Skip to comments.Cancunhagen - Fourth dispatch from the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun
Posted on 12/11/2010 10:41:54 PM PST by neverdem
(The 1st, 2nd and 3rd reports are linked below.)
CancunThe once positive and constructive atmosphere at the Cancun climate change conference turned murky on Thursday. It appears that the president of the conference, Mexican environment minister Patricia Espinosa has asked a relatively small group of countries to hammer out new language for agreements on greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments and climate change financing. She also wants to avoid the drama of a late night negotiating cliffhanger, so she has reportedly set a deadline for agreements for Friday morning.
The Ghost of Copenhagen Rises from the Grave
Speaking at the afternoon Friends of the Earth International (FOE) press conference, Meena Raman, secretary general of FOE Malaysia, acknowledged that no one outside of the negotiations has actually seen the draft documents. "We are concerned that this is not a transparent and inclusive process," said Raman. Apparently, the Bolivian negotiators were invited to participate, but they denounced the effort as contrary to the spirit of the United Nations and stalked out of the room.
Raman especially feared that what is being negotiated is a deal in which the emissions reduction pledges made under the banner of the Copenhagen Accord would essentially replace any future commitments to the Kyoto Protocol. If so, it would be the death knell of the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries and environmental activists continue to pin their hopes on the Kyoto Protocol because it embodies the only process that binds countries to do anything about climate change. It is also the only treaty under which funds are disbursed to support various climate change programs in poor countries. Both developing country negotiators and activists fear that if the Kyoto Protocol goes by the way, there will never be another such treaty.
Raman's colleague FOE policy analyst Kate Horner somewhat bitterly commented, "Cancun will finally lay to rest the ghost of Copenhagen by anchoring weak mitigation pledges." In negotiation jargon "mitigation" refers to efforts to curb the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and "anchoring" refers to some method getting countries to somehow become officially responsible for the greenhouse gas reduction pledges they made the pursuant to the non-binding Copenhagen Accord.
One rumor is that both developed and developing countries might wind up simply listing their pledges on "information documents" as annexes to the Copenhagen Accord. Such information documents would be largely aspirational without much legal force.
Climate Negotiatons as Dadaism
Isaac Rojas, the coordinator of FOE's Forest and Biodiversity Program, was also worried, but he did say this: "President Evo Morales fills us with hope. He gives us strength." Rojas noted that the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia has already called the conference, "Cancunhagen"an allusion suggesting that this meeting could end up being much like last year's climate change negotiations fiasco in Copenhagen.
But what kind of hope might Morales be offering? On Thursday afternoon a proposal on draft decisions related a shared vision for long-term cooperative action was submitted to the conference by Bolivia. Negotiators from 194 countries have been struggling to reach an agreement on such a vision.
In the main document being considered by negotiators, one option for the shared vision is the recognition that "deep cuts in global emissions are required by science." Such cuts would aim to hold the increase in global average temperature below 1, 1.5, or 2 degrees Celsius (which is yet to be decided) above pre-industrial levels. Another option would aim to get greenhouse gas concentrations below 350 parts per million (carbon dioxide is already 390 ppm and in carbon dioxide equivalent terms, all greenhouse gases exceed 430 ppm now). Rich countries would also agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 percent by 2050.
One of the slogans recited incessantly by activists here in Cancun is that the conference needs "more ambition." It would be hard to be more ambitious than the proposed draft offered by the Plurinational State of Bolivia. In its proposed vision, rich countries are to take the lead in "returning greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to well below 300 ppm" and stabilize global average temperature increase to a maximum level of 1 degree Celsius. Instead of allowing rich countries to dawdle with regard to cutting their emissions, the Plurinational State wants to require rich countries to cut their emissions by at least 50 percent by 2017 and by "more than 100 percent before 2040." In addition, climate reparations to poor countries to fund their adaptation, mitigation, and technology transfer efforts "shall be equivalent to the budget that developed countries spend in defense, security, and warfare." Keep in mind that when the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm in the 18th century, the world was still enduring the Little Ice Age. One must admit that the Bolivian proposal exhibits a certain audacious Dadaist quality.
The Scientific Minority Speaks
The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, D.C.-based free market environmental advocacy group, held a press conference in the afternoon featuring University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologist Roy Spencer. Spencer is one of the principle investigators behind the global temperature data series based on measurements from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. He is also an outspoken skeptic of claims that accumulating greenhouse gases will massively warm the atmosphere. At the press conference Spencer acknowledged that he is in the scientific minority among climatologists.
