25 October, 2009 — Socialist Project | The Bullet
On a day that 350.org and thousands of allies are valiantly trying to raise global consciousness about impending catastrophe, we can ask some tough questions about what to do after people depart and the props are packed up. No matter today’s activism, global climate governance is grid-locked and it seems clear that no meaningful deal can be sealed in Copenhagen on December 18.
The recent Bangkok negotiations of Kyoto Protocol Conference of Parties functionaries confirmed that Northern states and their corporations won’t make an honest effort to get to 350 CO2 parts per million. On the right, Barack Obama’s negotiators seem to feel that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is excessively binding to the North, and leaves out several major polluters of the South, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Kyoto’s promised 5% emissions cuts (by 2012, from 1990 levels) are impossible now. Obama’s people hope the world will accept 2005 as a new starting date; a 20% reduction by 2020 then only brings the target back to around 5% below 1990 levels. Such pathetically low ambitions, surely Obama knows, guarantee a runaway climate catastrophe – he should shoot for 45%, say the small island nations.
The other reason Kyoto is ridiculed by serious environmentalists is its provision for carbon trading rackets which allow fake claims of net emissions cuts. Since the advent of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, the Chicago exchange, Clean Development Mechanism projects and offsets, vast evidence has accumulated of systemic market failure, scamming and inability to regulate carbon trading (see a website launched today www.350reasons.org).