U.S. sees progress in easing climate row with China

CANCUN, Mexico Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:26pm EST

1 of 6. Activists of Oxfam carry a giant bottle on the shores of a beach in Cancun November 28, 2010. The bottle contains a message reading 'Urgent: Save Lives in Cancun,' in reference to millions of world's poorest people. Mexico will host international climate change talks among almost 200 nations meeting in Cancun from November 29 to December 10.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - Washington claimed progress in easing rifts with Beijing on ways to fight global warming on Monday as U.N. climate talks got under way in Mexico with warnings about the rising costs of inaction.

The United States and China, the world's largest economies and top greenhouse gas emitters, have accused each other of doing little to combat global warming in 2010, contributing to deadlock in the U.N. talks among almost 200 nations.

"I think that a success here will only emerge if we can both come to agreement," said Jonathan Pershing, heading the U.S. delegation at the talks in Cancun.

"We have spent a lot of energy in the past month working on those issues where we disagree and trying to resolve them. My sense is that we have made progress. It remains to be seen how this meeting comes out," he said.

The talks, in a tightly guarded hotel complex by the Caribbean with warships visible off the coast, are seeking ways to revive negotiations after the U.N. Copenhagen summit failed to agree to a binding treaty in 2009.

The United Nations wants agreement on a new "green fund" to help developing nations as well as ways to preserve rainforests and to help the poor adapt to climbing temperatures. It will also seek to formalize existing targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

China's chief delegate, Su Wei, was more guarded about progress.

"We've had a very candid, very open dialogue with our U.S. friends and I think both the U.S. and China would very much like to see a good outcome at Cancun," he told Reuters.

Climate is one of several issues dividing the two as well as disputes over trade and exchange rates. Preparatory U.N. climate talks in China in October were dominated by disputes between Washington and China.

Pershing also said President Barack Obama was committed to a goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 despite Republican gains in mid-term elections.

Earlier, the talks opened with calls for action to avoid rising damage from floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

"Our relation with nature is reaching a critical point," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said.

"Delays in action would only lead to impacts which would be much larger and in all likelihood more severe than we have had so far," said Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists.

He said costs of containing global warming would rise the longer the world waited.

The talks are seeking to find a successor to the U.N.'s existing Kyoto Protocol, which obliges rich nations except the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Kyoto backers say they will only deepen their cuts, shifting from fossil fuels to clean energies like wind or solar power, until 2020 if the United States and big emerging economies led by China and India take on binding curbs.

Developing nations say they need to burn more energy, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, to fight poverty. U.S. President Barack Obama's hopes of legislating greenhouse gas cuts vanished after Republican gains in mid-term elections.

Success would help get the talks back on track after the acrimonious Copenhagen summit agreed to a non-binding deal to limit a rise in world temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial times.

Failure would raise questions about the future of Kyoto, which underpins prices in carbon markets. Unless a new round is negotiated, Kyoto will end in 2012, leaving a patchwork of national measures to combat climate change.

"The stakes in Cancun are high. In the run-up to Copenhagen there was perhaps too much hype, and expectations were too high. Now we must avoid the opposite, that the bar is lowered too much," Danish Climate Minister Lykke Friis said.

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Comments (2)
ECOPOLITICS wrote:
Decades of hysterical fear mongering and out right science fraud concerning global warming and climate change have created a sort of “green fatigue.” Climate has become a goldmine of scary propaganda to fatten eco-group fundraising. Al Gore would become the world’s first “carbon billionaire.” Global government regulators have spent (or proposed to spend) hundreds of billions of dollars to control climate based primarily upon U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and policies.

Last year’s “climategate” scandal began with the publication of thousands of U.N. climate scientist e-mails that revealed their eco-biases. These biases may be mitigated by the Inter Academy Council (IAC) reforms that would end the chronic exaggerations about global warming coming from the U.N.

What remains as disturbing about the U.N.’s climate culture is the socialist governance that has now been openly advocated by members of the IPCC. Several members meeting this week in Cancun at the annual conference to replace the 2012-expiring Kyoto Protocols have spoken in pure Marxist-socialist principles – wealth redistribution.

A Chinese member said that multi-billion dollar Western developed-nation payments would be the key to success of the Cancun meeting. And, co-chairman of the IPCC’s third working group, Ottmar Edenhofer, has stated, “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.”

The IPCC meeting in Cancun is not expected to accomplish much more than to subtly shift the operative regulatory language from “climate change” to “global biodiversity,” and attempt to shakedown developed countries for billions in order to fund underdeveloped countries under the guise of environmental and social justice. Karl Marx would be most proud.

It is clear that socialist ideologies and cultish environmentalism have replaced prudent science and economics in U.N. climate policy. Militant environmentalism and green-obsessed bureaucrats have become an “axis of antagonism” that we can no longer afford.

Nov 29, 2010 9:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
tangogo68 wrote:
In reply to ‘ECOPOLITICS’ — you’re speaking rubbish.
Scientists are typically conservative, and their research findings are not in fact motivated by your claims of a so-called Marxist-socialist ideology. The money in this equation is almost wholly and solely with the energy companies and car manufacturers. To try to paint scientists as part of a wealthy conspiracy dedicated to forming a malevolent world government is silly. I figure you are probably a childless baby-boomer, desperately worried that your affluence will be diminished by a cultural and generational shift away from reckless consumption and selfish exploitation of the finite resources of the planet. You would be better off trying to acknowledge the negative consequences of your greedy ‘lifestyle’ and coming to terms with the inevitable political changes that are slowly emanating from the heightened consciousness of the damage that is being done to our descendant’s prospects for a life that is even close to the levels of comfort enjoyed by yourself and your ilk. As you age further, your economic and your physical capacities to enjoy your twilight years are coming back to bite you. Blaming scientific research for this is either childish or senile.

Nov 29, 2010 9:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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