Friday, December 14, 2007

Gore Urges US to Cooperate in Bali

According to an article in the New York Times, Al Gore is adding his voice to those urging to US to stop stalling on climate change action. (See and excerpt of the article below):
Published: December 14, 2007
NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Amid growing frustration with the United States over deadlocked negotiations at a
United Nations conference on global warming, the European Union threatened Thursday to boycott separate talks proposed by the Bush administration in Hawaii next month.
Humberto Rosa, the chief delegate from Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said the discussions next month would be meaningless if there were no deal at the conference here this week on the resort island of Bali.
Germany’s environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, told reporters, “No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting.” He was referring to the formal name of the proposed American-sponsored talks.
The goal of the Bali meeting, which is being attended by delegates from 190 countries and which is scheduled to end Friday, is to reach agreement on a plan for a future deal to reduce greenhouse gases.
The escalating bitterness between the European Union and the United States came as former Vice President
Al Gore told delegates in a speech that “My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.”
Mr. Gore arrived at the conference from Norway, where he, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, received the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to alert the world to the danger of global warming. He urged delegates to agree to an open-ended deal that could be enhanced after the Bush administration leaves office and the United States policy changes.
“Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now,” Mr. Gore said to loud applause. “You must anticipate that.”
There appears to be broad consensus among the delegates that a new agreement on climate change should be ready by 2009, in time to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the current agreement that limits emissions by all wealthy countries except the United States, which signed the Kyoto agreement but has refused to adopt it. Gaping differences remain between countries over how to share the burden of switching from types of energy that contribute to global warming.
The United States and the European Union remain at odds on many major points, including whether an agreement signed here should include numerical targets, a move that the United States and a few other countries, including Russia, oppose.
The emerging economic powers, most notably China and India, also refuse to accept limits on their emissions, despite projections that they will soon become the dominant sources of the gases.
“I’m very concerned about the pace of things,” Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is playing host to the meeting, said Thursday.
The United Nations released fresh data on Thursday confirming what it called the planet’s continued and alarming warming.
The 10 years ending in 2007 were the warmest on record, said Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, citing data taken since the late 1800s from a global network of weather stations, ships and buoys.
“It’s very likely the warmest period for at least the last 1,000 or 1,300 years,” he told reporters.
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