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45 responses to “Agreement in Copenhagen and the US Senate”

  1. Brian

    Someone said in the last few days, the future of the world in the hands of a few US senators.

    Ain’t that the truth!

  2. wilful

    So my understanding is that the US wont do anything usefully and legally binding in this space without a serious change of heart from quite a few crusty old republican Senators. And China will, quite understandably, not sign anything that doesn’t include binding commitments from the US.

    What is the world realistically to do about this? Could a multilateral strategy to destroy the US’ trade be remotely feasible? I don’t think so. What other softer appraoches could possibly work?

    Or are we all basically fucked?

  3. pterosaur

    Fucked I reckon :roll:

  4. Fran Barlow

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

    Obama does have the power to move by regulation against the polluters. He can announce a target and use aggressive regulation under the Clean Air Act to achieve it. That would scare the bejeezus out of larger swathes of the republican “base” while superfically denying the “raising taxes” or “carbon scam” tropes.

    To those state jurisdictions who agree to play ball, Obama could offer an inclusive ETS-carbon taxes hybrid. A number of jurisdictions already have schemes and he could roll them in together playing them off against the hold outs. Then he could get each of the participating jurisdictions to trade directly with businesses in non-compliant jurisdictions who were willing to participate. He could make participation a predisposing variable in tender processes for Federal government contracts.

    Would all the recalcitrants hold their nerve in the face of such an approach?

    Doubtful. With Franken, the Dems can notionally block the filibuster because they have the magic 60, but what he needs to do is to stiffen the resolve of his own party on this.

  5. Doug

    the sort of analysis suggested here is something that Simon Jackman (an aussie at Stanford)is a guru on. Perhaps a nice request to him via his blog might do the trick.

  6. pterosaur

    I also note that it looks like Temps. will rise 3C even with a deal .

    That’s under a “best case” scenario, which I’m fairly sure won’t eventuate.

  7. billie

    Time to reread those wonderful books
    ‘Why Do People Hate America?’ by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies
    ‘The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton’ by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin

    because the authors can add another chapter.

  8. Zorronsky

    Funny how the worlds so called greatest Democracy hates to see democracy in action within the UN. Maybe a reversion to two *Americas* Union and Confederate would expose the hypocrisy. Well everyone else is dreamin’.

  9. Razor

    You guys have just worked out that the likelihood of getting any sort of agreement that is politically acceptable and environmentally effective is Buckley’s and none?

    Well done.

    Welcome to the club.

  10. wilful

    Razor, you and carbonsink have been in agreement on this one thing for a long time. I guess I was just an optimist.

    Otherwise, may as well start to survivalist school now. At least I’ve got two healthy young boys to train up.

    In a sense, we can directly pin the blame for no climate action on a small group of people, being those 40 republican senators. Allocation of responsibility doesn’t quite work like that, but it’d be interesting to interview them in 50 years and ask them if they’d do it all again the same way.

  11. pterosaur

    I must say, (and maybe have posted here before) Razor, that the only thing that I thought the CPRS scheme had going for it was that it was a more realistic approach than denial that a problem exists.

  12. MarkL

    The ongoing collapse of the extraordinary raud and con-job that is AGW is, however, providing rational people who are scientifically literate with vast amusement.

    So Copenhagen, is an absolute delight to watch. It has everything, greenies protesting global warming in blizzards, incompetent socialist dictators squaeling their hatred of capitalism while begging for capitalist money, and greenies giving ovations to squalid mass-murderers like Mugabe. Ah, the ‘superior’ morality of the European left.

    Even more hilarious is the primal screaming of the carpetbaggers who have profited so much from the gullible. Poor Gore. He’ll make his first billion from the gullible fools who believed in AGW, but not a second. How ever will he afford another private jet?

    At some point, the reality was always going to surface. It is doing so now, and is a joy to behold.

    MarkL
    canberra

  13. Rob

    Right, MarkL.

    There really is a touch of gallows humour about this.

    For two decades, the west has been walking around saying, “Look what we’ve done to our beautiful planet; aren’t we wicked, aren’t we bad, don’t we deserve punishment, we need to expiate our sins”.

    Essentially the west was talking to itself, since nobody else could give a toss about climate change. But the west did it out of some unfathomable desire for collective self-flagellation.

