Monday, September 10, 2007

Climate change: the Sydney declaration

The big news to come out of APEC (other than the temporary transformation of Sydney into a police state) was the Sydney Declaration on Climate Change and Energy [PDF], a meaningless "deal" with no real commitments and no real timetables, just a fuzzy "aspirational goal" of improving energy intensity which translates into business as usual and disaster for the planet. So, have the US and Australia succeeded in their goal of undermining Kyoto?

No. While keeping the same meaningless commitments, the declaration was altered to bring it more in line with the Kyoto Protocol, and now refers to a "post-2012 arrangement" rather than a "post-Kyoto framework". More importantly, the other countries (and notably China) made it crystal clear that they saw Kyoto as the only way forward. So Howard and Bush's efforts to get the international community to publicly ditch Kyoto and move to the American-led spoiler negotiations have failed. I am left wondering though why the other countries bothered to sign it. Sure, it's meaningless, but it gives political cover to the Deniers. Wouldn't it be better to isolate them and show the world how alone they are, rather than lending mana to a charade?