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Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

The 'Grotesque Behavior' of the Climate Powers


"They have wasted valuable time and energy. They have acted as though they had a second planet in reserve. … Considering what's at stake, Obama and Co. simply can't afford to produce nothing but hot air."


By Joachim Wille



Translated By Ulf Behncke


December 5, 2009


Germany - Frankfurter Rundschau - Original Article (German)


Is the world heating up? Is man the cause? And does it matter who caused it? The dabate is fierce, and protesters, like the one above in London at a protest of about 20,000, are making themselves heard.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Scientists present evidence that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record, Dec. 8, 00:00:42RealVideo

The Cologne Cathedral half under water. That was the 1986 cover of Der Spiegel Magazine which caused such a furor. It illustrated the looming “climate catastrophe.” The horror story was one of sea levels rising by 70 meters [230 feet] and swallowing-up large sections of Germany.


That really hit home. It created a fear of impending doom. But of course, this was a vision deemed extremely excessive. In a world heating up like a greenhouse, it would still take centuries if not millennia for the Greenland and the South Pole icecaps to melt entirely. Only then, many generations later, would sea levels rise by about 70 meters or more.


Such media exaggerations were said to do more harm than good. The term climate “catastrophe” was blacklisted. Henceforth the commonly-used term would become climate-“change.” Today, more than two decades later and before what will perhaps be the most important global climate summit in Copenhagen - the gathering of evidence by a majority of climate scientists is complete. There of course are still “climate skeptics,” those who cast doubt on the competence, integrity and the maintenance of neutrality by the profession's leading scientists and who are now constructing a “Climate-Gate” but they no longer frame the debate.


Evidence that the earth is experiencing a climate change unlike anything ever seen by modern civilization is overwhelming. Dramatic signs continue to accumulate. The changes appear to be taking place at a faster rate than predicted in the 2007 report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. And now we all know precisely what the scenario for - yes - the climate "catastrophe” will be. Should the earth heat up by more than two degrees, it will threaten to flip earth's planetary “dip-switches,” which would kick off processes that will be irreversible. The Greenland ice could melt, the Amazon rainforest could dry out, the Indian Monsoon could become unstable - to name but three examples.


In other words: should the leading politicians in the climate debate; Obama, Wen Jiabao, Merkel and Co., as well as their successors, miss this two-degree target, they will assume unknown responsibility. It would take just a few decades to bring an end a 10,000-year period of relative climate stability and moderate temperatures during which human civilization developed. 



Alarmism is indeed misplaced. But French President Nicolas Sarkozy was right when he proclaimed that, “In Copenhagen, the future of our planet is at stake.” He resumed: “Ours is the last generation with the ability to take action.” To wit: If we don't courageously slam on the brakes, we’ll be left later with only the accelerator.


In light of this, the way the climate-powers have behaved in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit appears even more grotesque. Despite sending a signal for a groundbreaking “Copenhagen-Protocol” in Bali in 2007, they wasted valuable time and energy. They acted as though they had a second planet in reserve. Two years of fruitless lead-up conferences have come and gone, and not even a specially-convened, top-level climate summit under the auspices of the U.N. and the G-20 made any headway.



People thought is couldn’t get any worse, but it has: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Singapore, three weeks before Copenhagen, left the impression that the climate summit might be cancelled altogether due to a lack of interest on the part of some world leaders. There certainly wouldn’t be a Copenhagen-Protocol declared by the U.S. and China.


That at least turned out to be a salutary shock. Since then, no less than 70 heads of state and government have pledged come ton Copenhagen. That's more than have ever attended a purely climate summit before. Since then, hopes have been raised strongly enough that even serious setbacks have been overcome, such as the debacle of the Australian government being unable to pass climate change legislation. Or take the signaled “No” from emerging nations on plans to at least adopt the two-degree-target into the Copenhagen Declaration, which during the course of coming year will be woven into a post-Kyoto Protocol.



Considering what's at stake, Obama and Co. simply can't afford to produce nothing but hot air in Copenhagen. If they do, only prayer will be left - in the Cologne Cathedral and wherever else it's still dry.










































Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Dec. 8, 1:59pm


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