    But, what do you know, the Third World was listening, got the message, and now they are playing it back to us at Copenhagen, hugely amplified: “Yes, look what you did to our beautiful planet; yes, you are bad; yes, you are wicked; yes, you deserve punishment; yes, you need to expiate your sins. And, yes, we’ll take $100 billion – make that $350 billion – per year of the sinful capitalist money that created the problem in the first place just so’s you can feel better about yourselves”.

    It’s beyond parody.

  14. Mark

    Robert, why 67? I thought that the Democrats needed 60 votes in the Senate to block a filibuster and ensure passage.

  15. Robert Merkel

    To ratify a treaty, 67 votes are required.

    However, on reflection, I’m not really sure whether it matters if the USA actually ratifies the treaty or not. If they pass legislation that implements agreed-to cuts, they can presumably do that with 60 Senate votes, though international trade in permits might be a little more complex.

    That makes the task easier, but not that much.

  16. Mark

    Ah, ok, Rob, 2 thirds plus one for a treaty.

    You’re quite right to say getting to 60 will be difficult enough.

  17. Nickws

    If they pass legislation that implements agreed-to cuts, they can presumably do that with 60 Senate votes

    Ironically, the Democratic senator who might prove to be most important in getting serious pro-Copenhagen legislation through the US upper chamber is Joe Lieberman, as he is a happy little warmenist.

    If he favours a cap`n’trade programme, and doesn’t want to destroy it as he has destroyed publicly run health insurance legislation, he could be the one to hold conservative Dems and moderate Republicans at bay.

    I suspect he will support an ETS, as it isn’t the kind of redistributive social welfare policy that his respectable neoliberal purist brain is hardwired to fear (sorry Tony Abbott fans, ETSs aren’t really ‘nanny statism’).

  18. Lefty E

    yeah, we just made AGW up to destroy your worldview and mess with your heads, MarkL and Rob. Knowing us, its probably payback for that time you won in 1991 over Communism. Fortunately we’re so clever we can fool just about every world leader, especially since we worked the “trick” of having scientists on our team.

    Except you guys. Oh, and the Saudi Arabian monarch. You three are really tough nuts to crack.

    Stay brave and true, and remember, its all about YOU.

  19. Robert Merkel

    Without wishing to derail the thread too much, Lieberman’s behaviour on healthcare is not particularly neoliberal, either.

    He’s in favour of business welfare for insurance companies, which is handy as his wife is a lobbyist for them.

    It’s also been noted that whenever the activist left of the Democrats (the bit that cost him the Democratic primary in 2008) says that they can live with a compromise, Lieberman suddenly changes tack.

  20. MarkL

    Well, yes, leftye, it actually IS about us. Finding personal amusement in the astonishing gullibility of apparently well-educated people means just that.

    Of course, it’s about my kids, too. We often sit here, take some starry-eyed piece of narcissism or AGW hysterical fabulism from someone here, then go and dig through the facts of the matter.

    It is extremely valuable for adolescents to learn how to detect charlatans and con-men. The rise and subsequent collapse of the AGW hysteria is an excellent example of this. Hell, what else would have gotten my young daughter voluntarily building her own tools for statistical analysis of raw temperature data, and discovering how much it had been falsified by ‘AGW scientists’ so as to hide reality and fit the ‘gimme free money’ program that is the AGW scam? She did Darwin Airport from first principles and did not believe the results – only to be delighted that she had actually validated the astounding falsification of that data set by ‘AGW believers’.

    As for world leaders: I thought you’d be delighted to have a mass murderer and a dictator (Mugabe and Chavez) on your side. Havel’s on mine – and you are known by the intellectual company you keep.

    MarkL
    Canberra

  21. Wombo

    MarkL, you mentioned “hysterical fabulism”?

    I think you’re suffering from enough “hysterical fabulism” of your own – describing the repeatedly popularly elected Hugo Chavez as a dictator – without pointing the bone at others.

  22. Katz

    For two decades, the west has been walking around saying, “Look what we’ve done to our beautiful planet; aren’t we wicked, aren’t we bad, don’t we deserve punishment, we need to expiate our sins”.

    Rob, please provide some historical detail about the persons who began this process and how the obsessions of a small and obscure few became in such a short time the consensus of all major western governments.

    I ask this because I suspect that the quoted passage may be not historical but rather a projection of your own resentments.

    Please prove me wrong so that I may owe you an apology.

  23. Paul Burns

    What Wombo said.

  24. David Irving (no relation)

    MarkL, your children will live long enough to curse you.

