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Earth News

UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising "Damage Aid" To Poor Nations 212

Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that UN climate talks in Doha have closed, with a historic shift in principle agreed to by nearly 200 nations, extending the Kyoto Protocol through 2020 and establishing for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Until now rich nations have agreed to help developing countries to get clean energy and adapt to climate change, but they have stopped short of accepting responsibility for damage caused by climate change elsewhere. 'It is a breakthrough,' says Martin Khor of the South Center — an association of 52 developing nations. 'The term Loss and Damage is in the text — this is a huge step in principle. Next comes the fight for cash.' U.S. negotiators made certain that neither the word 'compensation,' nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid. Ronny Jumea, from the Seychelles, told rich nations earlier that discussion of compensation would not have been needed if they had cut emissions earlier. 'We're past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We're now right into the era of loss and damage. What's next after that? Destruction?' While the United States has not adopted a comprehensive approach to climate change, the Obama administration has put in place a significant auto emissions reduction program and a plan to regulate carbon dioxide from new power plants. 'What this meeting reinforced is that while this is an important forum, it is not the only one in which progress can and must be made,' says Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate programs at the Environmental Defense Fund. The disconnect between the level of ambition the parties are showing here and what needs to happen to avoid dangerous climate change is profound.'"
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UN Summit Strikes Climate Deal Promising "Damage Aid" To Poor Nations

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:26AM (#42233257)

    With this, we see their real purpose.

    Climate change.... Well, it's always changing, so the money will always have to flow. Another unending stream.

    What a shock.

    • It's worse than that. Read this description from the BBC:

      There was last-minute drama as the talks were thrown into turmoil by the insistence of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that they should be allowed extra credit for the emissions cuts they made when their industries collapsed.
      After a long delay, the chairman lost patience, re-started the meeting and gavelled through the agenda so fast there was no chance for Russia to object.
      A cheer exploded into prolonged applause. Russia bitterly objected at what it said was a clear breach of procedure, but the chairman said he would do no more than reflect the Russian view in the final report.

      What kind of agreement is that??

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#42235707) Journal

      It's always, nakedly, been about wealth redistribution.

      Why do you think India and China - the fastest growing (and now largest) emitters of CO2 - were omitted from the original Kyoto accord?

      Oh, there's a pastiche of 'let's save the planet' but then the road to hell has always been paved with what, again?

      There's a reason they so bitterly hate the term strikes waaay too close.

      Go ahead mod me down as 'flamebait' and 'troll'. As the 'climate changers' keep telling everyone, truth isn't based on popular opinion.

      • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:20PM (#42236409) Homepage

        It's always, nakedly, been about wealth redistribution.

        Oh, the humanity! Those nasty, wicked, impoverished nations teeming with starving people who have all the money and social rank and political power and weapons will force - at gunpoint, even! or maybe just with their hectoring, angry words! or their faces! - a tiny beseiged elite of virtuous billionaires to solve a problem facing everyone and which just drowned New York. But the problem can't be solved, because drowning countries is right and just and honourable and we all know it. And yet they pass bad laws like this. It's horrible, that's what it is. But oh well. It's not like educated billionaires who own mega-corporations have any power in the world, is it? Always they're the ones who get downtrodden and stepped on by the naked jackboot of the filthy masses. All those poor people, swarming everywhere! Eating and breeding and voting! Every day, vote vote vote! Like it's a democracy or something! Filling the world's governments with twisted, perverse policies that benefit the middle-class! Don't the billionaires get any say at all? Those long-suffering saints! One day things must change! One day, just once, a billionaire will stand up and say "No!" to a poor person! One day Atlas must shrug!

        Yeah, I don't think that's how the balance of social power actually works anywhere outside Ayn Rand or Paul Ryan's mind.

    • It's one of the reasons I remain skeptical. Where there are billions, or trillions, of dollars to be made, you can be fairly sure the motives aren't going to be pure.

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:42AM (#42233361)
    Dear Seychelles,

    We are sincerely sorry that your small island nation has been covered over by the Indian Ocean.

    Attached is a coupon for 10% off any Boeing or Raytheon product. Simply print the coupon and present it at your local dealership to redeem.

    Best wishes,
    The United States of America
    • So . . . what will actually, legally, happen when the Seychelles go under? I mean, no land, no country, right? Or will they have some legal entity elsewhere that represents the waters over the islands? Another empty seat at the UN? What about long term debt? Can you still own land underwater? Maybe real estate investors might want to start building under water hotels? Maybe the submerged country will be a scuba divers' paradise?

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        So . . . what will actually, legally, happen when the Seychelles go under?

        See the Scarborough Reef for an example of a couple rocks barely above sea level. You'll have a lot of whining about who owns it, and ham radio guys will visit every once in a while. []

        Note that its probably not going to collapse under the sea in moments... for years they'll just be less and less above high tide, then the day will come when there's only a couple rocks above average high tide, then finally those rocks will occasionally go under, then ...

      • They can use the aid money to ship trash consisting mostly of cheap junk items manufactured in China and used once or twice before they broke in the United States to the Seychelles, where they can pile them on top of the island, creating a new surface a few meters higher.

