thereby enabling a major expansion of agriculture with its associated expansion of job opportunities and export products.Until we get around to building advanced cars, Miastrada is working on equipment to support expanded agriculture, with an interim goal of making present agriculture function better for all. Early development testing can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq5eIVVvdgAIf we could see discussion of this kind of thing, maybe there would be some reason for the world to invest time in meetings.

JKBullis
JKBullis

Much as we have progressed in solar and wind, these still do not come close in the competition with coal. Hydro-electric does, and it is ideally manageable, so what is wrong here? There is much potential for expansion here, but we have to raise the question whether our environmental priorities are in the right place given the present situation.Bigger thinking, yes, really out of the box, is needed. Here is where real enlightened government could be useful.www.miastrada.com shows new motor vehicle thinking that would make a very big difference in the use of gasoline. Truck construction is possible along the same lines. Also, roads and wheels can be built to mostly eliminate rolling resistance that accounts for much of truck energy loss.

JKBullis
JKBullis

Maybe we might ask if the answer is to stop pursuing futile solutions. It should be clear by now that the basis of prosperity in the developed world and the hoped for prosperity in the emerging economies is inexpensive energy and coal, natural gas, and gasoline are the leading forms of such, with coal being reliably the cheapest, maybe natural gas will stay not too much higher, and gasoline is amazingly about 9 times more expensive than coal, for a given amount of heat. Most likely, the price of natural gas will be more like that of Europe and Japan, given that shipping it costs not that much, though facilities take time to get in place.

I am thinking we have to expect that there will be a shift from gasoline to coal, and we seem to be moving slowly in that direction with electric vehicles. Unfortunately, that does little for CO2 reduction.

jdbinion
jdbinion

Bottom line seems to be, no country wants to make sacrifice for fear of hanpering economic growth. What they fail to realize is that we all make a little sacrifice now, or everyone pays much greater consequences later. Call me naive but, my question is, once the world is no longer a viable place to produce food, the waters are polluted and unsafe to drink, and the air is unsafe to breathe... will the economy still be the priority ? I think not.

The only solution I see, is for us to take individual responsibility. Cut consumption in every possible way and go back to a more basic form of lifestyle. Until the industrialized nations populations are willing to do that, unfortunately, I believe it's going to be a burn baby burn situation.