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So That's What Obama's "Audacity of Hope" Is About…

A deal in Copenhagen? Hopefully. A meaningful deal in Copenhagen? Perhaps. Will there be substantive actions in order to stay within the 2C limit? Maybe. Is there going to be a plan to significantly reduce emissions? It’s a promise.

After all, what’s a President that is also the first preventative Nobel Peace Prize winner going to be good at selling? Hope, mostly hope.

Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

The real audacity is in pushing oneself forward almost exclusively counting on the fact that hope is the last to die.

And I hope the USA will get out of Afghanistan by 2011.

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And this ‘story’ of a leak is also doubly ironic (in location of the story and also in the shadow of Climategate):

“A confidential UN draft marked “do not distribute” and “initial draft” shows a gap of up to 4.2 gigatonnes of carbon emissions between the present pledges and the required level of 44 gigatonnes that is required to stay below a two degree temperature rise, The Guardian reports. ”

“Greenpeace describes the confidential document as “explosive” and showing that the numbers on the table at the moment would lead to nothing less than “climate breakdown” and an “extraordinarily dangerous situation for humanity”.

“”The UN is admitting in private that the pledges made by world leaders would lead to a three degree rise in temperatures. The science shows that it could lead to the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, crippling water shortages across South America and Australia and the near-extinction of tropical coral reefs, and that’s just the start of it,” Greenpeace campaigner Joss Garman tells the newspaper.””

My emphasis, but the quotes ALL come from the CoP15 website:

Audacity of Cope.

According to the CoP15 website ( ) Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chávez, criticized the UN climate conference for “a real lack of transparency.”

If this whole thing wasn’t such a political spinfest and there was a shred of integrity around it, it might have been worth me pointing out that on the 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index, Venezuela comes 162th out of 180 countries with a score of 1.9 (out of a possible 10) with, for comparison, Denmark in 2nd place with a score of 9.3 and New Zealand at 1 with a score of 9.4

Source: (

I was going to do an average for the whole set of attending countries but the CoP list of attendees on their website (marked unofficial) doesn’t have Italy, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Argentina, Eqypt, Pakistan, Ukraine or Paraguay in attendance amongst others, along of course with Iraq and Afghanistan. This list might cause consternation in diplomatic circles when it comes to claiming expenses, although I’m pretty certain that Saudi Arabia was represented as its representative was one of the few to mention Climategate.

And these guys want to run the world.

It’s a face-saver. Had the Chinese and the Americans failed to come to some sort of mutual agreement, then they would have been blamed for *all* the failures.

It does seem that very many countries had very many different views of what the summit was about and they arrived with their own agendas. A large number seemed to think that the summit was about ‘reparations’, others seemed to think that they were there to get handouts (In some cases to repair damage to their land which they themselves had caused), some were perhaps genuinely striving for an agreement, others (or rather the delegates from others) may have been trying to make themselves ‘look good’ in the eyes of the world and yet others may have hidden agendas which were never revealed.

Perhaps the summit tried to do too much at once?

1. Global Warming and the relationship to man-made carbon emissions. If global warming is occurring (and if it is going to continue to occur) [I’m neither a warm-monger nor a denier; I don’t know] then that is one of the problems the summit might have addressed. The discussions might have included:

(a) Reduction in emissions (bearing in mind that simply reducing human activity reduces jobs and puts people on welfare – or worse.)

(b) Technology transfer and the provision of assistance to those countries which lack the means to reduce their emissions.

(c)Preventing further damage to the environment. (Here, I’m thinking specifically about the damage done to rainforests; I still can’t understand why it will take 10 years not to cut down a tree. – Treat rain forest timber in the same way as we treat Ivory and the market would dry up overnight.

2. Poverty in many 3rd-world nations. That is a serious problem and deserves attention, but it’s nothing (or not much) to do with global warming.

3. Feeding all the people on the planet. If we are going to reduce carbon emissions, then it is likely that we will reduce the use of agrochemicals, which will lead to less intensive farming and lower yields per acre. The question of how do we feed rapidly-expanding populations – which perhaps includes the sensitive issue of population control in those nations – is yet another problem. One which nobody wanted to talk about.

Any one of those 3 problems could well have kept the summit busy for the whole of the 11 days. All 3 together was perhaps asking a bit too much. – Even if one of them was ignored.

I’ve a suspicion that the leaders of some countries may even be breathing a quiet sigh of relief and (althugh they might not be prepared to admit it) are glad that their proposals were not accepted.

Take Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister: (I’ve no doubt a number of people would add the word ‘Please’ to that sentence 😉 ) He’s coming to the end of a remarkably undistinguished term of office. He doesn’t seem to be particularly popular at home, so a bit of popularity elsewhere would no doubt be a great relief. I’m sure he – like most politicians – would like to ‘go down in history’ and preferably with a name which has more than 4 letters in it.

He appears to have acted like a novice Bridge player. His partner – the EU – made a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He made an even bigger bid (perhaps outbidding his hand?)

He offered to reduce UK emissions by 42% ! ( )

“… something [his own] British officials say would have “real costs” for households.

Environmentalists say such a high target for carbon cuts could only be reached if households are forced to drive, fly and consume significantly less by greater use of “green” taxes and much higher domestic energy prices. ”

It’s not as if the UK has a strong economy. – Forget about British Unemployment figures (they’re subject to more ‘adjustments’ than even the CRU would dare to do.) Look instead at British *employment* figures. Those figures – and they include everybody with any sort of job (even a 10 hour per week part-time job) show that a mere 72.5% of the British work force are in any form of employment. – So it follows that 27.5% of the work force have no job at all.

And he’s going to introduce measures which impose ‘real’ costs for households? Higher gas and electricity bills? How are the people who are out of work going to pay those costs and increased bills? It would probably have been somebody else’s problem next year, but if there’s no agreement, he may now be able to ‘forget’ his ridiculous offer.

The agreement between the US, China, Brazil, India and South Africa is a face-saver for some, and a political life-saver for (perhaps many) others.

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