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CCNet 30/09/14

Obama’s £100 Billion Climate Promise May Sink UN Climate Deal 

China’s Demand For UN Climate Deal: $100 Billion P.A



Every age has its peculiar folly; some scheme, project, or phantasy into which it plunges, spurred on either by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the mere force of imitation. Failing in these, it has some madness, to which it is goaded by political or religious causes, or both combined. --Charles MacKay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, London 1852.
 
 

 
President Obama arrives [in Copenhagen] on Friday morning bent on applying a combination of muscle and personal charm to secure a climate change agreement involving nearly 200 countries. The world is looking to Mr. Obama to wrest some credible success from this process. The administration provided the talks with a palpable boost on Thursday when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that the United States would contribute its share of $100 billion a year in long-term financing to help poor nations adapt to climate change. --The New York Times, 17 December 2009

 
 

 
 
 
 


What once seemed a harmless token of good will from rich countries to poor ones could derail negotiations over a global climate deal next year. Developing nations want industrial countries to contribute the $100 billion they promised for a Green Climate Fund by 2020 to pay for clean energy and other projects meant to help them adapt to a changing climate. That $100 billion was never realistic. Rich nations that were expected to contribute when the U.N. started the fund in 2010 aren't feeling rich anymore. Unless developing nations drop their demands, negotiations over a binding climate pact next year in Paris might be over before they really begin. --Zack Colman, The Washington Examiner, 29 September 2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
While President Obama challenged China at the United Nations to follow the U.S. lead in pushing for drastic reductions in national carbon emissions to save the planet from “climate change,” it appears that China has dramatically different ideas. As in: no. China insists that the U.S. and other developed countries endure most of the economic pain of carbon emission cutbacks, and need to make significantly more sacrifices in the months ahead. A promised $100 billion in annual climate financing that Western nations have already pledged to developing countries for carbon emission control and other actions by 2020 is only the “starting point” for additional Western financial commitments that must be laid out in a “clear road map,” which includes “specific targets, timelines and identified sources.” --George Russell, Fox News, 24 September 2014
 
 
 
 
 
Global communities might have missed India’s point at the climate summit in New York on September 23, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi made up for the loss four days later by articulating the country’s views on the necessary actions to be taken to face the challenges of climate change during his UN general assembly speech on 27th of September. In a remark which may disappoint rich nations, specifically the US, Canada and the European Union (EU) countries, Modi insisted on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) and made it clear that this should “form the basis of continued action” in future. It’s a clear signal that India will not dilute its well-stated position when the country representatives would assemble in Lima, Peru in December for climate change negotiations in the run up to the global deal in Paris next year. --Vishwa Mohan, The Times of India, 28 September 2014



 
 
Have we beaten “peak oil”? For decades, it has been a doomsday scenario looming large in the popular imagination: The world’s oil production tops out and then starts an inexorable decline—sending costs soaring and forcing nations to lay down strict rationing programs and battle for shrinking reserves. But a growing tide of oil-industry experts argue that peak oil looks at the situation in the wrong way. The real constraints we face are technological and economic, they say. We’re limited not by the amount of oil in the ground, but by how inventive we are about reaching new sources of fuel and how much we’re willing to pay to get at it. --Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 29 September 2014
 
 
 
 
 
From the beginning 25 years ago the arguments over climate science have dominated the scene and distracted us away from the fundamental problem: the prescribed method for preventing climate change is essentially replacing nearly all hydrocarbon energy, in the space of less than two generations.  For the developing world, it means remaining poor for several more decades. The developing world needs to triple its energy supply over the next generation if it is going to raise hundreds of millions out of abject poverty, and that means using abundant hydrocarbon energy, not expensive boutique energy popular with ever-preening rich Americans and Europeans.  The climate change community has reacted to this wreck of a policy not with second thoughts or openness to alternative frameworks, but with rage. --Steven Hayward, Forbes, 29 September 2014
 
 
 
 
1) Obama’s £100 Billion Climate Promise May Sink UN Climate Deal - The Washington Examiner, 29 September 2014
 
2) China’s Demand For UN Climate Deal: $100 Billion P.A. - Fox News, 24 September 2014
 
3) Indian Prime Minister Demands Rich Nations Accept Kyoto Principle And Pay Up - The Times of India, 28 September 2014
 
4) Why The World Will Never Run Out Of Oil - The Wall Street Journal, 29 September 2014
 
5) Steven Hayward: Climate Change Has Jumped the Shark - Forbes, 29 September 2014
 
 
 
 
 
1) Obama’s £100 Billion Climate Promise May Sink UN Climate Deal
The Washington Examiner, 29 September 2014
 
Zack Colman
 
NEW YORK — What once seemed a harmless token of good will from rich countries to poor ones could derail negotiations over a global climate deal next year.
 
