Posts Tagged ‘carbon emissions’

When I wrote about the opportunity to align desired green behaviors with individual needs and wants, this is what I had in mind:

Different people will rank these needs and wants differently. Using myself as an example, the primary motivators for me to bike more, are fun and convenience. If I was in a lower-socio-economic group, where making ends meet was the primary issue, I would probably pick money. If I was a mother of young children, the bonding potential would work best. Etc. 

Seems like a no brainer to me! The question is how come so few green marketers and environmental communicators think along those lines? The last time I read something that made really sense to me, was in Steve Bishop’s article, “Don’t Bother With the Green Consumer“. He uses a bike example as well! 🙂 (I also refer to Steve’s article in a recent post I wrote for the Huffington Post)

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Starting tomorrow, I will be off to Europe for a two-week visit to my family, followed by a tour of the Tuscan countryside. If I was 100% pure, I would stay home, and use Skype to stay in touch with my loved ones. After all, air travel is one the most CO2 intensive mode of transportation:

This is where the power of emotional ties collide with my green conscience. The tragedy of my 86-year old mother slowly falling to Alzheimer’s, and the adorable pictures of my new six-month old nephew Amadeo, are stronger than all the carbon calculations. I have to go.

To ease up my footprint, I will, of course, buy carbon offsets from Terrapass. And dream of a not so distant future, when air travelling may not be such a curse on the environment.

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That show last night was pretty depressing!” Hubby Prad did not sleep well after watching ‘We Were Warned: Out of Gas‘, the latest in CNN’s Special Investigations Unit series. Neither did I. Listening to most of the comments in the show, you would never know we are at the brink of a planetary disaster. Hardly any mention of conservation. No, instead it is all about looking everywhere in search of yet more oil, no matter what the cost. Cost in dollars per barrel. And more importantly, cost to our future in terms of carbon emissions.

Never before has the addiction to oil metaphor been more apt. Big Oil is leaving no soil unturned, no ocean unprobed, to satisfy our need for our daily oil fix.

Now, here’s the part that really, really got to me, best conveyed in trailer for new movie, Pay Dirt:

Just when I thought  coal mountain top removal was as bad as it could get . . . 

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From AFP:

The world could solve many of the major environmental problems it faces at an “affordable” price, the OECD said Wednesday, warning that the cost of doing nothing would be far higher.

In a report presented in Oslo, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development suggested a range of measures to address what it said were the greatest global environmental challenges through 2030: climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and the impact on human health of pollution and toxic chemicals.

“It’s not cheap. It is affordable, but also it is considerably less onerous for mankind and for the economy than the alternative of inaction,” OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria told reporters.

Angel Gurria

The suggested measures would cost just over 1.0 percent of the predicted global gross domestic product in 2030, meaning world wealth would grow on average 0.03 percentage points less per year over the next 22 years, the organisation said.

If nothing is done however, global greenhouse gas emissions could rise by over 50 percent by 2050, while “one billion more people will be living in areas of severe water stress by 2030 than today, and premature deaths caused by ground-level ozone worldwide would quadruple by 2030,” the OECD report said.

“It has a positive cost-benefit result. Regardless of the ethical, of the moral, of the social, of the political consequences, simply looking at it from the business and the economic point of view, it is a better idea to start right away focusing on the environment,” Gurria insisted.

The OECD said its proposed investment would allow the world to slash “key air pollutants by about a third,” and significantly limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The group placed a special emphasis on the need to rein in carbon dioxide emissions through special taxes and increased emission trading.

“We know the enemy. It is called carbon. We have to fight the enemy and we have to put a high price on the carbon,” Gurria said.

The OECD also suggested measures like increasing waste charges and implementing “more stringent regulations and standards” in the most environmentally harmful industries, like energy, transport, agriculture and fishery.

The organisation also insisted on the importance of international coordination and cooperation.

“If we do not have everybody, and that includes every single developed country but also Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Indonesia etc, it will obviously not work,” Gurria said.

By 2030, Brazil, Russia, India and China’s combined annual emissions “will exceed those of the 30 OECD countries combined,” the group said.

