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Sobering New Numbers on Global Warming

By       Message Rodger Knight       (Page 2 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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The Discovery of Global Warming (New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine) by Spencer R. Weart

The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate by David Archer

The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery

Beyond Carbon Dioxide: Growing Importance Of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) In Climate Warming in Science Daily, July 9, 2009 (http://www.sciencedaily.com)

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Methane hydrates and global warming in Real Climate, December 9, 2005 (http://www.realclimate.org)

The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming in The Monthly Review, July-August, 2008 (monthlyreview.org)

Climate Change: The scope of the problem (Section Two)

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In June, 1992, leaders from all over the world met in Rio de Janeiro for The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.  It was the twentieth anniversary of the meeting of world leaders in Stockholm for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and, at the 1992 conference, world leaders reaffirmed the Declaration adopted at the 1972 conference.  Stay with me here.  There is still one more chapter in the story of how our leaders have spared no expense and no energy in their efforts to recognize and address environmental threats to our planet.  Before we get to the final step, however, let's see what was agreed upon in 1972.

The Stockholm Conference concluded with these lofty goals:

With the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people,

Working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system,

Recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home,

Proclaims that:

Principle 1
Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Principle 2
States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of nationaljurisdiction.

Principle 3
The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.

Principle 4
In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.

Principle 5
All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world.

It continues in pretty much the same vein through:

Principle 27
States and people shall cooperate in good faith and in a spirit of partnership in the fulfilment of the principles embodied in this Declaration and in the further development of international law in the field of sustainable development.

(Source: Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 5-16 June 1972)

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Last month world leaders again met in Rio de Janeiro for the twentieth anniversary of the twentieth anniversary of the Stockholm conference.  What had been accomplished in the intervening forty years and what was accomplished at this meeting?  Not much and nothing.

Now, this is not to say that our leaders haven't been trying.  In December, 2009 they met in Copenhagen for the 5th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Additionally, the 5th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol took place in Copenhagen.  Also sitting were the thirty-first sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the tenth session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), and the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).

Well then, how about this conference.  Surely, with representatives of 180 nations along with a 20,000-strong army of officials, advisors, experts and journalists participating in so many important sounding committees, meeting in the first carbon-neutral capital in the world, something noteworthy must have happened.  Nope.  Other than Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Big Oil Interests) flying to Copenhagen to deny that climate change was real and finding no listeners except for a few reporters, including one from Der Spiegel who commented, "you're ridiculous," nothing worthwhile took place.  To a large degree that was because neither the United States nor China, the two nations responsible for forty percent of the worlds carbon emissions, were willing to make any substantive concessions.  The conference floundered and flopped about for two weeks until President Obama stepped up and took the lead in drafting the Copenhagen Accord.

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Rodger Knight is a retired probation officer and amateur historian with a particular interest in the Depression and war years. He has a BA in English and History from Cal State University, San Bernardino and, for two years, was a graduate student (more...)

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