kyoto protocol

U.S. 2020 climate treaty proposal isn’t a delay—it’s a death sentence

Ed note: Originally published by our friends at

by Jamie Henn of
The U.N. climate talks desperately need a crisis. For the last 10 days, negotiations here in Durban, South Africa, have made little progress on the fundamental challenge these talks were set up to confront: how the world can come together to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Instead, the pace of negotiations has been set by the one country the rest of the world should be turning their back on: the United States.
The U.S. never signed the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding international agreement designed to reduce emissions, but it is allowed to take part in the negotiations in a separate track dedicated to securing a long-term climate agreement. After President Obama's election, the international community had high hopes the new administration would bring a new sense of ambition and commitment to talks.
Instead, the only thing the U.S. brought to the table was a wrecking ball. Rather than standing out of the way and letting the rest of the world get on with setting up an international architecture to facilitate cutting emissions, stopping deforestation, and investing in renewable energy, the U.S. has spent the years since Copenhagen attempting to systemically dismantle the U.N. process.
Highest on the U.S. hit list is the Kyoto Protocol, an imperfect treaty (thanks in large part to U.S. recalcitrance), but currently the best instrument in the global climate toolbox. Next on the list is the very idea of legally binding commitments – the U.S. would prefer a “pledge and review” world where countries make their own voluntary commitments and then report out on what they've decided.
Here in Durban, however, the U.S. has taken on an even more insidious role by pushing a proposal that the international community adopt a “mandate” to negotiate a new climate treaty that will take effect in – wait for it – 2020.

Government Watchdog Report Confirms Canada's Failures on Tar Sands Monitoring and Climate Action

Canada's top environmental watchdog official released a damning report today acknowledging the federal government's complete failure to account for the cumulative impacts of Alberta tar sands development. The report from Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan also confirmed that information about Canada's greenhouse gas emissions is so poorly collected that the country really has no idea whether it is on track to meet its pollution reduction targets - targets which Canada has repeatedly scaled back despite its legally-binding international commitment to action dating back 20 years. 
According to the report, “The government has not put in place management systems and tools needed to achieve, measure and report on greenhouse gas emission reductions.” 
Vaughan describes the government's current climate action plan as “disjointed, confused, non-transparent.”
“I think it's next to impossible that Canada is going to be able to reach its Kyoto target, that's a given. The gap is so wide now, but I think what we've said as well is the basic problems that we've seen now, and the overall federal-wide co-ordinaton of these climate change programs really needs to get its act together. And if they don't, then we have some doubts on whether or not they are going to be able to meet any target, Vaughan said at a news conference today.
The report also slammed Canada's oversight of the filthy Alberta tar sands industry. By failing to collect baseline data prior to the industrialization of the area - and then adding insult to injury by failing to conduct regular monitoring of impacts from tar sands development - Canada has dropped the ball on its responsibilities to protect the health of local communities and the environment in northern Alberta and beyond. 

UN Chief Urges Industrialized Nations to Release Promised Funds To Poor Nations For Climate Change Aid

Outgoing United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer sent an urgent message to wealthy industrialized nations on Tuesday reminding them about previous promises to help the world’s poorer nations to adapt to a changing world due to global warming.  Without a firm show of funds, he said the pursuit of a global climate agreement would remain a question mark for many as the December COP-16 talks in Cancun grow closer.

de Boer urged the industrialized nations to quickly present the $30 billion in aid they have pledged to deliver over the 2010-2012 period to help poor nations fight climate change impacts such as increasingly severe droughts and floods.

“Times are harsh, especially in Europe, but $10 billion a year for three years from all industrialized countries is not an impossible call,” he said.

Canada: Criminal NegliGENTS are us.

Canada’s ongoing campaign to undermine international climate change negotiations seems to be right on track. In its most recent success, the country was able to drive the accumulated representatives of most of the developing world out of the room in Bangkok, so offensive is the Canadian negotiating position.

As CTV reports here, Canada is bent on ripping up the Kyoto Protocol, perhaps incorporating elements of the beleaguered agreement into some watered down planet-wasting alternative that will allow Canada to continue to commit itself to a dying (and deadly) resource.

Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice makes periodic noises to suggest that he knows what climate change is and that he has some flickering conscience. Then he leads the international assault on the single agreement that has some hope of counteracting the threat. It’s time that Canadian travellers started buying U.S. flags to sew on their backpacks. It’s too embarrassing to be recognized outside the country as Canadian.

Congressmen to UN: Don't blame us -- We just live here!

The US might have earned global ire for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but not every American is a climate villain, U.S. lawmakers say. Rep. Edward J. Markey and 10 House committee chairmen, in a letter to the U.N., highlighted what they said was the willingness of the U.S. Congress and voters to act against a policy of delay adopted by the administration of George W. Bush.

…[T]he world must know that President Bush's avoidance of action is not the status quo here in America,” said Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.”

Business mouthpiece casts wide net in latest bid to derail climate-change efforts

True to form, the Wall Street Journal has slammed former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and tried to discredit the science arguing the case for global warming. In so doing, the pro-business bastion appears to be as far out of step with the forces driving the U.S. economy as the Bush Administration is with the majority of the U.S. electorate.

The crux of the Journal’s argument is contained in a question: “What if everyone believes in global warmism only because everyone believes in global warmism?” Here’s a better question: What if they’re right?

Australia Set to Become a Global Warming Leader With Howard's Expected Election Defeat

Three days ahead of an Australian general election, front-running Labor leader, Kevin Rudd has committed to immediately signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, describing it as the “number one” priority.

Australian's have been experiencing first hand the effects of a warmer planet with massive drought. Instead of taking a leadership role on the issue, soon-to-be former Prime Minister John Howard ducked the  Kyoto Protocol and only acknowledged the threat of climate change when it appeared to be the politically expedient thing to do.  

Looks like the Australian citizenry easily saw through Howard's ruse, the latest polls show Rudd is set to win with 54 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Howard's 46 per cent.

Canada on Climate Change: A Humiliation a Day

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper used an emergency UN meeting that was dedicated to salvaging the Kyoto Protocol Monday as an opportunity to humiliate Canada yet further on the international stage.

Ignoring Kyoto altogether, Harper chose rather to announce that Canada will join the Anti-Kyoto Partnership, officially known as the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP). A cabal of the worst greenhouse gas polluters in the world, the APP was conceived as an alternative to Kyoto. Led by backsliders like the U.S. and Australia, the APP has advocated abandoning the fixed-target regime of Kyoto in favor of what Harper calls a “flexible and balanced” approach that is strictly voluntary. Where Kyoto gave rise to a tiny and tenuous European carbon credit market, the APP would destroy that baby step and restart the clock from zero.

Canadian Senate passes Kyoto bill forcing PM Harper's hand

In exchange for passing the Canadian Conservative government's budget, the Senate passed a bill that will effectively force Canada to meet it's emission targets under the Kyoto Accord.

Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal member of parliament who introduced the bill last March, stated earlier this year that: “It means that the government has no choice but to act and meet our Kyoto obligations.”

Surprise ally delivers a kick against global warming

A Colorado sports organization is pitching itself as the world’s first carbon-neutral soccer team . Based in Boulder, where the city council voted last year to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol – something the U.S. government has never done – the Colorado Rapids under-23 organization has vowed all carbon emissions produced by the team are offset by carbon reduction.



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