I purposely underlined those two words: ‘We could. As we gather more information about global warming, it is becoming more and more evident that the missing ingredient for a successful resolution, has to do with the lack of political will at the international level. The main responsibility lays on the United Sates as the world’s biggest polluter and its leadership role on the international scene. Given that the US leadership draws its authority from its people, the challenge then becomes, how to transform the US from a car addicted – mall obsessed – energy entitled culture to a planet conscious society? Back to yesterday’s discussion on ‘A Most Inconvenient Truth‘, and Kyle‘s point about the cultural dimension of climate change.

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A trip to the neighbors across the street is almost always a culture shock. A peak into the reality of American culture and its excesses. This time, was Russell’s one year birthday party. You could tell from the street, by the balloons and the SUV’s parked in front. To get to it, we had to make our way through the house, and all the plastic toys, strewn all over the floor. I did not remember children needing so many things to play with. More was in the wing. It was impossible to ignore the mountain of presents waiting in the corner of the living room. We found the crowd, outside, celebrating, with enough food to feed an entire block, and disposable plates and plastic cups, of course. Kids and adults kept coming in and out of the obligatory bounce house. I asked Prad what kept the thing inflated. He assured me it only took minimal energy. Plus everybody seemed to enjoy the jumping so much. Little Russell, oblivious to the occasion and a big smile on his face, was cruising around, playing with a plastic straw and picking at the grass. Life seemed so easy, and happy, and abundant. I should have been rejoicing.

Bounce House

Instead I felt unease. Displayed in front of me, was a graphic manifestation of unconsciousness, that did not sit well with my green conscience. Prad accused me of being a party spoiler. ‘You are going overboard now. You can’t stop people. They are celebrating the happy event with their community.’ I could not disagree with the community part. It was the ‘how’ that bothered me. Before the dawn of plastic, what did people do? I asked. Wasn’t the party for Russell anyway? The contrast between Russell’s happiness with so little, and the amount of stuff that seemed necessary for everybody else to have a good time, seemed so obvious to me.

Last week, Andrew Revkin asked the DotEarth readers to ‘Imagine Everyone Was Equal In Emissions‘. What would it mean, knowing that currently the average American is producing about fifteen times as much as a person from India or Africa? It means Russell’s parents would have to live a very different life. No brand new toys, or at least not so many. No SUV. No flat screen TV running while nobody is watching. No disposable plates. Less food. Less meat. It means adopting Kyle’s ‘One Tonne Carbon Lifestyle‘, recognizing that there are indeed limits to what we can do and consume. And that such a change is not the end of the world, but instead the beginning of a new, more conscious way of living.

Twice a week now, I commute to San Francisco for a consulting assignment. Instead of driving, I take the train. Altogether, I get in my one hour of exercise, walking to and from the train station, and two hours of work in the train. Carbon emissions: minimal. Personal efficiency: maximal. This is what Kyle’s One Tonne Carbon Lifestyle is about. Can you think of one way that you can change your life that is all benefit to you, and to your environment?

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In case you were not quite sure what to do yet to help with the climate fight, here is what IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri had to say during his recent Paris press conference – as reported by AFP:

Don’t eat meat, ride a bike, and be a frugal shopper — that’s how you can help brake global warming, the head of the United Nation’s Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change said Tuesday.

The 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last year, highlights “the importance of lifestyle changes,” said Rajendra Pachauri at a press conference in Paris.

This is something that the IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it.

A vegetarian, the Indian economist made a plea for people around the world to tame their carnivorous impulses.

Please eat less meat — meat is a very carbon intensive commodity,” he said, adding that consuming large quantities was also bad for one’s health.

Studies have shown that producing one kilo (2.2 pounds) of meat causes the emissions equivalent of 36.4 kilos of carbon dioxide.

In addition, raising and transporting that slab of beef, lamb or pork requires the same amount of energy as lighting a 100-watt bulb for nearly three weeks.

In listing ways that individuals can contribute to the fight against global warming, Pachauri praised the system of communal, subscriber-access bikes in Paris and other French cities as a “wonderful development.”

