Let's give a big ol' shout out to the "leaders" who gathered at the climate change conference in South Africa. Man, I've got to tell you, they really set the bar high for the next group of people who attempt to demonstrate leadership.
To give you just one example of that quality effort they put in, check out what the Globe and Mail reports.
Throughout the marathon late-night talks here, China and India had fought to avoid any legal limits on their fast-rising carbon emissions. And under the agreement announced at 5 a.m. on Sunday, they seem to have won – for the next decade at least.
The deal keeps alive the Kyoto Protocol for another five years, but with Europe as the only significant source of emission cuts. It requires the world to negotiate a new legal protocol by 2015 to replace Kyoto, but those rules would not take effect until after 2020. And while this historic new protocol would for the first time apply to developing countries such as China and India, they would continue to have fewer obligations than developed nations.
That’s something Canada still wants to see changed, Mr. Kent said.
While politicians from virtually all of the world’s 194 countries claimed victory after the Durban deal, the reality is that the Durban agreement is riddled with loopholes, delays and uncertainties. Its vagueness allowed all nations to accept the deal, but it postponed the key negotiations for years down the road.China's waffling on the issue should come as no surprise, the Dalai Lama notes. Speaking in the Czech Republic, he made it clear that China's lack of transparency makes it a prime target for criticism. However, as the National Post notes, let's not give the U.S., and Russia a free pass; they deserve equal criticism alongside China and India.
No real treaty was reached. All that happened was that everyone agreed to try and reach a legal agreement by 2015. And if they do, it won’t come into effect until 2020. So not much happens for nine more years. Which seems a long way off when Big Environment has been insisting, with increasing shrillness, that we have to act now, immediately, or the world as we know it will be washed away in the flood of melting glaciers.
Hey, let's not worry, folks. The next group of will surely get it right!
In the interim, China, India and the U.S. — the big three of Emissionland — can continue merrily building coal-fired plants and sending the results into the atmosphere. Russia, which only reduced emissions under the Kyoto deal thanks to the collapse of its industrial base when communism expired, can now join in with them. Those are the real global warmers, folks. Canada, oil sands and all, is a minor affair.