      • Most of the islands of the Seychelles are coral islands and atolls, which means they will always look like they are on the verge of becoming inundated, no matter what the sea levels do. Sealevel rises measured in millimeters per decade just don't seem that scary, hasn't been any significant warming for 16 years; these people are more worried about the gravy-train ending than anything else.

  • LOL (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I want to know where all of this "compensation" is going to come from. Our debt to gdp ratio is approaching 100 percent and rising, and the Europeans aren't exactly in good shape either. I don't know how Europeans feel, but I think when there is a choice between maintaining social security, medicare, and the military or giving money to brown people in a foreign country, Americans will choose the former.

    • by ashelton ( 826 )

      It doesn't really commit anyone to anything. It's mostly so they could get something out and not look like they'd just had a junket.

  • Seems like (Score:4, Informative)

    by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:10AM (#42233515)

    There are two different stories here. One says that wealthier nations will offer humanitarian aid to disaster struck areas, the other claims that general compensation is due for damages. Two completely different things, and the actual facts of the matter seem to be more towards humanitarian aid.

    • Re:Seems like (Score:4, Informative)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:08PM (#42235259) Journal
      It looks like they agreed to encourage the member states to set aside up to $10billion a year, in order to aid countries affected by global warming. It also appears that money will not go to those countries until they actually have a disaster. In order to get countries like the US to agree to this, they chose to add that money to the crisis relief fund, instead of creating a new global warming relief fund. In other words, an imaginary line on a budget somewhere was increased. Also, the Kyoto agreement was extended for a few years.

      If you pay attention, you'll see when a disaster strikes a country, hundreds of countries around the world promise millions, or even billions, in aid to the affected country. As time passes and the world news stops focusing on the disaster, everyone forgets, and most of those countries that promised aid don't actually deliver. I suspect here is nothing different.
      • As time passes and the world news stops focusing on the disaster, everyone forgets, and most of those countries that promised aid don't actually deliver.
        This is nonsense.

        • No it's not.
          • What do you expect? Should I shout "yes it is"?

            Sorry, you are an complete idiot ... just forget it.

            • My argument was no worse than yours. Sorry you are also a complete idiot. I've seen some countries definitely deliver on their aid. The US does, and I've seen Nicaragua do it. But very often those who promise, don't deliver.
              • But very often those who promise, don't deliver.
                And how would a mere layman like you know that? You have a secret access to the bank accounts?
                Sorry, you are dreaming and making stuff up, thats qualifies you as an idiot.
                Perhaps you have one small insignificant example of an incident where a country assured help but did not deliver?
                Oh ... sorry, did not want to mess up your day. No need to google.
                Claims like yours are not only nonsense but jsut bullshit. Dream on.

                • Believe me, you didn't mess up my day. I can see why you get modded down a lot though. Pointless, harassing, posting. Do you make this stuff up?
  • Annnnnd.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HappyCycling ( 565803 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:49AM (#42233765)
    This is why people think climate change is just a huge scam masquerading as an environmental cause.
    • Mind if I ask where you live? I have a few truckloads of garbage to dump somewhere.
    • Ah... so disbelieving AGW has nothing to do with scientific evidence. Thank you for clearing that up once and for all.
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Ah... so disbelieving AGW has nothing to do with scientific evidence. Thank you for clearing that up once and for all.

        Would that be the same scientific evidence that's been claiming that the end of the world is neigh for the last 20 years? I'm seeing similarities to this and doomsday cults too. Then again a lot of environmentalists are in the malthusian camp anymore too.

        • Scientific evidence doesn't claim anything. People make claims, and I'm sure people have made false claims. If you look at what climate scientists have predicted, climate is changing even faster than predicted.
    • So you think climate change is a scam because mitigating it is not free? That is the result of sounding your intellectual depth? Nice insight into the denialists mind, though.
  • 'We're past the mitigation [emissions cuts] and adaptation eras. We're now right into the era of loss and damage. What's next after that? Destruction?'

    Obviously, the ultimate answer to this question is the same as for the Fermi paradox: greed.

  • Countries paying an undefined compensation in proportion of their wealth won't solve anything. If we want to incentivize emission cuts, we should require countries to pay up (or receive aid) in proportion of their emissions. That's what the old emission credit system did, and while it wasn't perfect it was still much better than the current treaty. But that wasn't good for the radical greens, now look at what we've got as a result.

  • 200 nations... but all the major ones will either be exempted by the new treaty (China, India) or won't accede to it (US, Russia).

  • More precise modeling alows IPCC climate report to backstep from previous hysterical claims and hoopla that every recent unusual weather event was a harbinger of doom to come.

    Sea level rise in next century, not even a meter. Hurricanes & sever storms, somewhat LESS of them. Arid areas, become slightly more arid and areas with frequent precipitation have somewhat more rain. Total temperature rise in next 100 years, 2 degrees C on top of the 1 degree C rise over 20th century.

    In short, not a doomsday sc

  • All we need to do is invent a new fiat currency, convince the third world that it has value, and pay them in that. Problem solved.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.