Developing nations want industrial countries to contribute the $100 billion they promised for a Green Climate Fund by 2020 to pay for clean energy and other projects meant to help them adapt to a changing climate.
 
That $100 billion was never realistic. The fund has $2.3 billion, of which $1.3 billion was raised at the United Nations climate summit last week in New York. Rich nations that were expected to contribute when the U.N. started the fund in 2010 aren't feeling rich anymore.
 
Unless developing nations drop their demands, negotiations over a binding climate pact next year in Paris might be over before they really begin.
 
"The United States and other Western countries and other industrialized countries need to indicate that that amount of money won't be forthcoming. We can't allow this funding issue to sabotage an agreement on emissions," said Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on energy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
 
Inking a deal would be difficult anyway. Theoretically, nations want commitments to cut enough greenhouse gases by 2020 to avoid a 2 degree Celsius global temperature rise by 2100. Most climate scientists say not enough is being done to curb the emissions they blame for stoking climate change. They argue that even some steps that have been considered bold, such as President Obama's proposed rules on power plant emissions, are too tame.
 
The existence of yawning gaps between rhetoric and reality is routine at the U.N. And the hot air is no less plentiful on the subject of climate change than it is on other issues.
 
The Kyoto negotiations in 1997 set the precedent. They failed because China and India, hewing to their plans for economic growth, refused to participate. The United States balked at signing the treaty without them. The same nations also doomed the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen, the last major attempt to secure a climate treaty.
 
India remains obdurate. New Delhi has candidly expressed skepticism about the concept of climate change. It said bluntly last week that its emissions would continue to rise and it would not offer a plan to reduce them before the Paris negotiations.
 
Although the Copenhagen talks collapsed, the Green Climate Fund was one of the few tangible results of the negotiations. It is symbolic for developing nations and crucial for keeping them engaged in climate talks.
 
A key moment will come in November, when nations meet specifically to make pledges to the fund. U.N. officials have reduced their first-round goal to $10 billion from $15 billion.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
 
2) China’s Demand For UN Climate Deal: $100 Billion P.A.
Fox News, 24 September 2014
 
George Russell
 
While President Obama challenged China at the United Nations to follow the U.S. lead in pushing for drastic reductions in national carbon emissions to save the planet from “climate change,” it appears that China has dramatically different ideas. As in: no.
 
According to a document deposited at the Geneva-based U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in advance of a planned meeting next month, China — now the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases — insists that the U.S. and other developed countries endure most of the economic pain of carbon emission cutbacks, and need to make significantly more sacrifices in the months ahead.
 
Carbon emission cutbacks by China and other developing countries, the document says, will be “dependent on the adequate finance and technology support provided by developed country parties” to any new climate accord.
 
In other words, only if Western nations pay for it.
 
More specifically, only if Western taxpayers ante up.  Among other things, the Chinese communist regime insists that the incentive payments it demands must come from “new, additional, adequate, predictable and sustained public funds” — rather than mostly private financing, as the U.S. hopes.
In addition, the Chinese state:
 
– A promised $100 billion in annual climate financing that Western nations have already pledged  to developing countries for carbon emission control and other actions by 2020 is only  the “starting point” for additional Western financial commitments that must be laid out in a “clear road map,” which includes “specific targets, timelines and identified sources;”
 
–In the longer run, developed countries should be committing “at least 1 percent” of their Gross Domestic Product — much more than they spend on easing global poverty” into a U.N.-administered Green Carbon Fund to pay for the developing country changes;
 
–In the meantime, the $100 billion pledge to the same fund should be reached by $10 billion increments, starting from a $40 billion floor this year;
 
–Western countries also need to remove “obstacles such as IPRs [intellectual property rights]” to “promote, facilitate and finance the transfer” of “technologies and know-how” to developing countries in advance of any future climate deal;
 
CLICK HERE FOR THE PAPER
 
The Chinese submission is part of the paperwork submitted by a variety of nations in advance of negotiations on a new global climate treaty, which is slated to be unveiled at a grand climate summit meeting in Paris at the end of 2015. This week’s ballyhooed climate summit in New York City was intended to kick-start the diplomatic process that will wend toward the Paris finale.
 
The Paris 2015 treaty is supposed to replace the tattered Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2020, and which the U.S. never ratified — in large measure because huge greenhouse emitters like China and India were given a pass from most of its strictures.
 
