NZ gives in to common climate sense

A fresh breath of air just blew through the climate. New Zealand (with its buddies Australia) refuse to do more for the climate if nobody else does.

Our climate negotiator, Tim Groser, said what we’ve been telling the Nats for years: “You will not carry public opinion if the debate is ‘you are the only idiots doing anything.’”

The Nats have finally given up the world-leading role they took on climate. Hurrah, hurrah, and break out the balloons!

Bloomberg News reports from Durban (7 Dec, 2011):

Australia, New Zealand Say No Kyoto Extension Without Larger Climate Deal

Australia and New Zealand, which sponsor the most developed carbon markets outside Europe, say they won’t agree to remain part of the Kyoto treaty unless other countries bolster efforts to curb emissions.

Australia will only sign up for further cuts under Kyoto through 2020 if all big emitting countries agree to legally binding actions, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said in an interview in Durban, South Africa. New Zealand says it won’t join unless it has stronger assurance that voluntary pledges will be met by large polluters such as China.

Combet added:

“It’s a relatively small proportion of global greenhouse gases,” Combet said. Any agreement reached for further emissions reductions must be “environmentally effective.”

That’s great, boys. Now, just read a little more of the science until you uncover all the uncertainties and the facts about warming and the performance of climate models, which is not flash, I have to say.

This will bring much breast-beating, wailing and gnashing of teeth from the frustrated world-savers, so get your earplugs ready. Over at Hot Topic, their Durban correspondent, Cindy, reports:

“I’m hearing that our Minister, Tim Groser, has played some very dirty tricks with the Kyoto Protocol text overnight. Will update as I get more information, but it’s not looking good.”

She gives no indication of what the “dirty tricks” might have been and certainly shows no evidence of them. It’s hard to imagine what tricks he might get away with in front of hundreds of delegates. It’s probably just a reaction to her disappointment at not saving the world.

With China, India and Brazil reluctant to give commitments to extending Kyoto, it’s now obvious that, as Combet says: “There’s not going to be a wider agreement reached in Durban.”

For which we can be thankful. Now our leaders might deal with some real problems instead of all this entirely imaginary climatic will o’ the wisp.

Now, perhaps, the funds required for proper humanitarian aid won’t be squandered by government sponsorship of ill-founded industry startups like carbon sequestration and storage schemes, tidal power devices (how much equipment survives for long in the sea?), wind generators (break failure: burn, baby, burn) and solar panels (dusters, anyone?).

I had to laugh at Gareth Renowden. At the end of Cindy’s lament about the failure of social goodness he comments:

What we do know is that every minute we wait, every minute these ministers argue, a relentless stream of CO2 is pouring into the atmosphere. It doesn’t care who has the lowest carbon footprint, who has a president to re-elect next year… it just keeps on loading. The Ulu from Tokelau has a 64 hour journey home ahead of him. Let’s hope his efforts haven’t been wasted.

Yes, the CO2 keeps going into the atmosphere, and out of it, and into it, and out of it… It’s called a cycle for a reason, Gareth. Please stop pretending that the atmospheric temperature is being forced up by this “powerful” greenhouse gas against strong natural influences, because it hasn’t happened for many years, nor is the ocean hiding any heat.

Let us hope that the Ulu’s considerable emissions have not been wasted, either.

Now, perhaps, if countries gather the courage to cut off the head of this hideous hydra, those unnecessary travel emissions might all come to an end and we can stop paying for their damned junkets.

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23 Thoughts on “NZ gives in to common climate sense

  1. val majkus on 11/12/2011 at 2:57 pm said:

    no idea how accurate this is

    DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement early Sunday on a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades.

    The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

    The deal also set up the bodies that will collect, govern and distribute tens of billions of dollars a year to poor countries to help them adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth.

    Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for another five years under the accord adopted Sunday.
    read on at the link


  2. val majkus on 11/12/2011 at 5:56 pm said:

    I’ve put the latest comments I have on Warwick Hughes’ blog

    the latest is still going through moderation

    But the outcome is probably predictable – if you have a heap of buearacrats they have to justify their existence

    and this is the way if you’re sent overseas on a climate change conference

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2011 at 7:31 pm said:

      This from SMH about the same time (4:36PM Sydney time) has some “Buts”

      But it is expected only the 27-nation European Union, Norway and Switzerland — responsible for about 17 per cent of global emissions — will make binding commitments under a second period of the protocol starting in 2013.

      Other countries including the US, Japan, Canada and Russia have said they will not be part of the Kyoto Protocol, and want it replaced by a single treaty covering all countries.

      Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Australia would not sign up to a second binding target under Kyoto until all major countries had agreed to binding targets to limit their emissions.

