Fear of dangerous climate change gathers pace
Two stories in big media recently give the clue to broad creeping fear, similar to this earlier post on SAM:
Saturday, 6th January 2007-01-10
Terrorists won’t kill Sydney’s real estate market, but global warming will
[you can find the entry top right, via 6th Jan 07]
These two latest stories follow:
U.N. official wants world summit on global warming
8th January 2007
By Francois Murphy
PARIS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should call a meeting of heads of government to decide the next steps against global warming, the U.N. official responsible for tackling climate change said on Monday.
Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC), told reporters there was not much time left to prepare a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. "The window of opportunity is closing," he said. De Boer said he hopes to meet Ban during a trip to New York next week.
The last annual U.N. meeting of about 100 environment ministers, in Nairobi in November, made scant progress on finding ways to widen the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol.
Several ideas have been floated for discussion recently, such as French President Jacques Chirac's plan, unveiled last week, for a conference to promote a tax on imports from states that refuse to join Kyoto's successor.
"I'm wondering how all these initiatives are going to contribute to a global negotiating process," de Boer said.
"I'm really hoping that the new Secretary General will feel he's in a position to show the kind of leadership the world seems to be calling for," he added.
Kyoto obliges 35 developed nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. But Kyoto nations account for only about one third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment ministers involved in talks on Kyoto are often junior cabinet members and lack clout, and de Boer said the problems raised in talks on the environment were often economic in nature.
The United States, the world's biggest source of greenhouse gases, pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, saying it would cost U.S. jobs and wrongly excluded big developing nations such as China, India, South Africa and Brazil.
Those states will become major greenhouse gas emitters in the future but fear that curbing carbon emissions will hinder their drive to reduce poverty and promote growth, de Boer said. They should therefore be offered incentives, he added.
"I think it has to be at the level of the Secretary General that you bring heads of government together to try and flesh out these key principles and then to say to the technicians, to the professionals: 'okay, these are the lines of the playing field'", he said.
"I think that time is running out and that this year would be good because it would allow us sufficient time to negotiate something in a thorough way," he said.
The meeting could be a group of key nations rather than a large summit but it should include important developing states, de Boer added. (Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo)
# 2 http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3561
ExxonMobil Blasted for Efforts to Discredit Climate Science
January 8, 2007
Reporting by Roddy Scheer
Last week the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued a report detailing how the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, has donated $16 million since 1998 to 43 ideological groups working to discredit the science of human-induced climate change. The group joins a growing chorus of voices asking the oil giant and world’s most profitable company to turn the corner on global warming and start embracing a transition from fossil fuels.
“ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” says Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Strategy & Policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.”
Just this past September, Britain’s leading scientific academy, the Royal Society, asked the company to stop supporting groups that “misrepresented the science of climate change.” In response, ExxonMobil said that it funded groups that research “significant policy issues and promote informed discussion on issues of direct relevance to the company” but that such groups do not speak for the company.
With most scientists and policymakers now on board with the concept of human-induced climate change, ExxonMobil may feel pressured into toeing the line on renewable energy so as not to get left behind by more forward-thinking competitors like Shell and BP.
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists
Posted by editor
at 12:27 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:16 AM EADT