Since then, countries like Canada and Russia have left the protocol, and others, like Japan, have declined to tighten the screws further on carbon emissions in a time of faltering economic growth.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
3) Indian Prime Minister Demands Rich Nations Accept Kyoto Principle & Pay Up
The Times of India, 28 September 2014
 
Vishwa Mohan
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi signaled that India will not dilute its well-stated position in the run up to the UN climate summit in Paris next year.
 
In a remark which may disappoint rich nations, specifically the US, Canada and the European Union (EU) countries, Modi insisted on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) and made it clear that this should “form the basis of continued action” in future. (PTI Photo)
 
Global communities might have missed India’s point at the climate summit in New York on September 23, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi made up for the loss four days later by articulating the country’s views on the necessary actions to be taken to face the challenges of climate change during his UN general assembly speech on 27th of September.

In a remark which may disappoint rich nations, specifically the US, Canada and the European Union (EU) countries, Modi insisted on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) and made it clear that this should “form the basis of continued action” in future.
 
It’s a clear signal that India will not dilute its well-stated position when the country representatives would assemble in Lima, Peru in December for climate change negotiations in the run up to the global deal in Paris next year.

Without shirking India’s responsibility, Modi sought to remind the gathering of the core of the Kyoto Protocol and said, “The world had agreed on a beautiful balance of collective action – common but differentiated responsibilities. That should form the basis of continued action. This also means that the developed countries must fulfill their commitments for funding and technology transfer”.

The remark assumes significance ahead of the Peru Climate talks where the rich nations may try to negotiate around diluting the clause of the UN convention and insist that the world is changing and this should be reflected in the principle of CBDR as well. Developed countries have consistently been pointing out the records of China and India – fast developing economies – that have been emitting fairly high percentage of carbon into atmosphere in the past over one decade.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
4) Why The World Will Never Run Out Of Oil
The Wall Street Journal, 29 September 2014
 
Russell Gold
 
Have we beaten “peak oil”?
 
For decades, it has been a doomsday scenario looming large in the popular imagination: The world’s oil production tops out and then starts an inexorable decline—sending costs soaring and forcing nations to lay down strict rationing programs and battle for shrinking reserves.
 
U.S. oil production did peak in the 1970s and sank for decades after, exactly as the theory predicted. But then it did something the theory didn’t predict: It started rising again in 2009, and hasn’t stopped, thanks to a leap forward in oil-field technology.
 
 
To the peak-oil adherents, this is just a respite, and decline is inevitable. But a growing tide of oil-industry experts argue that peak oil looks at the situation in the wrong way. The real constraints we face are technological and economic, they say. We’re limited not by the amount of oil in the ground, but by how inventive we are about reaching new sources of fuel and how much we’re willing to pay to get at it.
 
“Technology moves so quickly today that any looming resource constraint will be nothing more than a blip,” says petroleum economist Phil Verleger. “We adjust.”
 
Whether peak oil exists is more than just a point of intellectual debate—although it certainly has proved to be a heated and divisive one for decades. The question—and how we think about it—also has a big potential impact for governments, oil producers and ordinary people across the globe, all of whom depend on the vagaries of oil production and would be threatened by soaring costs and shortages.
 
The peak-oil boosters argue that instead of plowing money into new ways to find oil, we should be conserving what we have and investing in alternative energy sources so that we’re prepared when supplies run low and costs soar. Most of the naysayers agree that we shouldn’t stick with oil forever. But they think it’s wiser to invest in technology to keep expanding the available supply, until it gets too expensive to do so. At that point, they’re confident, we’ll be able to come up with an economical alternative.
 
The History of an Idea
 
Peak oil was most widely popularized by M. King Hubbert, a brilliant—and egotistic, by some accounts—geologist who worked for years at Shell Oil. In a 1956 paper, he predicted that U.S. oil production would peak, probably in the early 1970s, and then decline. It would resemble a bell curve.
 
This came to be called Hubbert’s peak and later peak oil. The idea gained enormous popularity when U.S. oil output did in fact peak in the early 1970s. It took hold at a time when the nation was prepared to believe the worst: Drivers were waiting in long gas lines, and the nation felt it was groaning under the yoke of OPEC. Forecasters like Paul Ehrlich became celebrities with dire warnings of overpopulation and exhaustion of natural resources.
 
As the theory took hold, it helped justify increased investments in alternative energy, and informed some expert thinking about the future of energy. More recently, the theory saw a surge of interest a few years ago when oil prices were high and seemed stuck there.
 
“Welcome to the world beyond Hubbert’s peak,” wrote Kenneth Deffeyes, one of the adherents of peak oil, in 2008.
 
