Yesterday, the Atlantic Wire laid out the stakes for the United Nations climate summit. Now that it's finished, what's the verdict? Here are six roundups worth reading:
- U.S. and China May Actually Cooperate "For years," wrote the New York Times editorial board, "China and the United States have engaged in a dangerous
Alphonse-and-Gaston routine, using each other’s inaction to shirk their
responsibility." On Tuesday, "both leaders agreed that it is past time for this dance to end." China has ditched the "backward country" excuse and the U.S. is starting to shoulder responsibility.
- Serious Gesture from China As a matter of fact, noted Carl Mortished for the London Times, Chinese president Hu Jintao "set out targets to reduce China’s energy intensity by pledging to 'cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020.'" That's not a "pledge to cut emissions." But it could still make a big difference. Here's what it is:
Simply put: it is about how much fuel you need to burn to make another dollar. In this respect, China is a squanderer. For every extra unit of GDP, China expends almost six times as much energy as Europe. What President Hu offers is not a cut but a slowdown: the rate at which Chinese emissions increases will diminish. If India can be persuaded to make a similar commitment, the world might in aggregate reduce CO2 emissions if rich countries at the same time make savage cuts.
- Europeans: China Good, U.S. Bad The Globe and Mail's Norman Spector noticed an interesting rhetorical switch: "In what should be seen as a concerted effort to up the pressure on President Barack Obama, the Europeans are now pointing to China as the good guy, and are heavily promoting the new measures it is about to announce."
- Obama's Speech Grist's Jonathan Hiskes pointed out that this was, in fact, Obama's first "real" climate speech. It wasn't quite business-as-usual: "[C]onventional wisdom is that jobs and prosperity talking points are much safer than the buzz-kills about suffering. Tuesday’s speech was a tentative departure from that script."
- The World Bank is Killing Us Johann Hari at The Huffington Post didn't see much cause for optimism. Hari added an unusual indictment of the World Bank to his rallying cry. The institution, he seemed to suggest, is an agent of world destruction because it promotes development:
The World Bank - which receives £400m of your taxes every year - is promoting this soot-streaked vision across the planet. They have just spent $5bn helping poor countries to build power plants that will destroy them.
- It's All a Conspiracy In a fresh take on conservative global warming refutation Patrick Michaels alleged in the National Review that "the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared."
Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.