Saturday, December 10, 2005

High drama in Montreal

Montreal was the epi center of high drama the last few days. About 10,000 delegates from all over the world participated in the UN Conference on Climate Change. The conference saw a lot of discussions and plenty of objections on procedural details and wordings. Come Friday, the US negotiator Harlan Watson staged a walk out. (Washington Post investigates Watson's close connections to Exxon Mobil) Then came president Bill Clinton and an inspiring speech in support of Kyoto. The US negotiator finally agreed to come back after certain wording were adjusted. For example, The word "mechanisms" was changed to "opportunities".

It is such a shame that a few words would hold up critical decisions on our future. Even though the wording changes were made, US and Australia still continue to maintain their "Don't care about science. We only care about Michael Crichton" attitude. China continues to refuse emission limits. All they have agreed to is the idea of exploring "opportunities".

In the end, the organizers and the delegates seemed to show a sense of relief. A general consensus was reached. Over 40 decisions made. A rule book of sorts created to implement the Kyoto protocol. Details on these decisions can be found at the UNFCC site . It is definitely no easy reading. I am not sure I understand everything (or anything) even after several attempts. One thing to keep an eye on, would be the Clean Development Mechanism. A mechanism that allows investors to bring cleaner energy technologies to developing economies.

Further Reading
Climate Official Harlan Watson's Work Is Questioned [Washington Post]
Last-minute climate deals reached [BBC]
U.S., Under Fire, Eases Its Stance in Climate Talks [NY Times]
Clinton: Bush 'flat wrong' on climate change issues [USA Today]
Climate Talks Agreement [SBS World News Australia]
India should take lead at Montreal conference: Sunita Narain [IndiaTimes]
UNFCCC publication confirms decreases in greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries [UNFCC]

Quote of the day
"I think it's crazy for us to play games with our children's future. We know what's happening to the climate, we have a highly predictable set of consequences if we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we know we have an alternative that will lead us to greater prosperity."~ President Bill Clinton at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Montreal


Jennifer said...

It baffles me that the US continues to keep its head in the sand even after the worst hurricane season ever.

One More Reason said...

I think the oil industry is shaping US policy

Jennifer said...

I think you're right.