Then the data took a detour from the bell curve. In 2008, the U.S. produced five million barrels a day. In 2009, U.S. oil production began to rise—at first slowly, then quickly. It is still rising today. Through the first half of 2014, it averaged 8.3 million barrels a day.
 
What changed? An innovation in oil-field technology, which peak-oil theory didn’t anticipate. Energy companies combined hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to wring oil out of super-tight rock formations in North America. The industry figured out that pumping chemically slickened water and sand into shales could create thousands of fractures, each one a tiny path for energy molecules to travel into a well.
 
Full story
 
 

5) Steven Hayward: Climate Change Has Jumped the Shark
Forbes, 29 September 2014
 
Lay aside for now all of the arguments that can be made about the weaknesses of catastrophic climate change predictions.  In fact, for purposes of discussion, let’s assume that the worst-case scenario is likely to come true. The paradox of climate change is exactly this: the more serious the problem, the more implausible are the remedies of the environmental community. That’s what ought to make the climate campaigners realize that last weekend’s mega-march in New York City represents the dead-end for their cause. Truly we can invoke that overused cliché that climate change has “jumped the shark.”
 
Here’s why: From the beginning 25 years ago the arguments over climate science have dominated the scene and distracted us away from the fundamental problem: the prescribed method for preventing climate change is essentially replacing nearly all hydrocarbon energy, in the space of less than two generations.  Climate orthodoxy calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, by the year 2050, which would take the United States back to a level of hydrocarbon energy use last seen more than 100 years ago.  For the developing world, it means remaining poor for several more decades.
 
There has been very little recognition and less candor about the sheer fantasy of the emissions target.  Energy transitions, as the energy scholar Vaclav Smil has explained in great detail, are long-term affairs, even if a new superior technology exists to displace a current technology.  But affordable large-scale, low- or non-carbon energy capable of replacing our current energy infrastructure simply doesn’t exist at present, and there isn’t much on the horizon. 
 
The developing world needs to triple its energy supply over the next generation if it is going to raise hundreds of millions out of abject poverty, and that means using abundant hydrocarbon energy, not expensive boutique energy popular with ever-preening rich Americans and Europeans. Just last week India’s new environmental minister, Prakash Javadekar, reiterated that India is not willing to discuss limitations on its rapidly growing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.  “India’s first task is eradication of poverty,” Javadekar told the New York Times; “Twenty percent of our population doesn’t have access to electricity, and that’s our top priority. We will grow faster, and our emissions will rise.”
 
American and European climate change action advocates have ignored these realities, and have from the earliest engaged in relentless happy talk that a shift to renewable energy (chiefly solar, wind, and biofuels) would launch us down the golden road to a post-carbon energy future. The more economically illiterate among the climateers peddle the free-lunch argument that we’ll all get richer by mandating investment in more expensive, low-yield energy sources. The relatively modest amounts of low-carbon energy developed over the last two decades have required enormous government subsidies and have delivered negligible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  (In some cases, like biofuels from palm oil and corn, the full environmental tradeoff is likely negative.)  The bitter irony for the climateers is that the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have been achieved by the production of newly abundant cheap natural gas through fracking, which has been displacing coal at a rapid rate.
 
The climate change community has reacted to this wreck of a policy not with second thoughts or openness to alternative frameworks, but with rage.  The fact that global warming has slowed or stopped, and that an increasing number of peer reviewed studies conclude that climate sensitivity is overestimated (meaning that the problem is either over-predicted or will be much slower in developing) is greeted with denunciations, and a shockingly shallow new refrain that “97 percent of scientists believe in climate change,” which is like saying that “100 percent of scientists believe in gravity” in response to any query about the mysteries of how gravity actually works.  When you point out the unreality of green energy dreams, you are met with foam-flecked denunciations of the Koch brothers.  In fact the opposition to the climateers is tiny by comparison to the resources deployed by the environmental establishment, not to mention the massive sympathy they receive from an uncritical media.  From the way people like Al Gore complain you’d think the climateers were up against the teachers union. [...]
 
The last big march in New York City like this was the 1982 march in favor of a nuclear freeze.  It drew more than twice as many people as last week’s climate march, and was equally irrelevant, if not in fact a hindrance, to genuine efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear war.  This is what a political movement looks like when it cannot recognize reality: it descends into ever more radical fantasies and rage, and gives its voice over to its most extreme elements.  Like anti-nuclear activism 30 years ago, climate change activism has decayed into irresponsible advocacy, and deserves the increasing scorn of the public.  And like the nuclear freeze movement of 30 years ago, if catastrophic climate change is a real prospect decades from now, these are the last people who should be put in charge of developing responses.
 
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