Episode 16: Show Notes

On this week’s show: What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun, Policy proposals from a crazy podcaster, The Scientific guide to global warming skepticism, FoxNewsgate, and Wikileaks

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What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun

Cancún climate agreements at a glance

Cutting carbon emissions

Scores of rich countries made pledges over the past year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 under the Copenhagen accord but they were not incorporated in the official UN process. Cancún now formally puts those pledges into UN documentation, although they may increase or decrease in future. For the first time, developing countries also agreed to look at how they can cut emissions in the future – but did not make specific pledges.

Crucially however, none of the cuts are legally binding, and analysis suggests the pledges would lead to a 3.2C rise in temperatures – far higher than the 2C generally considered to be a level of “safe” warming.

Climate aid

A new climate green fund was agreed at Cancún to transfer money from the developed to developing world to tackle the impacts of climate change. Poorer countries saw this as a success because they will outnumber rich countries on a ‘transitional committee’ for the fund, which is due to be set up in 2011. But no figure was put on how much money will go into it.

Separately, ministers repeated their political promise made last year at Copenhagen to raise $100bn (£63bn) in climate aid by 2020, starting with $30bn (£19bn) by 2012 for “fast track” financing. This headline-grabbing promise, however, is not part of the UN process and is merely an aspiration of rich countries.

Forests

Formal backing was given for the UN’s deforestation scheme, Redd (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation), under which rich countries pay poorer nations not to chop down forests and so lock away carbon emissions. But details on when and exactly what form the scheme will take – particularly whether developed countries will be able to use it to “offset” their emissions rather than make cuts at home – are still vague.

Kyoto protocol

Decisions on the future of the Kyoto protocol, the current international treaty binding rich countries to cut emissions, were effectively deferred until South Africa next year. Whether countries will sign up for a second “commitment period” to cuts beyond 2012 remains to be seen.

In addition, decisions on the role that the protocol will play in an ultimate future legal document that binds the world’s countries to emissions cuts – the “holy grail” of the UN negotiations – were delayed.

Technology transfer

The idea of transferring knowledge of clean technology between countries was backed at Cancún. A technology executive committee and a climate technology centre and network are to be set up, but there are no details on the money, where they will be based, when or by whom.

Inspections

Countries agreed to the principle of having their emissions cuts inspected. Such “monitoring, reporting and verification” will depend on the size of the country’s economy, though who will carry out the inspections – the country itself, the UN or another body – was not specified.

Last-minute deal saves climate talks

Climate change treaty: the longer it takes the harder it gets

Cancun: How could I not be wearily cynical about this abject failure?

Policy proposals from a crazy podcaster

Carbon Prices, Not Quotas

A Carbon Tax in 2011 for Fiscal Conservatives?

The Scientific Guide to Global warming Skepticism

Scientific skepticism is healthy. In fact, science by its very nature is skeptical. Genuine skepticism means considering the full body of evidence before coming to a conclusion. However, when you take a close look at arguments expressing climate ‘skepticism’, what you often observe is cherry picking of pieces of evidence while rejecting any data that don’t fit the desired picture. This isn’t skepticism. It is ignoring facts and the science.

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism [cached copy] looks at both the evidence that human activity is causing global warming and the ways that climate ‘skeptic’ arguments can mislead by presenting only small pieces of the puzzle rather than the full picture.

FoxNewsgate

Memo: Fox News Reporters Ordered To Promote Climategate Conspiracy Theory

From: Sammon, Bill

To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington

Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean

Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009

Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data…

…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

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