Interview with Rajendra Pachauri on Two Degrees

Interview in Copenhagen by Joan Stevenson (PhD)

I was only able to catch him briefly on the evening on December 18, I asked him the following Question:

"Why is the conference still discussing two degrees? The World Meteorological Organization said everything is increasing much faster than anticipated. Why is the emerging science not being considered?"

RAJENDRA PACHAURI: "Well, I think there are two reasons. I think the countries that can really make a difference have not really got sensitive enough to the plight of the poorest of the poor. I think that¹s a harsh reality which we have no choice but to accept. And I hope that will change.

And the second reason is that, you know, climate change and acting to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases would affect every sector of the economy. And there’s a certain inertia over there. There’s a certain vested interest that almost sees that as an enemy of business as usual. “

So I¹m not surprised. I mean, this is something that we should have anticipated. People are not going to give up their so-called benefits. They’re not going to give up the profits that they are making from what they are doing business on. And it’s inevitable that you¹ll get this kind of resistance. But I think truth will triumph, and science will triumph."


February 1. 2010

Joan Stevenson (PhD)

The real culprits escape Andrew Weaver condemnation
Harper releases pitiful commitments to greenhouse gas reductions

In response to Andrew Weaver‘s article criticizing Dr. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – January 27th, Times Colonist.

Pachauri, as an individual, was willing to take on powerful corporate interests. While being clear that he was speaking as an individual, he made important statements about actions that could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, at the 2007 Climate Change Conference at the UN, when he was asked what action would he recommend; he responded to transition from a meat-based diet to a vegetarian-based diet. Recent reports have indicated that methane is a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Pachauri was willing as an individual to take on the destructive Canadian tar sands by calling for the production in the tar sands to end. A position too few have had the courage to take on the international stage. While it appears that the Himalayas are bucking the trend, and the IPCC erred in its estimation, at COP 15, the IPCC released recent data that at 2 degrees rise in temperature, the poor, the disenfranchised and the vulnerable would not survive, and at 1.5 degrees there was a chance. Also there were reports from the World Meteorological Organization that temperatures were rising more rapidly, climate -related incidents were more frequent and more intense, and droughts were advancing more rapidly than had been projected in the IPCC 2007 report which was based on 2004 and 2005 data. In addition, the UNCHR reported that climate change refugees were increasing more than anticipated. Rather than attacking Pachauri, why does Weaver not express concern that at COP!5, the emerging science was ignored in the Copenhagen Accord. Why does he not criticize the reluctance on the part of the IPCC to address the contribution of militarism to greenhouse gas emissions, which could be as high at 20%. And above all why does he not condemn the serious lack of political will on the part of most of the developed states, especially Canada and the US, to seriously address the pleas from the G77, the Organization of Small Island States, and the low lying states. The Chair of the African Caucus decried that while the developed states play with numbers Africa is dying;

Obama and Harper are out of sync not only with the leaders from the developing world but also with most of the leaders from developed countries

The cobbled-up so-called “Obama” Copenhagen Accord undermines any resolve to seriously address the issue. Not only was it agreed to behind closed doors, it was foisted on the developing states. As the representative of Tuvalu stated, “I will not sell out the citizens of Tuvalu for 30 pieces of silver”. The Copenhagen Accord ignores the emerging science and the statements by most of the state leaders when it still uses the limit of 2 degrees. Sadly, many of the developing states may be coerced into adopting the Copenhagen Accord.

In Copenhagen, around 3am on December 19, 2009 there was a table 1 list of developed country emission targets. On the 3am table 1, Harper had listed his target as 20% below 2006 level by 2020, and the US had listed its target as 17% below 2005 by 2020, both of which would have been about 3% below 1990 levels by 2020. Both these targets were conspicuously below the other developed state targets. All the other developed states, except Australia – which used 2000 as the baseline – used the 1990 level as the baseline. The European Union made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% [or 30% if
other developed states would move] below 1990 levels by 2020. In Copenhagen, at 4 am, on December 19, 2009, Adrienne Arsenault, from CBC, reported from Copenhagen and showed table 1 of the Copenhagen accord, as being blank. WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN 3AM AND 4AM? Perhaps Harper and Obama were so ashamed that they insisted that their meagre commitments had to be removed. Or was it just Harper that was concerned because Harper had made a serious error in not completely emulating Obama. On January 30 Harper submitted his copycat emission reduction targets, of 17% below 2005 level by 2020, to the annex 1 table to the Copenhagen accord: As of the preliminary deadline, January 31, 19 states had adopted the Copenhagen Accord.

Inadequate funding in the Copenhagen Accord

Harper has now agreed to the Copenhagen Accord. The funding allotted to assist the developing states was an insult if one compares it to the 1.4 trillion per year that the developed states are willing to spend on the military budgets. This fact was pointed out by the leader of the G77, and by the Alba group; Evo Morales pointed out in an appeal to Obama to spend money on life, not death (a paraphrase).

What needs to be done

The UNFCCC is ratified by 194 countries ­ representing near universal membership. It commands near universal support and its legitimacy is unquestioned. The UNFCCC stated: “Stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere must be at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. This level equates to a target of below 1°C, which is the point at which global systems on land, water and air will be so affected as to create vicious feedback cycles and destabilize many ecosystems and human societies. Indeed this is already happening at .78 C.

Because of the global urgency, there must be the political will to strive to contain the rise in temperature to less than 1°C above pre-industrial levels, and the parts per million to 300 ppm. Strict timeframes must be imposed, so that overall global emissions will begin to be reversed as of 2010. There must be a global target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2015, 50% below by 2020, 75% by 2030, 85% by 2040 and 100% below by 2050, while adhering to the precautionary principle, the intergenerational principle and the differentiated responsibility principle [the emission debt owed by developed countries to developing countries
has to be seriously addressed].

Let them buy rubber boots and drink bottled water”

The real leaders in Copenhagen were from the South, not from the North where most of the “leaders”, especially Harper who, like Marie Antoinette, appears to cry out: “Let them buy rubber boots and drink bottled water” as the Earth floods and burns.

~ by Cory Morningstar on February 2, 2010.

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