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UNFCCC, BONN - FINAL REPORT
April 10, 2009 By Pat Carlson
The latest UN Climate Change talks ended Wednesday night in Bonn, Germany in a deadlock. Developed countries like the US and the EU were unwilling to give specifics regarding money they would give developing countries like China and India for supposed affects of climate change and for technology transfer. The developing countries were unwilling to make any greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction commitments until the money is on the table.

So where do the negotiations go from here? They all come back to Bonn the first week of June with written commitments. The UNFCCC Secretariat, Yvo de Boer, put a deadline of later this month for developed nations to submit an outline of a plan. All plans and negotiations are intended to produce a document next December in Copenhagen, Denmark to either replace the Kyoto Protocol or to coincide as a totally separate protocol.

Even though the Obama administration's delegates or as they call themselves, the special envoy for climate change, came to the conference ready to accept the guilt of being the "largest historic emitter of GHGs" and to commit to a reduction in GHGs of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, this was not sufficient for developing countries and environmental groups. These groups say the US should make commitments of no less than a 25-40% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and 95% by 2050 in order to be restored "as a moral leader" and to start repaying our "carbon debt."

This conference constantly repeated the impending disaster, recently hyped by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at a conference in Copenhagen, that "...given high rates of observed emissions the worse-case IPCC scenario projections (or even worse) are being realized." Also, since the last IPCC report "robust findings" revealed "concentrations of ....carbon dioxide(CO2).....are now far higher than their natural range over many thousands of years before industrialization (1750)." Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have been rising but temperatures have remained flat since 2001. Aren't rising temperatures supposed to follow higher levels of CO2? As a constant reminder of the peril, a large sign was hung in the conference center stating "survival is not negotiable."

The worst example of this scare tactic was expressed through a German high school class that had collected 130 euros for developing countries and "the planet." The students held a press conference where each one was introduced by Mr. Scott Stuart from the Ecology Center, USA (an Al Gore organization). Mr. Scott had spoken to their high school the Friday before about climate change. As he spoke he teared up when saying thoughtless actions would "terminate our earth" and "render this planet another Venus" so "life can no longer survive." One of the students was asked when he first became concerned about climate change and he said, "When I saw Mr. Scott's tears." The emotional tearing conveniently came during both the speech and the press conference. All the students said they really hadn't paid much attention to climate change until his speech.


Media Workshops

I was attending the conference accredited as "media." The first week of the eleven day conference, there was almost no press, but Monday of this week press from all over the world showed up. I saw on the Monday schedule a workshop for media so I decided to attend to pick up any extra information they were handing out. But when I arrived, I was very politely told the workshop was only for invited press of developing countries and please leave. They offered the same workshop two times both Monday and Tuesday, so I went a second time thinking surely the other workshop was a one time event. I was told the same thing again. Red flags go up in my mind, so I made a point to get the handouts given to these young journalists.

The materials contained all the dire predictions of the IPCC and Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of physics of the ocean at Potsdam University in Germany and one of the lead-authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, was brought in to speak. Need I say more.

The paragraph that caught my attention in the handouts was on equity. It stated:

"No project can be considered sustainable if it benefits unfairly any one group (economic, social, ethnic, racial, gender, etc.) at the expense of another. Cementing economic wealth in one section of the population - whether nationally or internationally - while condemning another section to remain in poverty is neither equitable nor sustainable, putting huge stresses on security and stability and exacerbating tensions leading to conflicts."

These workshops were intended to do two things, reinforce the crisis and the right to be compensated as a victim. Developing countries are already claiming these rights and using them to elicit guilt in their negotiations. India has stated "financing for climate change must...not be seen as another form of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) but rather as payments for entitlements of developing countries under an equitable regime." The head of the Chinese delegation said that during the past two centuries developed countries have made unbridled emissions of GHGs, a major cause of global climate change, and developing countries are major victims of climate change.


Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) or Patents

IPRs are seen by developing countries as a barrier to the transfer of technology and as a result, they would like IPRs to be ignored and put in the public domain. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) commissioned a study by CERNA titled "Invention and Transfer of Climate Change Mitigation Technologies on a Global Scale: A Study Drawing on Patent Data." The study revealed strict patent laws help drive the transfer of technology instead of producing barriers.


Attendees in Bonn

The UNFCCC reported there were 2600 delegates and non-governmental organizations (NGO's) in attendance, but an actual count of the published attendance was 2027. This does not include press.

The delegation count was 1381 (69%), UN Secretariat & related bodies was 43 (2%), specialized agencies and related organizations was 35 (1.7%), and NGOs was 646 (32%). Not one elected official was listed from the US. NGOs are almost all radical environmental groups. They are allowed into most closed meetings and have direct access to delegates. Is it any wonder they have such influence?


Final US Press Conference

When the deputy special envoy on climate change, Jonathan Pershing, was asked what kind of commitments the US would submit in June. He said that would be for the US Congress to decide. He added, he was "heartened" by the Waxman-Markey climate change bill just introduced last week and the cap and trade portion of the President's stimulus bill. He said the administration did have some "influence over congress — we can push and we can prod" to get these things passed.

This is what we conservatives must do, "push and prod" the US Congress not to support climate change legislation. There are more of us. If we can stop cap and trade domestically, it will send a message to Copenhagen. Obama is depending on a US cap and trade program to meet GHG reduction commitments. If cap and trade fails, there probably will not be the 67 votes in the senate to ratify a new climate change treaty. "Yes we can!" We must!


 
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