Monday, November 30, 2015

World Leaders in Paris Vow to Overcome Divisions on Climate Change

I'd like to see how they're actually going to overcome these divisions, because any global climate change agreement is going to suffer from a major collective action problem.

At WSJ, "President Barack Obama calls on countries to ‘rise to this moment’":
PARIS—World leaders on Monday vowed to finish a deal to curb greenhouse gases and overcome a thorny divide on financing, as they kicked off international climate talks against a backdrop of heavy security.

President Barack Obama called on governments to develop a long-term framework to cut greenhouse emissions, saying the time is coming when it will be too late. He pledged the U.S. would do its part to slow the warming of the planet, and urged other countries to “rise to this moment.”

“I’ve come here personally as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter to say that the U.S. not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it,” Mr. Obama said.

At a heavily guarded airport complex just two weeks after terrorist attacks killed 130 people, other leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon underscored the urgency of addressing global warming in the two-week conference, dubbed the Cop 21.

Evidence of a long-standing divide quickly re-emerged. Developing countries said the richest nations that have emitted the most carbon dioxide must do more to finance a transition to greener energy and help prepare poor countries to stave off the early effects of a changing climate.

Developing countries want their highly industrialized peers to make good on pledges to mobilize $100 billion a year in public and private climate financing from 2020 onward. Some officials have warned they won’t support a deal in Paris that doesn’t deliver high levels of funding. Any agreement would require the consent of nearly 200 countries.

To help bridge the divide, several rich countries unveiled programs to boost funding. Germany, Norway and the U.K. said they would provide $1 billion a year until 2020 for payment based on emissions reductions from forests and improved land use.

Mr. Obama and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates unveiled a multibillion-dollar program involving 20 countries to boost green-energy research and development.

Yet another commitment Monday—from Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland—would provide $500 million for projects in poorer countries via the World Bank.

Emerging economies made it clear that to conclude a deal in Paris, they want to see more progress in the 2020 goal and perhaps even more funding afterward.

“Developed countries should honor their commitment of mobilizing $100 billion each year before 2020 and provide stronger support to developing countries afterwards,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said, adding that Beijing would also help finance poorer countries through its own funding vehicle.

South African President Jacob Zuma said rich countries have a “historic responsibility” to at least meet the $100 billion target.

Just before officials gathered, India slammed an October estimate on how much financing rich countries have provided to poorer countries, saying the “methodologies were inconsistent.” The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produced the estimate, sees India’s criticism as “misjudged and inaccurate,” according to Simon Buckle, head of climate change at the organization representing highly industrialized countries.

Ahead of the Paris talks, most of the countries involved submitted their own plans for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases linked to climate change or boosting the share of green energy after 2020.

An accord clinched in Paris would codify those national plans, part of an original goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels...
Sounds like a pretty sophisticated shakedown scam to me. Jacob Zuma? The guy's a freakin' crook.

But keep reading, in any case.