The United States and other rich nations must pledge by the end of next year specific targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to win agreement on a U.N. climate pact, the U.N.'s top climate official said on Tuesday.
Some analysts say that President-elect Barack Obama may not be ready to set formal emissions targets for 2020 within a year, and that economic recession could delay an end-2009 deadline by 190 nations for agreement on a new U.N. global warming pact.
"We have to have numbers on the table from industrialized countries (by the end of 2009) otherwise the other dominoes won't fall," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said during December 1-12 talks on global warming.
Poor nations such as China and India would not sign up for more action to slow their rising emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, without leadership from the rich, he told a news conference during U.N. talks of 11,000 delegates in Poznan.
And he gave a one-word answer -- "Yes" -- when asked if he would rate the negotiations a failure if they set no 2020 greenhouse cuts for rich nations to succeed 2012 goals set by the existing Kyoto Protocol.
A U.N. official said de Boer's remarks covered the United States, even though President George W. Bush kept the country out of Kyoto. Bush said Kyoto was too costly and wrongly excluded 2012 targets for developing nations.
But de Boer also cautioned against too much ambition for a new global deal due to be agreed in Copenhagen next year, saying that many details of a new pact could be worked out later.
"We should be careful not to reach too far and achieve nothing," he said.
The Kyoto Treaty was a very ineffective piece of paper. It was largely aimed at the developed countries. Everyone points to the US as the culprit for its failure. The fact of the matter is that even if the US has ratified the treaty and attempted to meet its goals, the other countries, especially the European and, yes, Canada, did not meet their obligations under that treaty.
Furthermore, China - a developing country - is putting out more CO2 than the US does. They are even less carbon-efficient than the US is! If the whole of China reaches a per capita GDP US currently has, it will produce six or more times as much carbon dioxide than the combined American economy.
The goals for any treaty must have an enforcement mechanism: it needs teeth, a carbon tariff most likely. The goals must be blanketing: developing and developed countries alike must be set. China has to be taking as much of a cut as America. There's one atmosphere here. If the Chinese, especially, but the Indians and Russians and all the other developing countries are not held accountable - and they probably won't be! - this treaty will be as much of a feel good empty promises treaty as Kyoto.
We have one atmosphere, folks, and the climate doesn't care if the carbon dioxide comes from a developed or developing country. Or methane for that matter.
Because of the above, that's why I say that Global Warming Is Inevitable.