      Mr Combet told The Age the agreement to work on a single pact was a “massively historic step that has not been achieved before”.

      It suggests Australia could take a binding Kyoto target after 2015 if work on a global treaty was successful.

      Key components of the 2015 accord are yet to be hammered out, and observers say the task will be arduous.

      Thorny issues include the still-undefined legal status of the accord and apportioning cuts on emissions among rich and poor countries

      Read more:

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2011 at 8:08 pm said:

    UNFCCC site – Durban Climate Change Conference – November/December 2011


    There are currently no decisions for this meeting, they will be uploaded shortly. In some cases, no decisions are available.

    Can’t wait.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/12/2011 at 10:14 am said:

      The UNFCCC is up to some jiggery-pokery.

      Where the previous message was “There are currently no decisions for this meeting, they will be uploaded shortly. In some cases, no decisions are available” there is a new message “The COP 17/CMP 7 decisions can be found on the home page [hotlinked] of the website”. That link leads to this:-

      Decisions adopted by COP 17 and CMP 7

      I think these “decisions” are scurrilous in that I cannot see how they were all agreed on in the process. For example ‘Launching of the Green Climate Fund’ was a decision of Cancun – not Durban.

      Almost-genuine decisions seem to be ‘Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’ and ‘Dates and venues of future sessions’ but I do not see a decision on the Kyoto Protocol.

      These “decisions” do not tally with the press statements. They just look like what the UNFCCC want the decisions to be – not what the Parties actually decided or agreed to.

      The second “decision” on the list is ‘Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’ which is only part of what I think is closest to the ‘Durban Platform’ that I posted elsewhere but when you look at the document it reads:-

      Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

      Proposal by the President
      Draft decision -/CP.17

      That is NOT a decision of the Parties.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 6:39 am said:

    Found what seems to be the “Durban Platform” COP17 decision:-

    Advance unedited version

    Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

    Draft decision -/CP.17

    The Conference of the Parties,

    Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires to be urgently addressed by all Parties, and acknowledging that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions,

    Noting with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels,

    Recognizing that fulfilling the ultimate objective of the Convention will require strengthening the multilateral, rules-based regime under the Convention,

    Noting decision X/CMP.7 [Title],

    Also noting decision X/CP.17 [Title],

    1. Decides to extend the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention for one year in order for it to continue its work and reach the agreed outcome pursuant to decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan) through decisions adopted by the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth sessions of the Conference of the Parties, at which time the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention shall be terminated;

    2. Also decides to launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change applicable to all Parties, through a subsidiary body under the Convention hereby established and to be known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action;

    3. Further decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action; shall start its work as a matter of urgency in the first half of 2012 and shall report to future sessions of the Conference of the Parties on the progress of its work;

    4. Decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall complete its work as early as possible but no later than 2015 in order to adopt this protocol, legal instrument or legal outcome at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020;

    5. Also decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action shall plan its work in the first half of 2012, including, inter alia, on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building, drawing upon submissions from Parties and relevant technical, social and economic information and expertise;

    6. Further decides that the process shall raise the level of ambition and shall be informed, inter alia, by the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the outcomes of the 2013–2015 review and the work of the subsidiary bodies;

    7. Decides to launch a workplan on enhancing mitigation ambition to identify and to explore options for a range of actions that can close the ambition gap with a view to ensuring the highest possible mitigation efforts by all Parties;

    8. Requests Parties and observer organizations to submit by 28 February 2012 their views on options and ways for further increasing the level of ambition and decides to hold an in-session workshop at the first negotiating session in 2012 to consider options and ways for increasing ambition and possible further actions.

    That’s it for now, I guess the final decision will go up on the UNFCCC site (see comment above).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 9:17 am said:

      Warmists have their uses – Stephan Lewandowsky’s assessment

      Based on preliminary reports, my understanding is that the Kyoto agreement will continue in place, though minus Japan, Russia, New Zealand, and Canada, and that the parties are committed to negotiating a new treaty by 2015. This new treaty is to be put in place by 2020 and it will, for the first time, also include developing countries in legally binding commitments. (There is, however, some ambiguity in the wording of how “legally binding” all this is.) In addition, it appears that future decisions will no longer be based on the scientific advice of the IPCC but instead the process is only to be informed by the science [see #6 in the ‘Durban Platform’]. It remains to be seen whether being “informed” by the science is a meaningful concept.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 9:39 am said:

      I note (Ha!) that the preliminary “Recognizing”, “Noting with grave concern”, “Recognizing”, “Noting” and “Also noting” is mere prattle – the actual decisions are #1 – #8 only.