Instead of jumping in a car to go 500 meters, if we use a bike or walk it will make an enormous difference,” he told journalists at a press conference.

Another lifestyle change that can help, he continued, was not buying things “simply because they are available.” He urged consumers to only purchase what they really need.

Since the Nobel was awarded in October to the IPCC and the former US vice president Al Gore, Pachauri has criss-crossed the globe sounding the alarm on the dangers of global warming.

The picture is quite grim — if the human race does not do anything, climate change will have serious impacts,” he warned Tuesday.

At the same time, however, he said he was encouraged by the outcome of UN-brokered climate change negotiations in Bali last month, and by the prospect of a new administration in Washington.

“The final statement clearly mentions deep cuts in emissions in greenhouse gases. I don’t think people can run away from that terminology,” he said.

The Bali meeting set the framework for a global agreement on how to reduce the output of carbon dioxide and other gases generated by human activity that are driving climate change.

Pachauri also sees cause for optimism in the fact that, for the first time since the world’s nations began meeting over the issue of global warming in 1994, “nobody questioned the findings of the IPCC.”

“The science has clearly become the basis for action on climate change,” he said.

In 2007, the IPCC issued a massive report the size of three phone books on the reality and risks of climate change, its 4th assessment in 18 years.

Pachauri said it was too late for Washington to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the sole international treaty mandating cuts in CO2 emissions.

The United States is the only industrialised country not to have made such commitments.

But he remained hopeful the US — under a new administration — would be a “core signatory” of any new agreement.

“With the change that is taking place politically in the US, the chances of that happening are certainly much better than was the case a few months ago,” he said.

At 67, Pachauri said he has not yet decided whether to take on a second five-year mandate as IPCC head. Elections take place in September.

On the one hand, he said, the experience he has acquired would serve him well.

But the advantage of retiring, he said with a smile, is that his carbon footprint — the amount of C02 emissions generated by all this travels — would be greatly reduced.

Three things. That’s all he is asking from us. That’s all and that’s not so simple.

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One Track Mind

New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, AOL homepage, NPR, my habitual news sources are mute on climate change. Have been for the last week. The elections have taken over, and there is no space left for much else. I no longer see, hear green. Like the rest of my fellow Americans, I have become obsessed with the polls, latest gossips, and predictions. I am an Obama girl, cheering for her man. In the mean time, CO2 is continuing its dirty work. But we are all taking a break from watching. Our minds are too busy keeping track of Hillary, Obama, and Edwards, and Mc Cain, and Romney, and Huckabee. There is a competition going on, and the thrill of not knowing who’s going to win in the end, is too hard to resist. Yesterday Hillary nearly cried, and that was big news. Tonight, it looks as if Obama is winning again. We are addicted. And that’s ok, as long as we make sure to vote for candidates with a sound climate change agenda.

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Kyle Schuant is the Aussie blogger over at Green With A Gun and a frequent visitor on this blog. It is hard to find a blogger as passionate as Kyle. If you comment on this blog, you have probably encountered Kyle in many of the lively discussions that animate La Marguerite. I have come to appreciate the depth of Kyle’s comments, his thorough knowledge of environmental issues, and also his talent for using compelling arguments to rally others to the green cause. Please join me to welcome Kyle as the new guest writer in the BlogActs series. In this article, Kyle does a brilliant demonstration of what it would take for the average Australian to achieve substantial reductions in greenhouse gases emissions, just with the status quo, only reasonable behavioral changes, and without the need for new technology. Kyle invites us to take a cold, hard look at the facts, and comes up with some pretty surprising numbers. These numbers can be easily extrapolated to other developed countries, U. S. included.

What are we being asked to do to “save the planet”? George Monbiot in Heat talks about a global reduction of 60% of carbon emissions by 2050, which means a 90% Western world reduction, since we’re so far above the average.. Climate change conferences between countries tend to be less ambitious. And then there are scientists out there who say we need more than a 100% reduction, we need to be taking carbon out of the air, not adding any at all. But let’s be moderately ambitious, go for Monbiot in the middle and aim at 90%. Sounds pretty rough, yeah? Probably big sacrifices required? Well, let’s see. It turns out the average Australian can drop their greenhouse gas emissions by about two-thirds without significant discomfort or expense, and saving money.

