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Comments made by aubreymeyer

Scientists Weigh In On The Politics Of Climate Change

Being 'apolitical' - this is a difficult situation for scientists.

However, the US Senate voted for a climate treaty treaty. This 'Byrd-Hagel Resolution' was a 'sense of the Senate', it said the US should sign the Kyoto Protocol passed and it was passed 95-0 in July 1997.

It called for differentiation in international emissions control putting 'reductions' in parallel with 'limitations'. Knowing that GCI had been advocating precisely this global construct as the Contraction and Convergence formula [C&C], the US State Department asked us in June 1997 to try and ascertain whether India China and others would entertain a climate-treaty constructed this way.

We spent the rest of that year exploring that and fronted by China, India and the Africa Group, C&C was tabled at COP-3. In the negotiations the US response was to say, "It does seem to us that the proposals by for example India and perhaps by others who speak to Contraction and Convegence are elements for the future, elements perhaps for a next agreement that we may ultimately all seek to engage in." Al Gore had gone home. The UK was there but just sat on its hands.

Broadly scientists were behind the 50% emissions cut globally by 2050 with the 80% cut by the UK and the Developed Countries by that date, which are now enshrined in the UK Climate Act. The basis of this, according to Adair Turner [Chair of the Climate Change Committee], is C&C saying equal per capita globally is the only basis that is doable and fair.

Politically this is a cause for hope because it is rational. However, C&C is the right principle but in these figures, at rates that are too slow to avoid two degrees.

Perhaps at COP-15, this time the UK will stand stand up for the right principle and we'll get a chance of the right rates as a result and scientists can help them to do that 'apolitically' as C&C is simply a rational proposition. The ideological reactions to that are political but should focus only on the rate of caonvergence.

Failing to do that is cause for despair for all of us.

November 30, 2009 at 8:01 a.m. ( | suggest removal )