    • Jim McK on 12/12/2011 at 12:17 pm said:

      The “Recognising” etc sounds strangely like a catechism.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 2:34 pm said:

      So there’s 2 working groups in the ‘Durban Platform’, the 1st already in existence and the 2nd new (hey! they formed a new committee):-

      1) Existing from #1:-

      Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (WG LTCA)

      Aim: to reach the agreed outcome pursuant to decision 1/CP.13 (Bali Action Plan) through decisions adopted by the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth sessions.

      Terminated December 2012.

      2) New from #2:-

      Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (WG DPEA)

      Aim: a) to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force …. applicable to all Parties.

      Aim: b) work on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building

      Complete a) and b) as early as possible but no later than 2015

      Aim: c) plan its work in the first half of 2012 on (inter alia – among other things, what things?) mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building.

      Complete c) end of June 2012.

      Both WGs, LTCA and DPEA, revisit the Cancun Agreements including: Green Climate Fund; Technology Mechanism; Cancun Adaptation Framework; Fast-start finance; and, Forest Management Reference Levels.

      LTCA completes its revisit December 2012.

      DPEA completes its revisit as early as possible but no later than 2015

      Now all they need is money. The substantial commitments so far that I’m aware of are for Fast start – not Green Climate Fund:-

      EU on track with fast start financing to developing countries

      29 November 2011

      The EU is delivering on its fast start finance commitment to support developing countries to strengthen their resilience to climate change and to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. The European Commission and the 27 EU Member States today presented their 2011 fast start finance report at the international climate negotiations in Durban.

      This year, the EU mobilised €2.34 billion, despite the difficult economic situation and tight budgetary constraints. Together with the €2.34 billion provided in 2010, this brings the EU fast start contribution to date to €4.68 billion or 65% of the overall pledge for the period 2010-2012.

      Read more:

      * 2011 Fast Start Finance report PDF file [2.79 MB]
      * List of projects supported by EU fast start finance in 2011 XLS file [412 KB]
      * More information on EU fast start finance


      Australia delivers climate finance


      Australia has made significant progress since the last meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen on allocating financial assistance to help developing countries tackle climate change—the Copenhagen Accord’s commitment to ‘fast-start’ financing approaching US$30 billion from 2010 to 2012.

      Delivery of fast-start financing is both important to assist countries move to a lower-carbon path, and to increase climate action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

      To date, Australia has allocated A$473 million of its A$599 million fast-start commitment, including new funding allocations announced in Cancun. These include:

      * A$15 million to the Adaptation Fund
      * A$169 million in additional adaptation allocations under our International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, with up to A$80 million to the Pacific, up to A$25 million to Africa, up to A$44 million to Southeast Asia, and up to A$20 million to South Asia
      * A$32 million under Australia’s International Forest Carbon Initiative for additional REDD+ activities in Indonesia and globally
      * A$10 million to the Partnership for Market Readiness
      * A$10 million to the Climate Investment Fund’s Program on Scaling-up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries.

      Information on Australia’s fast-start package is available in the fast-start fact sheet (PDF 1.5 MB).

      Report in the SMH: the green climate fund was “an empty shell” after Australia blocked a tax on bunker fuel, the carbon-heavy oil used for aviation and shipping.

      Australia has fast tracked [fast-start] money to help African countries adapt to climate change, $25 million towards helping African nations manage water resources, boost food security and climate-proof agriculture [That’s all Africa gets – see allocation above].

      Fast-start is limping along (Cancun – USD 30 billion for the period 2010 – 2012) but the Green Climate Fund (Cancun – goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries) isn’t.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 4:02 pm said:

      May I point out that the $25 million towards helping African nations has little to do with modern climate change.

      “Manage water resources” – water management has been around a while, see Water Management in Ancient Persia

      “Boost food security” – herding and horticulture has been around a while, see large scale elephant hunts staged in Europe 600,000 years ago and first domesticated crops, wheat and barley 10,000 years ago

      “Climate-proof agriculture” – climate proofing has been around a while (ancient Romans), see The History of the Greenhouse

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 5:21 pm said:

      Also curious from the SMH report is “Australia blocked a tax on bunker fuel, the carbon-heavy oil used for aviation….”.

      I don’t think they would have raised much revenue from a tax on aviation bunker fuel anyway.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2011 at 5:33 pm said:

      Suggested projects to ‘Boost Food Security’ in Africa (funding to be secured from Australia’s $25m fast-start allocation):-

      1) Installation of strategically placed scarecrows in the corn patch.

      2) Procurement of a watering can, and marriage of supplemental wives to transport the extra water from the well (requires cost/benefit analysis but there are spin-offs).