What are we starting from?

It’s easy to talk about reducing or increasing emissions, but what does it really mean to us in our day-to-day lives? Do we have to live in a cave, or can we live in a hydrogen-powered computerized pollutionless mansion if we get the right Science! (TM)?

Well, let’s look at what the average person here in Australia uses during the year, and the carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions they produce. Once we know what it means day-to-day for us to live this polluting lifestyle, then that helps us figure out what it’d mean to live a different lifestyle.

We’ll just look at what the average person can affect, their household stuff and transport. We won’t worry about factories and mines and so on, since you and I can’t affect those directly. Since methane (cow farts) and other gases actually have a stronger warming effect than pure CO2, but break down over a while, so we’ll give the figures in “CO2e”, which means “carbon dioxide equivalent”, over 100 years. This is calculated as per the figures in my article on carbon emissions. The following is what the average Australian consumes in a year, and the emissions they cause as a result.

 Petrol 1,230lt, causing 2,854kg CO2e
 Aircraft 4,000km, causing 1,000kg CO2e
 Bus, petrol/diesel, 500km, causing 12kg CO2e
 Train, diesel, 250km, causing 2kg CO2e
 Train, electric, 500km, causing 7kg CO2e
 Tram, electric, 250km, causing 13kg CO2e
Household power & gas
 Coal-sourced electricity 3,000kwh, causing 3,630kg co2e
 Natural gas 36,500MJ, causing 2,008kg CO2e
 Meat 107kg, causing 1,231kg CO2e
 Fruit, vegetable, legumes and grain 400kg, causing 1620kg CO2e
 Dairy 100kg, causing 6kg CO2e
 Rubbish 600kg, causing 2,400kg CO2e
 Recycling 200kg, causing 200kg CO2e

All this adds to 14,981kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

Yes, that is a lot. The world average is more like 3,000kg CO2e per person of these domestic controllable emissions. I know, I know – you’re different. You don’t drive but you do fly a lot, and your friend eats more meat than that and leaves the lights on all the time, and your mum never goes anywhere on any kind of transport and is vegetarian – but we’re talking about averages across whole countries, millions of people. So that’s what we’ve got.

Now let’s look at ways the average Australian can reduce this – not making any big “sacrifice”, not waiting for any Science! (TM) or The Market! but just using what’s available to us today.

The average Australian lives in a city, and has access to public transport. Over half their petrol is used in getting to work. In general, public transport sucks – it’s dirty, often late, irregular, not always on when and where you want it, but it can get you to work, and will give you another half an hour or more a day to relax before and after work, read a book or newspaper, chat to friends. Once you factor that leisure time and lower cost in, public transport sucks less than do traffic and parking and speed cameras and so on. So let’s walk, bike, and take the bus or train to work, and that halves the petrol consumption. The average car travels 15,000km each year, so that adds 7,500km to bus, train and tram. Not every city has trams like Melbourne, so we’ll split it 50% trains, 40% buses, 10% trams.

Next we’ll eliminate the aircraft travel, and change that to diesel train. Sorry, no more overseas trips – but that still leaves a whole continent to explore. That ought to be enough to fill a lifetime of holidays.

This takes our transport-related emissions from 3,888 to 1,660kg CO2e. That’s dropped us 15% on the total.

Domestic energy:
Electricity? In most places in the developed West, you can choose your electricity provider, and choose the source of your electricity. Let’s choose the least polluting, wind. Not bad – that takes us from 3,630 to 120kg CO2e. Only thing is, wind power costs more. So let’s just use less electricity.

For heating and cooling, remember that in your home you’re usually in one place for some time. You’re at the kitchen table, at your desk in your study, or on the couch in front of the tv. You don’t need the whole house to be the right temperature, just where you’re sitting. So for cooling, wear light clothes and have a cold drink. Turn off your 2,500W airconditioning and replace it with a 50W fan, point it wherever you’re sitting. For heating, wear a jumper and have a warm drink. When you’re sitting for a long time, use a hot water bottle in a little blanket.

