U.S.- China intransigence imperils climate-change breakthrough in Bali

If members of the 187 nations in Bali, Indonesia, are going to reach explicit agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s largest greenhouse-gas spewers are going to have to come on board.

The U.S. and China are responsible for some 40 per cent of global emissions and their commitment is essential to rein in global warming.

Neither has shown willingness to make concessions, however, thus reducing the current round of talks to a political tap-dance.

With China and the U.S. at loggerheads, Bali delegates have discounted the possibility of real progress and are using the talks to set the stage for a new treaty by the end of 2009.

Currently, The Kyoto Protocol binds 36 nations to cut gases by a combined 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to ratify Kyoto, which doesn't set goals for China.

Each country says they want the other to take on binding commitments to limit emissions in a new accord. China's officials say the country needs to expand its economy, while the Bush administration says it is concerned that emissions caps will harm economic competitiveness.

China also argues that developed countries should lead by example in cutting emissions and energy use, transfer technology and financial assistance to developing countries, and not expect China to do as much to control warming as the U.S. or Europe because it needs to consume energy to generate growth and reduce poverty.

Ultimately, China – and India, for that matter – must be part of the equation. Both were exempted from making commitments to reduce emissions at Kyoto on grounds that industrialized countries bore the heaviest historical responsibility.

Given the runaway growth in both countries, however, that argument is no longer sustainable. But it would be much easier to persuade China, India and others to adopt aggressive policies if the U.S. and Canada were already on board.


This is a comment about one of the 61 deniers, William Killimonth. You try to discredit him by saying that he is funded by a the CEO of one of Australia’s largest URANIUM producers. But since the uranium industry is one of the one’s most likely to benefit greatly from climate change, this would surely be IN FAVOUR of Mr. Killimonth, not against him. In other words, he is arguing AGAINST the best interests of the people who are funding him, which speaks highly of all concerned, does it not?

Maybe, maybe not, nuclear power has about the same greenhouse gas emissions as natural gas, if you include the entire fuel cycle. I tend to think all the information listed by their funding sources isnt a discredit, but to the point of who actually funds these folks. If a lot of the funding sources seem to be somewhat suspecious then it is what it is. In the case of Kininmonth whats more striking is this

“”According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Kininmonth has not published any research in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject of climate change.””

Expert indeed. As for the mining company it advertises itself as

“”WMC (Western Mining Corporation) Ltd. was one of Australia’s largest mining and metal corporations, and one of the world’s largest producers of gold, copper, nickel, alumina, talc and uranium””

Alumina likely being the largest source of carbon emissions from those listed metal with most of that coming from the refining process. Note though all mining and related smelting operations will contribute greenhouse gase emissions.

That all said, perhaps the WMC has an agenda it wishes to fund most major corporations seem to have some agenda which is why they fund “think tanks”. A good question would be why would they be funding a person to comment on climate at all?….clearly the answer is that its somehow in their corporate interests to due so. Plus Kininmonth needs to make a living, and to be honest a lot of the argument seems to be economic and not environmental anyways, some people just like to deny things for money to….just like good old Fred Singer, who’s been denying just about everything for money for the last 30 something years.

Carl Szczerski says:

“… nuclear power has about the same greenhouse gas emissions as natural gas, if you include the entire fuel cycle.”

Do you have any references for that claim Carl?

Well yes and no its not a published source from what I can tell. I’ll show you the source never the less.

Copyright assigned to the Canadian Nuclear Society


These are taken from the report

Many estimates of CO2 releases just from the operation of various types of power plants (nuclear) have been undertaken. A typical study (Science Concepts, Inc.) shows CO2 releases varying from 40 to 1070 kt/TWh based on 1000 Mwe plants assumed operating at 63% capacity factor. The study also included natural gas, oil, and wood power plants. They produced CO2 emissions of 600, 870 and 870 kt/TWh, respectively.

My assumption is that the huge varying nature of the nuclear emissions is due to 1) reactor type 2) enrichment process 3) misc factors like mining and refinement such that the total process could result in either greater or less emissions relative to natural gas.

Reactors which require enrichment would fall along the higher end and not the lower of the emissions range. As a side note near the bottom of the article they go through an extensive calculation for CANDU reactors, as these require no enrichment they came out a very low ~15 kt/TWh.

“11/3/2007) Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating “parking space” at other airports in Indonesia.”


I thought the day would never come, but I agree with you Rob - the international community needs to use a lot more video conferencing technology. I used to attend a lot of international summits and a lot of the time a head of state will come into the conference, read out a written statement and then fly out. Some occasions they will stay for important face-to-face bi-laterals with other leaders, but usually not.

A talking head can just as easily stay home and deliver their message via satellite video feed.  

So how did your PR client, David Suzuki (and staff!), make their oh-so-vital trip to Bali? A dugout canoe?

Better them all fit into one bus than take a plane through all the cities and towns they visited. I agree that a teleconference would have been more efficient energy-wise. However, a personal appearance does so much more as one is able to pose questions directly to a speaker in a live setting and get more accomplished.

It’s called progress. Dr. Suzuki will accomplish progress. Something he’s been doing for the past 30+ years.

I’d rather see him fly to Bali than Minister Baird, as one is about finding solutions and moving the global community forward in united action, and the other is about sabotage, bullying, delaying and inaction.

Let me know if you need me to point out who is who in the above description.

“and the other is about sabotage, bullying, delaying and inaction.”

Okay, I’ll admit he is an insipid, self-serving, fulminating, hypocritical demagogue – but don’t you think your description of Suzuki is a little harsh?

This blogger has some good posts about Bali, and the illustrations are hilarious. http://inthehouseandsenate.blogspot.com/