Still-Unspecified 'Loss & Damage'
The United Nations is pushing for a novel way to get billions of extra dollars from Western nations by imposing a retroactive penalty for still-unspecified losses and damages that can be laid at the doorstep of rich countries for their longstanding production of greenhouse gases.
The notion was vigorously opposed by the US at the talks, which concluded in Doha on Dec. 8 -- even though the US has never ratified the Protocol. But that did not stop the assembly of more than 195 nations from rolling the idea forward to their next meeting, in Warsaw next December.
In the meantime, the Kyoto parties are calling for more research “to further the understanding of and expertise on loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.”
In other words, the Protocol nations do not yet even know how exactly to define the loss and damage concept, especially the sort associated with “slow-onset” change associated with rising seas and desertification. Yet in their final resolution on the topic they underlined that “the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as reason for postponing action.”
The notion of some financial mechanism to compensate some countries for their extreme weather or climate would mark a large and acrimonious step in the climate debate, especially in a time of faltering international economies.
Until now, Western nations participating in the climate discussions have tacitly accepted the historical blame for greenhouse gas emissions, but avoided the notion of specific liability, by focusing on measures to cut greenhouse gases and adapt to climate changes.
At the same time, they have handed over plenty of cash already, through the Green Climate Fund, established in 2011 as a conduit for $30 billion in annual climate financing, with a long-term target of $100 billion a year of public and private funding. At Doha, the assembled nations agreed that the GCF would be headquartered in South Korea.
By the end of the Doha meeting this month, however, the Kyoto Protocol seemed weaker than ever, with Canada, Russia and Japan having formally declared they were not participating, and Japan and Canada having declared that they were leaving the pact.
In all, about 35 industrial nations led by the European Union have said their will comply with formal carbon emission reductions under the treaty, while many others, including rising industrial giants China and Brazil, are not called on to make such cuts. For its part, the Obama Administration says it will reduce US carbon emissions by 17 percent from their 2005 level by 2020, even without formal adherence to the Protocol.
President Obama, for one, has declared fighting “climate change” to be a second-term priority-- and so is the Kyoto process.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 12/19/2012
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