Friday, July 11, 2008

Group of 8 Meeting

Andrew Revkin reports in the NY Times on the climate talks in Japan; under the headline: Global Warming Talks Leave Few Concrete Goals.

"I would characterize this outcome as ‘talking the talk’ rather then (sic) ‘walking the walk’ on climate change policy,” said Michael E. Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has co-written many papers on climate policy.

Dr. Schlesinger and others said that neither this week’s statements nor the two previous climate treaties seemed likely to significantly slow the rise over decades of heat-trapping gases, most notably carbon dioxide — an unavoidable byproduct of burning fossil fuels and forests.

Beyond any vagueness in this week’s statements is the challenge that climate policy must compete with other pressing global problems, particularly rising prices for energy.

This reality was on display in Japan in the days leading up to the leaders’ formal sessions. Gwyn Prins, an expert on climate policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, was there for discussions preceding the formal talks and noted that current concerns about energy security were already clearly interfering with discussions aimed at climate stability.

One day, in particular, he said, was “gloriously incoherent.” At a meeting in the morning, participants focused on finding ways to reduce gas prices, he said, while a session that afternoon focused on raising them through caps or taxes on fossil fuels.
Ouch. This may be a good weekend to drink heavily and get "gloriously incoherent" myself.

posted at 7:01:00 AM by Neil

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