Spencer is not skeptical about the fact that burning fossil fuels is increasing the carbon dioxide in atmosphere; that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas; or that, all other things being equal, increased carbon dioxide will produce more warming. Although some activists have called him and his colleagues "denialists," Spencer concurs that there is no scientific disagreement over the fact that the Earth has been warming. "What we deny is that we have any certainty about how much of the recent warming is due to man," said Spencer. "We deny that it's mostly man-made."
It is widely accepted that doubling carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere would warm the planet by about 1 degree Celsius. Climate computer models project higher levels of warming based on the amplifying effects of various feedbacks. One of the chief positive feedback loops in the models involves clouds. In this is case, warming causes fewer clouds which allows more sunlight to reach the surface warming the planet.
But Spencer argues that the models have mixed up cause and effect and asks, "What if the warming was caused by fewer clouds, rather than the fewer clouds being caused by warming?" In fact, in a study published earlier this year [PDF] Spencer and his colleague William Brasswell found that "when cloud changes cause temperature changes, it gives the illusion of positive cloud feedbackeven if strongly negative cloud feedback is really operating."
After the press conference, I asked Spencer what kind of research program would be needed to resolve this cause and effect question. He said that the problem is so complicated that he doubted that one could be devised. I hope that he is wrong, because if he's right then the modelers have little incentive to change the way they represent cloud feedback. It would be interesting if modelers were to incorporate Spencer's negative feedback results to see how closely their models reproduce the climate of the past century or so. If the results were not so different from the actual record that would suggest, but not prove, that the cause and effect issue has not been resolved.
Finally, the latest news from the conference is that Russian negotiators are saying that their country will not renew its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
So the president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia may be prescient: Cancunhagen is looking more likely.
Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey will be filing daily dispatches from the Cancun climate change conference for the rest of this week.
Cancun Climate Change Shakedown - First dispatch from the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun
Cancun Climate Platitudes and Predictions - Second dispatch from the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun
Cancun Crunch Time - Third dispatch from the United Nations Climate Change conference in Cancun
America! It's about
Can’t wait to watch this little empire be defunded.
“Will fudge climate statistics for food.”
AMERICAN TAXPAYER MONIES used to party in Cancun. We need to defund these criminals and throw them the hell out of our country! These are just one of many enemies within!
Hey Patricia! Patty!! Mind your own business and let the world’s people work out their own business and you go do likewise, O.K.?
you trhin k the following will get any prime time press coverage?
“Climate Depot Exclusive: 321-page ‘Consensus Buster’ Report set to further chill UN Climate Summit in Cancun”
“More than 1,000 dissenting scientists (updates previous 700 scientist report) from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 2010 321-page Climate Depot Special Report — updated from the 2007 groundbreaking U.S. Senate Report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming consensus — features the skeptical voices of over 1,000 international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated 2010 report includes a dramatic increase of over 300 additional (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the last update in March 2009. This report’s release coincides with the 2010 UN global warming summit in being held in Cancun.
The more than 300 additional scientists added to this report since March 2009 (21 months ago), represents an average of nearly four skeptical scientists a week speaking out publicly. The well over 1,000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010 as the Climategate scandal — which involved the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists — detonated upon on the international climate movement. “I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple,” said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke. Climategate prompted UN IPCC scientists to turn on each other. UN IPCC scientist Eduardo Zorita publicly declared that his Climategate colleagues Michael Mann and Phil Jones “should be barred from the IPCC process...They are not credible anymore.” Zorita also noted how insular the IPCC science had become. “By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication,” Zorita wrote. A UN lead author Richard Tol grew disillusioned with the IPCC and lamented that it had been “captured” and demanded that “the Chair of IPCC and the Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups should be removed.” Tol also publicly called for the “suspension” of IPCC Process in 2010 after being invited by the UN to participate as lead author again in the next IPCC Report. [Note: Zorita and Tol are not included in the count of dissenting scientists in this report.]
Select quotes from the article link I posted above:
“I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple,” said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke.
