Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I ain't signin' nuttin....


Bravo, but definitely, definitely an ouch...

We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.

-Kevin Conrad, a Papua New Guinea delegate addressing the Unites States
delegation at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali.

Well it ain't Kyoto, but it's a start. The United States has grudgingly accepted a compromise to agree to negotiate over the next two years (when worded like that, it doesn't sound like much of a start, now does it?).

In U-turn, U.S. agrees to global warming deal

BALI, Indonesia (CNN) -- In a dramatic reversal Saturday, the United States rejected and then accepted a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

The White House, however, said in a statement that it still has "serious concerns" about the agreement.

"The negotiations must proceed on the view that the problem of climate change cannot be adequately addressed through commitments for emissions cuts by developed countries alone. Major developing economies must likewise act," the White House said.

Under the global warming pact, negotiating rounds would end in 2009.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, announced the United States was rejecting the plan. Her comments were met by booing from other delegations.

The White House said the negotiations must "clearly differentiate" and link responsibility with the level of emissions, size of the economy and energy use among developing countries.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

When will the US jump to the front of the parade? Well, just so you have an idea how ridiculously extreme our non-participatory attitude can be, here's an interesting infographic that shows Kyoto ratification. Sing it with me, "One of these things is not like the other."

Green means Signed and Ratified
Gold means Signed, Ratification Pending
Red means Signed, Ratification Denied
Silver means No Position

Some fun facts:

The United States was, as of 2005, the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95–0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98), which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States."

Although Bush won't sign it because he's unsure of the reality of climate change, Clinton is just as guilty for never submitting the protocol to the Senate for ratification. At least our idiocy is non-partisan.

The United States has, however, signed the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate; a similar (but non-enforceable) pact. The pact vows to reduce the US carbon intensity by 18% before 2012. Ironically, 18% is actually an increase in carbon intensity.

As of this year, the following states actively participate in state-level cap and trade emissions programs similar to the Kyoto Protocol: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Pennsylvania, Washington DC and Rhode Island actively observe the protocol, and California has signed their own Global Warming Solutions Act. That means 26% of the US is already observing the treaty (just 2% points shy of Bush's October approval rating).

Even individual cities are participating: Albany, New York; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Alexandria, Virginia; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Arlington, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Berkeley, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; Fairfield, Connecticut; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Hartford, Connecticut; Honolulu, Hawaii; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jersey City, New Jersey; Lansing, Michigan; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lawrence, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Lincoln, Nebraska; Little Rock, Arkansas; Los Angeles, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Oakland, California; Omaha, Nebraska; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Richmond, Virginia; Sacramento, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington; Sioux City, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; Tacoma, Washington; Tallahassee, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Topeka, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Vancouver, Washington; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; West Palm Beach, Florida; Wilmington, North Carolina.

Here's another infographic to get you going...

Note the asterisk. That's WITH 673 smaller cities unlisted.

So why haven't we ratified?