OK, so earlier there was no news. This is what is so frustrating about being shut out of the Bella Centre – I, like you, must get my news from the Guardian and the BBC, who aren’t always going to tell us the whole story. However, we do have two conflicting stories, which I think shows some interesting political posturing by the different news media.
The BBC are trying to make me less depressed!
Their leader is all about the fact that China has given ground on monitoring; something that always had to happen before a deal could be reached – if you can’t measure it, you haven’t proved anything, as we physicists say! As such, it is very welcome that China will now allow some sort of (possibly international) verification system for monitoring CO2 emissions. They had previously said that it was a matter of principal not to allow such foreign interference in internal matters, so this is a symbolic big step.
It in turn has been in exchange with a US announcement earlier in the week (Wednesday night unofficially, Thursday morning officially) which announced a massive increase in the US contribution to funding low carbon development in developing nations, and according to the US media this was always going to be the big showdown.
The story doesn’t leave much room for doubt that the whole issue is going to be resolved, successfully, tomorrow, when in fact the diplomatic legal texts are far from completion; false hope, perhaps.
Whereas, the Guardian are trying to put pressure on the leaders!
There is a leaked document that the Guardian have got hold of which says that we are 4.2 Gigatonnes short of cuts which leave us with a 2 degree rise, as the agreement currently stands (notwithstanding the legal instrument, which as we know can probably wait until July as long as we have a political commitment to cuts in a sort of untouchable holding bay until then).
Lets put that a bit more clearly; as things stand, we are talking about a 3 Degree rise in global average temperature by 2050. This would, in comparison to a 2 degree rise by 2100 (which is the baseline goal), mean 170 million more people at risk of severe floods, and 550 million more at risk of hunger.
In order to rectify this, Annexe I as a whole would need to go to 30% cuts on a 1990 baseline by 2020. We are a long way from this; the US is currently insisting on a 2005 baseline, and cuts of only 17% on that. Now I don’t care what baseline you use, just pick a common one so we can measure you all against it! It is fine to go with 2005, just make the cuts more like 60% so that you are making the same actual promise. Statistics, Damn lies and statistics!
This has clearly been leaked in order to allow the media to put on yet more pressure on all the assembled heads of state, and the guardian have gone for it with gusto. This is what we like to see!
So Much for the Process…
Unfortunately, we have a morning of nonsense, instead of actual work! There is a load of pomp and ceremony to be had now that there are multiple heads of state hanging around, so we have to put up with this crap until 3pm, at which people will get down to work and actually resume negotiating.
Additionally, the heads of state all had to pop out for a quick speech to the world this afternoon; all a massive grandstanding exercise for the media. I listened to a few of the speeches, but I couldn’t stomach the whole thing, it was too nauseating to watch such a waste of time and resources.