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Phony optimism at Cancun

I cannot see where the claimed ‘breakthroughs’ at Cancun are. Others think the same. (Updatehere also). If readers out there in the blogosphere can detail them to me I’d sincerely appreciate it.  Maybe I am missing the subtleties or just being a bit obtuse.  I had a brief say at Club Troppo (in response to a somewhat discursive and inaccurate post by Ken Parish) and at East Asia Forum (in response to a piece by Peter Wood) on these matters.

Recognising that deep cuts are required – one of the claimed breakthroughs – is at best a shallow breakthrough. The issue is when will these cuts begin and by how much.

Recognising that eventually developing countries must make absolute cuts is not a breakthrough. It is an arithmetic fact of life. The ‘no regrets’ energy intensity reductions in China will bring energy efficiencies in that country to developed country levels by 2020. By 2030 however with bau China’s emissions will double.

The transparency breakthrough is not a breakthrough but a weak bargaining chip used by China and India. Both countries are developing enhanced capabilities to measure emissions and, of course, even a loose international agreement on emissions control requires confirmation of all cuts. It is a shallow gain.

What value any US commitment without a US ETS or carbon tax?

Climate adaptation transfers of $100b were offered at Copenhagen but, as with Cancun, I cannot see reference to who will pay. What kind of agreement is this?

I don’t understand the diplomatic jargon used on these occasions and hope I am wrong. But did the Cancun meetings achieve much beyond not ending with stark disagreements? Its almost as if the learn’d diplomats and politicians have spun us some nonsense to conceal their lack of positive achievements.

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