Dr. Judith Curry, the chair of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at GA Institute of Tech, explained her defection from the global warming activist movement. “There is ‘a lack of willingness in the climate change community to steer away from groupthink...’ They are setting themselves up as second-rate scientists by not engaging,
The whole idea of anthropogenic global warming is completely unfounded. There appears to have been money gained by Michael Mann, Al Gore and UN IPCC’s Rajendra Pachauri as a consequence of this deception, so it’s fraud. — South African astrophysicist Hilton Ratcliffe, a member of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and a Fellow of the British Institute of Physics.
The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal. Science is too important for our society to be misused in the way it has been done within the Climate Science Community. The global warming establishment has actively suppressed research results presented by researchers that do not comply with the dogma of the IPCC. — Swedish Climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University. [Updated December 9, 2010. Corrects Jelbring’s quote.]
Hundreds of billion dollars have been wasted with the attempt of imposing a Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that is not supported by physical world evidences...AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks. — Brazilian Geologist Geraldo Luís Lino, who authored the 2009 book The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon Was Converted into a False World Emergency.
In essence, the jig is up. The whole thing is a fraud. And even the fraudsters that fudged data are admitting to temperature history that they used to say didn’t happen...Perhaps what has doomed the Climategate fraudsters the most was their brazenness in fudging the data — Dr. Christopher J. Kobus, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University, specializes in alternative energy, thermal transport phenomena, two-phase flow and fluid and thermal energy systems.
Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself — Climate is beyond our power to control...Earth doesn’t care about governments or their legislation. You can’t find much actual global warming in present-day weather observations. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself. — Nobel Prize-Winning Stanford University Physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, and was formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
I don’t think conspirators will let facts get in their way.
Thanks for the ping!
His work has been ignored by both the "warmists" and the major media (or is there a difference between those????).
——”mitigation” refers to efforts to curb the accumulation of greenhouse gases-——
What the world really needs is enviro mitigation. The cancerous blight on humanity must be extracted from the body and put through a grinder much as undesirable tree trimmings
He isn't wrong. But I can suggest another incentive for the modelers: Suppose that all their models yield results that don't match what happens IRL? Isn't that an incentive to change?
Of course not. The real incentive these guys are looking at is the grant money that they are being paid to find evidence for AGW. Take that away, and then (ONLY then) the models will be fixed.
I think he probably is. Scientists are pretty darned clever at devising ways to isolate variables, once they have some idea what the variables are. One of the biggest gripes I have with the climate models is that the modelers assume they know what all the variables are. This despite the fact that new ones are discovered all the time, and the old ones are found not to behave as they thought.
But the continued mismatchs of the models to reality is piling up daily, and some of the more honest "warmists" are beginning to feel pretty darned uncomfortable with their position.
"Of course not. The real incentive these guys are looking at is the grant money that they are being paid to find evidence for AGW. Take that away, and then (ONLY then) the models will be fixed."
For some, you're probably right. There are some who have been seduced either by grant money, or the chance for notoriety. But there are others who are dedicated to the ethics of science. The first are more accurately called "science whores", and the others "scientists".
And that is precisely why he isn't wrong at all. Only way to close all the ratholes would be to run a real-world test in which human manipulation of some variable factor caused a measurable climate change. But we don't have a spare Earthlike planet to run such a test, and I suspect that the best human efforts to alter climate on this or any other planet would just disappear like spit in the ocean.
I can only suspect, because if proof were possible, that would be the end of this game right there.
Sorry, but not true. Science has other ways to determine the validity of hypotheses aside from "lab experiments". Admittedly, such experiments are the least ambiguous way of doing so, but it is NOT the sole method. Nobody has done a laboratory experimental verification of "plate tectonics", for instance, but there is no longer any doubt that it is real.
And as I said, the only way to close all the ratholes, assuming such a thing is necessarily possible.
I stand by my statement. HAND.
Science has other ways to determine the validity of hypotheses aside from "lab experiments".
Invalidating fundamental assumptions is an elegant way to wreck an argument. Spencer's statement is another version of the chicken and egg argument: "What came first"?
Combine that with the perfect example of the limitations of computer models, GIGO. Reassuring computer models said everything was OK with Wall Street and the housing bubble. Only a relatively few people could recognize "The Black Swan" staring AIG, HUD, Fannie and Freddie in the face.
The egg, of course. According to evolution, that which laid said egg was not yet a chicken.... :^)
Of course, the creationists have a different take.