As the world watches and waits to see what happens at the G20 today, but if you are worried about climate, you are looking at the wrong place.
You should be looking to see what happens at Bonn instead. Anything meaningful on climate will happen in Bonn not London. This is where a 10-day UN climate meeting began on Monday, the latest in a string of talks in the run up to the all important Copenhagen meeting in December.
Although climate change will be discussed at the London Summit, it is, in the words of New Scientist, “ not expected to produce more than a bland statement of environmental intent, perhaps including a promise to create “green jobs” as part of a package of measures to stimulate the global economy.”
Slowly the US is beginning to crank up the rhetoric. Earlier this week, Obama’s chief climate negotiator Todd Stern declare the US’s re-engagement with climate diplomacy: “We do not doubt the science, we do not doubt the urgency, and we do not doubt the enormity of the challenge before us. The facts on the ground are outstripping the worst case scenarios. The costs of inaction – or inadequate actions – are unacceptable.”
The US may find the cost of inaction unacceptable, but the reality is that it is now under intense pressure to sign off on deep CO2 cuts. Yesterday at Bonn China, India and other developing nations joined forces to urge rich countries to make far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than planned by 2020 to slow climate change.
Obama’s goal is to cut U.S. emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, back to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of between 16 and 17 percent from current levels. But many developing states at the 175-country talks in Bonn, urged the rich to cut emissions by “at least 40 percent” below 1990 levels by 2020 to confront what they said were worsening signs of climate change.
“We believe that by 2020 the (developed nations) should reduce their emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels.”
Today the world will watch to see if the G20 can come up with an economic fiscal rescue plan. That will make the headlines. But any plan needs to have at its heart the technology that can kick-start a true green revolution that will make a 40 per cent a reality. If the US really does now finally understand the cost of inaction, then nothing less will do.