World Climate Talks Convene As Emissions Rise

World climate talks convened in oil and gas-rich Qatar on Monday, and many eyes have turned to the U.S. Will it be receptive to a climate treaty in light of the devastation reaped on the Northeast by Superstorm Sandy? Can the world agree to a treaty?
November 28, 2012, 10am PST | Irvin Dawid
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The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, aka the Doha Climate Change Conference will run through Dec. 7.  Environment blogger Ben German looks at the U.S. position represented by Deputy Special Climate Envoy Jonathan Pershing who "suggested that the U.S. deserves more credit".  The U.S. rejected the world's first climate treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires this year.

“Those who don't follow what the U.S. is doing may not be informed of the scale and extent of the effort, but it's enormous,” Pershing said, according to the Associated Press.  Pershing cited the increase in auto emission standards and aid to foreign countries.

The AP also asked, "Will U.S. Role at Climate Talks Change After Storm?".

“I think there will be expectations from countries to hear a new voice from the United States,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute in Washington.

The contrast to Pershing's claims in Doha and President Obama's competition with then-candidate Mitt Romney in terms of who had done the most to promote coal, natural gas, and oil production is stark.  Time's Bryan Walsh wrote earlier about the president's promotion of fossil fuels in " Why Climate Change Has Become the Missing Issue in the Presidential Campaign".

"A major goal of the U.N. talks is to agree to a new global pact by 2015 (which would take effect in 2020) that includes big developing nations like China and India", writes German. 

German refercences the World Bank report that warns of perilous increases in carbon dioxide. German's fellow environmental blogger, Zack Colman had earlier noted that the much heralded International Energy Agency report that predicted that the U.S. would out-produce Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2017 also made dire predictions that have gone largely unnoticed - one even centered on the same date.

"IEA warned that subsidies have incentivized the use of fossil fuels, in turn bringing the world to the brink of a lock-in date for a 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise.

That tipping point is 2017, IEA said. A fast deployment of energy efficiency technology, however, could push that back to 2022."

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Published on Monday, November 26, 2012 in The Hill's Energy & Environment Blog
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