Now, the hot water system.. Go out to your hot water heater and turn the thermostat down a bit. An hour later, check on the temperature of the water from the tap. It should be no hotter than you can stand on your bare skin. You don’t need to make coffees straight from the tap – heating 140lt to get 2050ml of hot water? Are you crazy? Use the kettle. You need it just hot enough that when you take a shower you don’t need to add any cold water. If it’s still too hot, go out and lower the thermostat again. (Some people tell stories about legionella and other deadly diseases you supposedly get from doing this, but I’ve never had anyone meet my challenge: Give me a single case mentioned in medical journals of someone getting sick from their non-boiling shower. Just one.) Now make your showers about 4 minutes. You’re not a surgeon, you don’t need to sterilise yourself, washing all over is quite enough. Shave in the sink, boys.

For lighting, as your old incandescent globes die out, replace them with compact fluroescents. They cost $5 instead of $1, but if you have it on for four hours a day (pretty typical for a house light), you’l make that $ difference back in four months, and the things last for years. Turn off all lights and appliances at the wall when not in use – how many clocks do you need, really? Is it so much trouble to switch on the tv as you pass it to flop on the couch? Is it so horrible to wait while the computer boots up?

Okay, now wind power usually costs 50% more than coal, but with all that you just went from the Aussie average of 8.2kWh/day per person to about 3kWh/day.

Alright, all that just reduced your domestic power-related emissions from 5,638 to 445kg CO2e. That’s 35% gone.

Ideally we’d all eat organic and locally-grown food. But that can be hard to get, and it’s bloody expensive. Besides which, they may save on emissions at the farm, but that’s not much use if they trucked the stuff all the way in refrigerated trucks from Gippsland to Sydney. The key thing is how much meat you eat. 107kg is the Australian average, and that’s 290g a day. That’s half the meat on a cow a year, or a couple of chickens a week, or three or four pigs. Really you don’t need that much for your health. Aim at half a kilo a month of meat of some kind, making sure that any children or menstruating women get red meat in preference to other things, they need more iron than us blokes.

With the rest of your food, buy fresh fruit and vegetables, or dried. Don’t buy tinned stuff unless there’s nothing else available, and avoid anything pre-made like fish fingers, tv dinners and so on. Buy also pasta and rice, nuts and beans. Nutrition is a complicated subject, but an easy way to do it is to aim for colourful meals. When you chop up the vegies there should be three or four different colours there. So if you had onions, peppers, spinach and carrots, there you go. Try to eat beans or nuts every day. Wash it down with some milk or fruit juice, and have a piece of fruit for dessert. You can’t cook? If you can read, you can cook. It takes time to do, but if you have time to watch Neighbours or The Simpsons or read people’s blogs, then you have time to cook. You can always make a big lot on the weekend and freeze things, that uses the time more efficiently.

Plus you’ll impress your spouse and make more friends, everyone likes someone who can cook nice meals.

That takes food-related emissions from 2,857 to 2,104kg CO2e. Another 5% saved.

You can reduce this. Basically you’ve got three categories of waste – rubbish (400kg), recycling (200kg) and food scraps (200kg). In your kitchen you should have a bin for the stuff that can be recycled, and another for the stuff that can’t. Most areas have decent recycling programs now. Check what they can and can’t recycle. If they can’t recycle (say) plastic type “6”, then when you go to the shops to buy something, don’t buy things with that as their container. There are so many brands of everything, you can have your choice of containers, too. Generally if you stick to glass jars, cardboard and wax paper containers they should be able to recycle them. If you have a garden, you should compost all your food scraps. If you don’t have a garden, find a neighbour who does and give them your scraps, they’ll love it.

In this way, you ought to be able to turn 3⁄4 of that rubbish into recycling, and all your food scraps into compost. Your total emissions from waste then go from 2,600 to 973kg CO2e. Another 11% down.

So what do we get from all that? Remember, none of this has cost us any money, in fact it’ll over time save us money.