      3) Mend the gap in the kraal down by the chook run.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 14/12/2011 at 10:41 am said:

    Groser and Smith raise more questions than they provide answers in this quote:-

    Plenty left to do after Durban agreement

    By Brian Fallow
    5:30 AM Tuesday Dec 13, 2011

    “Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser said the negotiations for the long-term regime beyond 2020 would be long and arduous.

    And in a statement with Climate Change Minister Nick Smith he left open the possibility that New Zealand’s commitments after 2012 might not be within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol but rather “join all the developing countries, the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and others, in making those commitments under the alternative transitional arrangements described in different texts“.

    “It is not a matter of whether we make commitments – New Zealand will – but where they are made and how ambitious we should be,” they said.”

    1) What “different texts”? (interesting reading if we knew)

    2) Beyond 2012, are they nullifying commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen Accord and starting with a clean slate? (I think so).

    3) “where they are made” indicates that there will be factions at COP21 2015: Kyoto Protocol aligned Europeans, like-minded clean-slate group, spoilers etc and agreement to disagree (COP21 will be fun).

    4) “how ambitious we should be” probably means “considerably less ambitious than we are now with KP and CA” (and maybe completely ambitionless)

    • Andy on 14/12/2011 at 10:54 am said:

      Well, we are tracking to a carbon piece of zero. However, it will be still spun as a “commitment”, because we still have all the mechanisms in place.

      Lack of ambition and ambitionless re not the same thing. We can have an ambition of zero, that does not mean that we lack ambition.

      We need to be clear that we are collectively committed to declaring our ambition and leadership in these issues, even if those happen to be at zero

      When is the next Conference of Party-goers?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/12/2011 at 12:15 pm said:

      Commitment to ambition of zero does comply with ‘Durban Platform’ decision #6

      6. Further decides that the process shall raise the level of ambition

      Enjoyed this under WUWT, Kyoto – in the past for Canada:-

      Jimbo says:
      December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      “Kyoto is just a thing of the past. Children just aren’t going to know what Kyoto is. It was a very rare and unexciting event”

      When is the next Conference of Party-goers?

      Qatar. From Wiki, :-

      The laws of Qatar tolerate alcohol to a certain extent. However, the few bars and nightclubs in Qatar operate only in expensive hotels and clubs, with Qatar Distribution Company[16] the only importer and retailer for alcohol in Qatar. Under Qatar’s Sharia, it is illegal to show alcohol or be drunk in public

      COPs 18, 19 and 20 will be non-events anyway though because only COP21 2015 is relevant now – unless all the parties suddenly get extraordinarily generous and start contributing dollops of cash to the Green Climate Fund or something.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 14/12/2011 at 12:40 pm said:

      Qatar, deep in the heart of fossil-fuel country.

      “Qatar Petroleum (QP) is a state owned petroleum company in Qatar. The company operates all oil and gas activities in Qatar, including exploration, production, refining, transport, and storage. QP’s Chairman Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, is also the head of the Ministry of Energy and Industry and, as of April 2007, the Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar. QP’s operations are therefore directly linked with state planning agencies, regulatory authorities, and policymaking bodies. Together, revenues from oil and natural gas amount to 60% of the country’s GDP. Currently it is the third largest oil company in the world by oil and gas reserves.”

      An oil-fueled host and Sharia law has the makings of a subdued and uncomfortable party.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/12/2011 at 6:34 pm said:

      Mark Lynas and I actually agree on something. From HT (The verdict on Durban):-

      “In essence it is now clear that Kyoto is dying — already irrelevant in terms of mitigation, it will become increasingly irrelevant in political terms too”

      Gareth describes the Lynas post as “one the best and most detailed accounts I’ve come across”. Not surprising, I came across this article (Tom Nelson link I think) that encapsulates the perspective: They Mean Well. Really? By Victor Volsky:-

      “It is impossible to underrate the importance of situational morality for liberals. So divorced are they from reality, so used to dealing only with abstractions, so innocent of the world as it is, that they exhibit a sort of reverse-Midas touch — any attempt on their part to do something practical inevitably turns into a series of pratfalls. Naturally, they are loath to talk of their deeds, concentrating instead on their pristine and virtuous intentions, the only thing that really counts in their book.”

      Read more:

    • Clarence on 19/12/2011 at 6:55 pm said:

      Qatar is said to be a contender for the UNFCCC wooden spoon as having the largest emissions-per-capita to be found anywhere.

      Qataris have average income per capita in excess of $60,000pa, but they are not in Annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol.

      They produce more oil than Exxon-Mobil.

      But, what the hell…. the weather’s survivable in December and they have massive air conditioning. And they are trying to compete with Dubai as the tourist capital of the ME, so they should turn on a good show.

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