Best report on what happened at Bali

Holmes Hummel is a recent Stanford PhD who studies climate scenarios, and is currently spending a year as a Congressional Fellow. She was in Bali and wrote a great memo summarizing the inside story of what happened at Bali (12 page pdf document). Her email says her next task is to write a memo for Congressional staff on:

(1) the implications of the international pressure for the U.S. to accept targets commensurate with a 400ppm CO2 stabilization path,

(2) the counter-pressure on any new administration to not accept in the 2009 negotiations any targets for which 67 Senate votes would be in doubt, and

(3) the reality factor that our most ambitious Congressional proposals at present are heroic in their effort just to get us to 1990 levels by 2020 – let alone -25%…

I’ll look forward to reading that…

UPDATE: Joe Romm also liked Holmes memo. Here are his comments:

(…) One interesting point she makes: Some media coverage left the misimpression that the Bush team opposed language that would have committed Annex I (i.e. rich) countries to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. But that isn’t correct. The language they vehemently rejected merely said this:

Recognizing that much deeper emissions cuts by developed countries will be required and that Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are considering the indicative range of emission reductions of Annex I Parties as a group of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020…

Yes, that’s right, the Bush team simply “did not want to ‘recognize’ what the Kyoto Parties clearly were considering.” Sad. So what happened?

Ultimately, the Bali Action Plan recognized that “much deeper emissions cuts by developed countries will be required to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention”, and included a footnote reference to a page number in an IPCC Technical Summary that advises:

“Under most equity interpretations, developed countries as a group would need to reduce their emissions significantly by 2020 (10-40% below 1990 levels) and to still lower levels by 2050 (40-95% below 1990 levels) for low to medium stabilization levels (450-550ppm CO2-eq).”

Nice job, Holmes.


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