 Petrol 615lt, causing 1426.8kg CO2e
 Bus, petrol/diesel 3,500km, causing 80.5kg CO2e
 Train, diesel 4,250km, causing 34kg CO2e
 Train, electric 4,250km, causing 59.5kg CO2e
 Tram, electric 1,000km, causing 52kg CO2e
Domestic Power & Gas
 Wind 1095kwh, causing 43.8kg co2e
 Natural gas 7300MJ, causing 401.5kg CO2e
 Wood, clear-felled 0kg, causing 0kg CO2e
 Meat 6kg, causing 69kg CO2e
 Fruit, vegetable, legumes and grain 501kg, causing 2029kg CO2e
 Dairy 100kg, causing 6kg CO2e
 Rubbish 100kg, causing 400kg CO2e
 Recycling 500kg, causing 500kg CO2e
 Compost aerobic/kg 200kg, causing 73kg CO2e

All this adds to 5,175kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. That’s 35% of the average, a 70% reduction.

I dunno, maybe I’m a really tough guy or something, but none of those measures seem to me to be a great “sacrifice.” Most of them will improve my life – I’ll have more money, or less time at work earning that money, less stress, and better physical health. The average Westerner can get a 70% reduction while improving their life, and without having to become some stupid drugged-out hippy communist.

Okay, that’s 65%, what about the other 25%?
The rest is where we either are deprived of things and get real hassle, or else where we need some support from the public purse and government. Because we’re being lazy and don’t want to sacrifice anything, let’s not think of real deprivation. “Damnit, government, we’ve done 70% of it, you sort out the other 20%! What am I paying taxes for?” We need better public transport, more localised work and agriculture, and better packaging for our stuff.

If that 501kg of food, the fruit, vegetables, beans and grain were grown in a lot on your block, or even on a farm a couple of kilometres out of town, all organically and harvested by hand, you’d get zero carbon emissions from it, and that’s another 14% saved.

Better public transport or living within a few kilometres of work and your hobbies would let you get rid of the car entirely, and that’s another 10% saved, only 1% to go. Better packaging for the stuff we buy would mean none of it is rubbish. Do we really need a paper tea bag to have a plastic wrapping on it, then be in a paper box with a plastic wrapping around that, too? Is this a cup of tea or surgery? That saves us another 3%. Awesome, we’re over-target.

So by our own day-to-day actions we can reduce our carbon emissions by 70% while improving our lives overall, and the other 20% we need some government help for.


Again, this is all talking about the average Westerner and what they can achieve in their own day-to-day lives. And it turns out that we can make a 65% reduction in our personal greenhouse gas emissions while improving our lives and physical health. For the other 25% we need some help. I say we make the 65% reduction, then our elected representatives will be more inclined to help us out with the other 25%.

An easily-achievable, 65% reduction. By contrast, as I write this, representatives of the developed world are wailing in terror just at talk of a non-binding goal of a 25-40% reduction… by 2020. For Australians, 25% is 3,745 and 40% is 5,992kg CO2e each. Taking public transport to work saves us 2,267, and changing from coal-generated to wind power without lowering power consumption saves us another 3,510kg CO2e, there you go, easy. 2020? I can do that by tomorrow!

Sure, this doesn’t make agriculture or industry change, but that’s a “what difference does my contribution make?” question, which will be the subject of another article.

Wow, and we didn’t even need Science! (TM) for it. A pity, really, it could have been fun.

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The latest news from Associated Press, is that:

‘Nobel laureate Al Gore accused the United States on Thursday of blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, and European nations threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington compromises on emissions reductions.

Al Gore Standing Up to George Bush at U.N Climate Conference

The former vice president urged delegates to take urgent action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, and told them that the next U.S. president will likely be more supportive of international caps on polluting gases.

My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” said Gore, who flew to Bali from Oslo, Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize for helping alert the world to the danger of climate change.

Asked about Gore’s charge, Kristen Hellmer, a member of the American delegation in Bali, said: “The U.S. is being open and working very constructively with the other countries that are here. We are rolling our sleeves up and really working to come up with a global post-2012 framework.”

