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Copenhagen report III Copenhagen report III
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-11 07:56:41
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Sarah Palin, Dem greens' grinch

If every great cause requires an even greater villain, Democratic greens have found one in Sarah Palin. House Democrats spent Thursday targeting former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for using decade-old e-mails from English climate scientists to bolster her claim that global warming is “bogus” and ridiculing her op-ed in The Washington Post calling for President Barack Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate talks.
Palin and other critics of Copenhagen have seized on a passel of stolen late-1990s messages reportedly showing that scientists from East Anglia University may have fudged climate change findings. 

Progressives, in damage control mode, have quickly countered with an avalanche of untainted peer-reviewed reports pointing to man-made global warming. “Before Sarah Palin writes a book, she should try reading a few,” said Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who followed up with a series of peer-reviewed reports on rising sea levels, air temperatures and ocean acidity.

Palin’s position is “worse than one of denial – it’s one of defeatism,” added Inslee, echoing earlier comments by former Vice-President Al Gore. “Ex-Governor Palin is at it again, [she] somehow has discovered some kind of smoking gun,” added Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who compared Palin’s statements to her support of the discredited “death panel” charges over the summer. “There is no there,” he added. “And the ex-governor’s state has [suffered] the greatest impact in terms of global warming of any state in the nation…It’s absolutely critical that we not allow the same sort of death panel, swift-boating to occur.”

Asked if Obama should stand up to Palin personally, Inslee shot back: “There are those in the birther movement encouraged by the former governor of Alaska who doesn’t even believe he’s president.”


China urges deep soul-searching for US on climate

The U.S. and China exchanged barbs Wednesday at the Copenhagen climate talks, underscoring the abiding suspicion between the world's two largest carbon polluters about the sincerity of their pledges to control emissions. U.S. chief negotiator Todd Stern urged China to "stand behind" its promise to slow the growth of the country's carbon output and make the declaration part of an international climate change agreement.

China rejected that demand, and renewed its criticism of the U.S. for failing to meet its 17-year-old commitment to provide financial aid to developing countries and to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases warming the Earth. "What they should do is some deep soul-searching," said Yu Qingtai, China's chief climate negotiator. The remarks during separate news conferences reflected the heavy lifting that remains in the 10 days before 110 heads of state and government conclude the summit, which aims to create a political framework for a treaty next year to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

President Barack Obama helped break the ice in the troubled negotiations last month, saying he would deliver a pledge at Copenhagen to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by around 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. It will be the first time the U.S. has committed to a reduction target. China responded a day later, announcing it would voluntarily reduce the carbon intensity of its industry by up to 45 percent, meaning its emissions would continue to grow but at a rate lower than the economy. Stern said China's announcement boosted optimism before the conference, but didn't go far enough.

"What's important is not just that they announce them domestically but they put them as part of an international agreement," Stern said. Whatever actions the Chinese take to slow emissions growth should be transparent, he said, "it's not just a matter of trust." The Chinese delegate accused the Americans and other wealthy countries of insincerity when they signed the 1992 climate convention promising voluntary carbon reductions. The convention was amended five years later in Kyoto, making reductions mandatory for most industrial countries. The United States rejected the protocol because it did not include China or India.

During the talks Wednesday, the tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu seized the initiative with a demand that the conference go beyond a political deal and negotiate a new protocol with the same legal standing as Kyoto. Tuvalu and other island nations are threatened by rising sea levels that scientists say will engulf low-lying areas as Arctic ice sheets and mountain glaciers melt. "Our future rests on the outcome of this meeting," said Tuvalu delegate Ian Fry.


Soros: Finance gap could 'wreck' climate talks

The $10 billion a year proposed by rich nations to help the poor adapt to climate change is "not sufficient" and the gap between what's offered and what's needed could wreck the Copenhagen climate conference, American billionaire George Soros said Thursday. At a European Union summit in Brussels, meanwhile, the western, wealthier nations had to press poorer, reluctant neighbors in Eastern Europe to contribute even to the $10 billion fund.

"Europe should take its fair share" of the $5 billion to $7 billion a year target sum for 2010-2012, said Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfelt, whose country holds the EU's rotating  presidency. The EU is expected to announce later Thursday the amount of money it will offer to impoverished, developing nations. Britain has said it will contribute $1.3 billion over three years, and Sweden will give euro800 million ($1.2 billion). The investor-philanthropist Soros, one in a line of international notables visiting the 192-nation meeting, told reporters he had developed a partial solution to the funding problem. Soros suggested shifting some International Monetary Fund resources from providing liquidity to stressed global financial systems to a new mission of financing projects in developing countries for clean energy and adapting to climate change.

About $100 billion in a one-time infusion could be generated, said Soros, a major supporter of causes in the developing world. But he acknowledged a major roadblock in Washington. "It is possible to substantially increase the amount available to fight global warming in the developing world," Soros said. "All that is lacking is the political will. Unfortunately the political will be difficult to gather because of the mere fact that it requires congressional approval in the United States."

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