Afternoon news and open thread.
Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were in Oslo today to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Here are excerpts from Gore’s Nobel Lecture.
Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose…
We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.
However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” …
Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion? …
The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where Earth is in the balance… But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China…
Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.
The Telegraph reports the US refuses to set Bali target for emissions. “The United States warned it was unwilling to accept numeric targets in the plan which will be at the centre of debate among negotiators attempting to hammer out a final document by Friday. Harlan Watson, the United States’s chief negotiator, said the US was in Bali to work in a ‘constructive manner’ to get a roadmap for negotiations to be completed by 2009… Dr Watson also said the figures, which were derived from… IPCC most recent assessment report this year, are surrounded by ‘many uncertainties’… Mr Watson also told a press conference in Bali he does not think the EU target of limiting global warming to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels was a ‘helpful’starting point.”
In an interview with the AP, John Kerry indicated the US Senate wouldn’t ratify climate deal without developing countries. “If China and other emerging economies don’t contribute to reining in greenhouse gases, ‘it would be very difficult’ to get a new global climate deal through the U.S. Senate, even under a Democratic president, Sen. John Kerry said Monday. ‘At some point in time, they will have to take on those reductions, for several reasons, most importantly the developed countries are not going to be able to do this on their own,’ Kerry said… Kerry noted that one reason Kyoto found no support in the late 1990s in the Senate, which must ratify such international accords, was that it didn’t demand emissions cuts by developing nations.”
The AP reports Huckabee Pardons Under Scrutiny. “As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a hand in twice as many pardons and commutations as his three predecessors combined. The case he’s asked about most concerns the parole of a castrated rapist who later killed a woman… The [other] acts of clemency benefited the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor’s mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors.”