Earlier, the United Nations warned that time was running out for an agreement aimed at launching negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012 and the talks in Bali were in danger of “falling to pieces.”

The United States, Japan and several other governments are refusing to accept language in a draft document suggesting that industrialized nations consider cutting emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, saying specific targets would limit the scope of future talks.

European nations said they may boycott a U.S.-led climate meeting next month unless Washington compromises.

“No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting,” said Sigmar Gabriel, top EU environment official from Germany, referring to a series of separate climate talks initiated by President Bush in September. “This is the clear position of the EU. I do not know what we should talk about if there is no target.”

The European Union and others say the proposed emissions caps reflect the measures scientists say are needed to rein in global warming and head off predictions of rising sea levels, worsening floods and droughts, and the extinction of plant and animal species.

The U.S. invited 16 other major economies, including European countries, Japan, China and India, to discuss a program of what are expected to be nationally determined, voluntary cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bush administration views the major economies process as the main vehicle for determining future steps by the U.S. — and it hopes by others — to slow emissions. But environmentalists accuse the U.S. of trying to undermine the U.N. process.

Gore urged delegates to reach agreement even without the backing of the United States, saying President Bush’s successor, who will take office in January 2009, would likely be more supportive of binding cuts.

“Over the next two years, the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now,” he said. “I must tell you candidly that I cannot promise that the person who is elected will have the position I expect they will have, but I can tell you I believe it is quite likely.”

Gore, who helped in the final negotiation of the Kyoto pact in 1997, also called for implementing a successor agreement two years early, in 2010. The first implementation period of the Kyoto pact expires at the end of 2012.

“We can’t afford to wait another five years,” he said.

U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said he was worried the U.S.-EU deadlock could derail the process and that a final “Bali roadmap” would contain an agreement to negotiate a new climate deal by 2009, but may not include specific targets for emission reductions.

“I’m very concerned about the pace of things,” he said. “If we don’t get wording on the future, then the whole house of cards falls to pieces.”

The United States delegation said while it continues to reject inclusion of specific emission cut targets, it hopes eventually to reach an agreement that is “environmentally effective” and “economically sustainable.”

It also noted that that the conference was the start of negotiations for a new climate pact, not the end.

“We don’t have to resolve all these issues … here in Bali,” said Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, the head of the U.S. delegation.

The United States is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the only major industrial country to have rejected Kyoto, which expires in 2012. It has been on the defensive since the conference began Dec. 3.

The Kyoto Protocol requires 37 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a relatively modest average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Bush has argued that the pact would harm the U.S. economy and cutbacks should have been imposed on poorer but fast-developing nations such as China and India.

The talks in Bali are scheduled to wrap up Friday.’

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

This is an interesting development in light of article I wrote earlier on ‘How George Bush’s pathology gets played out in the climate change debate‘, and in which I quoted Dr. Justin Clark, including his assessment of what it would take to stop George Bush from behaving irresponsibly:

‘these people (megalomaniac personalities) never stop, unless some outside force stops them. And, Bush will not stop of his own choosing. He will only have to be stopped. And that would have to be, by people who are willing to stand up and say, “Stop it! You can’t do this any more. I don’t care if you’re President.” ‘

Now, Al Gore and the European leaders are standing up to George Bush. Will they succeed in stopping him?

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Catherine has been ‘borrowing’ my cashmere sweaters, and I realized I needed to replenish my stash. On my way to get groceries, I decided to stop by Anthropologie. Once in the store, I darted to the sales rack. No cashmeres, but tons of other sweaters. Nothing I really needed, or even wanted. But the old urge was there, to look for a bargain, and try things out, just in case. Needless to say, I started feeling guilty. I looked. Every single item I tried was made in China. That’s when the irony struck me. About the post I had just written a few hours ago, about my mind, playing games, and being pissed at the Chinese for not caring, and polluting tons.

When I visit Anthropologie, and I am willing to strike a deal with my dollars, I feed into the Chinese’ environmental orgy. Without me and all the other Westerners who are hungry for cheap Made in China goods, China would not have to produce like mad, or not as much.

I tried the sweaters on, and then left the store, empty handed.

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