No 359 Posted by fw, December 10, 2011
In a polished Q&A session with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Kate Horner, a policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, responded to Goodman’s questions. Here’s the video clip of the Goodman-Horner dialog. The segment also includes an exchange with Michael Dorsey, assistant professor at Dartmouth College with the Environmental Studies Program and a clip of supreme denialist Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican senator from Oklahoma, who was “happy to bring you the good news about the complete collapse of the global warming movement and the failure of the Kyoto process.”
TRANSCRIPT OF HORNER’S RESPONSES TO GOODMAN’S QUESTIONS (subheadings are mine)
Four years after the Bali road map agreement, it remains unimplemented
We are very far from agreement, even as the conference comes to a close tonight. Four years ago in Bali, the world agreed on a road map that would fairly address 100 percent of global emissions, meant that the developed world would agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only legally binding instrument that we have to address climate change. There was a compromise struck for the United States, which has long repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, and they said that they would take on action that was comparable to the rest of the world. And lastly, the world agreed to provide technology and finance for developing countries, who are currently and will be impacted by this crisis for years to come. Even now, four years later, that road map remains unimplemented.
The world is on track to deliver 5˚C warming, “a level that will cause unimaginable human suffering”
According to the recent reports by the United Nations and others, the pledges that we got for emissions reductions last year in Cancún will, in the worst-case scenario, deliver a five degrees of warming in this world. That level of warming will cause unimaginable human suffering for Americans at home, as well as around the world.
Talk of yet another new road map will delay action 5 to 10 years
And yet, here at the talks in Durban, there’s a lot of talk about a new mandate to launch a new round of negotiations, even as the existing road map and the existing promises that have been made haven’t been kept. The new road map will possibly delay action by five to 10 years as it’s negotiated and then ratified. It could possibly be much, much weaker than the system that we have in place now, in which developed countries merely pledge whatever they’re willing to do domestically, regardless of whether that, in total, will yield a safe climate future. And it will also compel—and this is what we understand consists of many of the proposals on the table—to compel developing countries, who are least responsible for having caused this problem, to take on binding cuts. It’s unfair, and it won’t work. The problem that we have now was caused by the cumulative emissions in the atmosphere. And developing countries simply haven’t contributed the same amount, and they don’t bear the same historic responsibility. So we’re in a very dangerous position of, in the next 24 hours, having to shift the talks from the current focus on a new mandate towards delivering on the mandate that we presently have in a fair and equitable fashion.
Grist said that . . . the four degrees of warming is incompatible with organized society. This is the level of impact that we’re talking about. It’s frightening. It’s severe. And if we can imagine what that will mean for us in the United States, imagine what that then means for the communities around the world who face health impacts, education, all the other development priorities.
The U.S. has led an exit strategy from Kyoto with Canada and Japan tagging along
The United States, as I mentioned earlier, has a long history in multilateral affairs of weakening and delaying international deals where they don’t have domestic legislation in place. The U.S. position here, of course, is shaped substantially by its failure to secure legislation at home, as well as the polarized politics that we see at home. Here, what they’ve done is, firstly, by refusing to commit to the Kyoto Protocol, leading an exit strategy from the Kyoto Protocol. Others have followed behind, Canada and Japan among them.
Obama’s team at COP17 has represented the elites and polluters
[Climate science] is clear, it’s compelling, and it’s urgent. And we must listen to it. I think that what this demonstrates is, yet again, politicians speaking on behalf of the 1 percent—the polluters, the financial elites—that stand to benefit from a lack of action, and not the 99 percent that are demanding climate justice around the world. I think that Obama’s team here has, of course, continued to represent those elites and those polluters, and that’s in large part what’s driving his position here. . . . the world expected more of Obama. They gave him a chance to enter into these discussions in a productive, constructive way, and his team here hasn’t. I think when you talk to delegates, you’ll see some of that frustration, and you’ll see some of the concerns around the blocking of progress.
Source: Obama Admin Denounced for “Startling Level of Obstructionism and Defeatism” on U.N. Climate Deal, Democracy Now! December 9, 2011. For a full transcript of this segment of the program, click on the title.
About Kate Horner — Kate Horner is a policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, leading the organization’s work on forest protection, with a focus on ensuring that emerging climate policies lead to real emissions reductions, the protection of human rights and sustainable development. Kate tracks developments in U.S. policy, multilateral environmental agreements and international financial institutions. She has worked closely with indigenous peoples’ organizations, local communities, development organizations and economists to advocate for policies that address the real drivers of deforestation in both developed and developing countries, including demand-side measures, forest governance and land tenure reform, and policy coherence. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth in 2006, Kate held positions as a political campaign manager, a health and labor researcher and as an editor.