President Barack Obama is making plans to join the rest of the industrialized world in working out an agreement to cut carbon emissions. The move comes amid calls for action by much of the scientific community, which warns that if manmade warming is not halted, there may be dire consequences. It also comes amid controversy over leaked emails indicating misconduct a major UK research center.
President Obama has proposed an ambitious plan to cut emissions, in line with a climate change bill passed by the US House of Representatives in June. President Obama says the U.S. will offer to cut 17 percent of its emissions by 2020 (with regards to 2005 levels). He also promises to attend the early days of December's UN climate treaty talks in Copenhagen. However, he will miss the critical final days when the final deal will be reached.
UN Climate Chief Yvo de Boer said for President Obama to attend at all, was a major victory, though. He states, "It's critical that President Obama attends the climate change summit in Copenhagen."
Officially, President Obama will be unable to formally commit to the emissions target, as the legislation is currently stuck in the U.S. Senate after sailing through the House. Under Obama's proposed plan, the cuts will continue with a 30 percent reduction by 2025, 42 percent by 2030, and 83 percent by 2050. The White House says that the cuts are "a significant contribution to a problem that the US has neglected for too long."
Over 60 world leaders have committed to attending the talks, including President Obama. The pledges from other countries, though, will be a bit different from those of the U.S. as most are putting their cuts in context with 1990 levels. As the U.S. emissions rose 15 percent from 1990 to 2005, this means that our cuts would fall several percentage points when normalized.
President Obama will pay a largely symbolic visit to the Danish capital on December 9. Instead of attending the later talks, he will instead make a quick trip to Oslo, Norway to collect his Nobel Peace Prize the next day, then return to his normal duties.
Compared to the U.S. targets, other nations are offering bigger promised cuts. The European Union says it will cut 20 percent of its emissions (w.r.t. 1990 levels) by 2020. The conference aims to enact 30 percent cuts, and developing nations are demanding 25 to 40 percent cuts in the same time frame.
A spokesperson for the environmental group Friends of the Earth, Tom Picken cheered Obama's decision to attend, stating, "Obama's pledge to go to Copenhagen is a welcome and significant development - but he must adopt a 'Yes we can' attitude in the UN climate talks if he is to earn his Nobel prize. The US is the world's biggest per capita polluter. It has a moral responsibility to take the lead in securing a strong and fair agreement."
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) also endorsed the move, commenting, "This could be one hell of a global game changer with big reverberations here at home."
The U.S. is the second biggest polluter in terms of carbon emissions, behind only China. China's president Hu Jintao has not committed to attending the summit, but many other major leaders including UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva have. The international community hopes to use the conference as a planning phase, as they have given up on enacting a legally-binding treaty by the time the conference is over.
quote: Maybe if they'd fix these issues that are already in their jurisdiction, we wouldn't have such cronic diet-related health issues in the country, and then maybe healthcare wouldn't be such a "disaster."
quote: the PlaNYC effort to reduce the amount of carbon emitted by municipal government 30 percent by 2017 and to reduce the entire City’s carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030.
quote: I wish we had Giuliani as a president, he is a much more realistic president, and fixed what mattered most as Mayor of New York.
quote: I don't, and I disagree that he would have made a "better" president. What exactly did he fix in NYC? I ask because I don't see where he was responsible for most, if any, of the good done during his tenure.
quote: Our troops have been waiting for him to come to a decision for THREE months now, and he's had like 7 meetings and has STILL not made a decision !
quote: Perhaps because he inherited a totally mismanaged cluster-&$*$!
quote: and is attempting to figure out the best way to extract our military without appearing 'weak'.
quote: Sec. 4.3. Special Access Programs .(a) Establishment of special access programs. Unless otherwise authorized by the President, only the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Energy, and the Director of Central Intelligence, or the principal deputy of each, may create a special access program. For special access programs pertaining to intelligence activities (including special activities, but not including military operational, strategic, and tactical programs), or intelligence sources or methods, this function shall be exercised by the Director of Central Intelligence. These officials shall keep the number of these programs at an absolute minimum, and shall establish them only when the program is required by statute or upon a specific finding that:(1) the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional; and(2) the normal criteria for determining eligibility for access applicable to information classified at the same level are not deemed sufficient to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure.(b) Requirements and limitations.(1) Special access programs shall be limited to programs in which the number of persons who will have access ordinarily will be reasonably small and commensurate with the objective of providing enhanced protection for the information involved.(2) Each agency head shall establish and maintain a system of accounting for special access programs consistent with directives issued pursuant to this order.(3) Special access programs shall be subject to the oversight program established under section 5.4(d) of this order. In addition, the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office shall be afforded access to these programs, in accordance with the security requirements of each program, in order to perform the functions assigned to the Information Security Oversight Office under this order. An agency head may limit access to a special access program to the Director and no more than one other employee of the Information Security Oversight Office, or, for special access programs that are extraordinarily sensitive and vulnerable, to the Director only.(4) The agency head or principal deputy shall review annually each special access program to determine whether it continues to meet the requirements of this order.(5) Upon request, an agency head shall brief the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or a designee, on any or all of the agencys special access programs.(c) Nothing in this order shall supersede any requirement made by or under 10 U.S.C. 119.
quote: Where are the links to sources? Seriously...
quote: self-referential DT links
quote: I'm completely against what Obama said, if he indeed said this. He would not be the first politician to make a promise he couldn't possibly keep, either.
quote: However... because this is sooooo big - I'm not going to say carbon emissions should not be cut.
quote: There is no global warming. Its cooling.
quote: If it is cooling, then why are the ice shelves becoming ever thinner/cover less surface area?
quote: localized to only Europe, UK, Iceland, Greenland, Asia, and North America and maybe some parts of the Southern Hem.
quote: It just opened, for the first time since the medieval warm period!
quote: You are adament it is cooling just to suit your own fiscal politics. For that reason, for me, your opinion (and that is all it is) carries very little weight.
quote: Feel free to post information to the contrary, I'm always open to new evidence.
quote: It's all about transferrance of wealth.
quote: Instead of invoking examples of the climate changing and then immediately implying that man caused it
quote: Ultimately I think the human race should be aspiring to climate control, on both local and global levels - as that will help ensure survival of the race. I just think we should be thinking bigger, as in, control over how much energy from the sun gets to the earth. Of course, to accomplish such a feat would require massive mirrors and screens located in space...
quote: I'm not going to say carbon emissions should not be cut.
quote: President Obama says the U.S. will offer to cut 17 percent of its emissions by 2020
quote: And how you replied is the straw man fallacy.
quote: Yeah global warming is such a scam!! I also believe that there is no correlation between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, oh and by the way, Earth is also flat. ....youdumbass.
quote: Wow, you've got serious issues...
quote: Yes, CO2 is naturally occurring, but it isn't natural for it to be emitted into the atmosphere at the rates which it is being currently emitted.
quote: but global warming is going to cause a much larger crisis than a few percentage points of unemployment.
quote: Further proof that our intrepid leader is another scientifically ignorant boob. Just like the noted expert Algor, he appear to have left science behind in junior high school.
quote: A couple years ago _Nature_ published a study which examined a randomly selected sample of 960+ articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals which discussed global warming or its effects in a wide range of different fields.
quote: Why does 27% of the American public believe that global warming is a hoax? Partially, it is due to scientific illiteracy