  25. MarkL

    David, they are mostly teenagers – they do that now whenever money is refused.

    On AGW, the older ones are doing hard science degrees (geology, physics, engineering, that sort of stuff). Among their set, AGW is cause for open mockery and stinging contempt. They and their cohorts despise greenies.

    They are scientifically literate, you see.

    I laughed at Wombo’s comment, which is very funny. Poor chap apparently thinks electoral fraud, arresting the opposition, shutting down opposing newspapers and ballot-box stuffing makes an election genuine.

    I think Wombo is a socialist….

    Why, it’s almost like he approves of the old Soviet elections! Do you remember the old joke about them?

    Man is voting in Chelyabinsk for the CPSU elections, and he starts to open the envelope containing his ballot. Immediately, the local Commissar screams at him, “what the HELL are you doing?”

    He replies, “seeing who I am voting for.”

    The Commissar shakes his head and says “You fool, don’t you know this is a SECRET ballot?”

    I feel Wombo might not see the joke…..

    MarkL
    canberra

  26. Brett

    On AGW, the older ones are doing hard science degrees (geology, physics, engineering, that sort of stuff). Among their set, AGW is cause for open mockery and stinging contempt. They and their cohorts despise greenies.

    They are scientifically literate, you see.

    Interesting. My cohort is a bit older — they’ve already got their hard science degrees, up to and including PhDs. Physics, geology, meteorology (no engineers, it’s not a science you see). And among my set, AGW is not a cause for open mockery and stinging contempt, that’s reserved for deniers like Plimer. Who I heard being openly mocked for his ignorance on climate change by an even older, scientifically literate cohort at lunch the other day, being a bunch of geologist PhDs, including an assoc. prof.

    But I’m sure your kids know best.

  27. David Irving (no relation)

    Brett, I think MarkL’s children will eventually grow up and say, “Geez, Dad used to talk a lot of shit!”

  28. wbb

    .. and still does.

  29. Jacques de Molay

    Surely Markl is a piss take? He sounds like even more of a flat-earther than Andrew Bolt who couldn’t be described as anything other than far-right. These parasites crave attention.

    If this sub-human extremist actually does exist I’m glad most are ignoring it.

  30. David Irvin (no relation)

    .. and still does.

    Probably not, wbb. He will have died of cognitive dissonance (or possibly shame) by then.

  31. Mercurius

    what else would have gotten my young daughter voluntarily building her own tools for statistical analysis of raw temperature data, and discovering how much it had been falsified by ‘AGW scientists’ so as to hide reality and fit the ‘gimme free money’ program that is the AGW scam? She did Darwin Airport from first principles and did not believe the results – only to be delighted that she had actually validated the astounding falsification of that data set by ‘AGW believers’.

    MarkL, your daughter should address her findings to:
    http://www.nature.com/authors/submit_manuscript.html

    Since you’re obviously a proud dad, I’m sure you’d like the world to know about her remarkable discovery. In fact, since such a prodigy would undoubtedly receive immediate offers of entry to a number of prestigious universities, including Ivy-Leaguers, I suggest you’d be rather derelict to delay the submission of her manuscript.

    Please write back and tell us in which issue her debut article appears, so we can send our congratulations directly. Please also write back and tell us which universities offer her honorary degrees for her prodigious achievement.

  32. David Irvin (no relation)

    It might have just been to please daddy, Mercurius (which kind of leads us back to the most recent Abbott thread … )

    Still, a daughter who can confound the best statisticians around is certainly something to be proud of!

  33. David Irving (no relation)

    Damn! I can’t even spell my own name this morning. It must have been the wine.

  34. John Michelmore

    What is laughable Mark L is that the 2 degree ” consensus” may well be easily achieved once we see the removal of all the data manipulation, the exclusion of the urban heat island effects etc etc.
    Using temperature as a goal is actually quite meaningless as means to measure GHG effects. The simplistic approach that it is cannot work.

  35. wilful

    Ah Mercurius, beat me to it! But yes, MarkL, quite a number of prestigious (and even second-rate) universities and academic journals would be very interested in your daughter’s work.

    Hey you could even self-publish it (Plimer’s trick) if it’s not quite up to scratch.

    or, to be less polite, you’re absolutely full of it. The overwhelming majority of scientists readily accept that anthropogenic climate change is a strong theory based on multiple lines of evidence and strong data, and is the most likely explanation for currently observed warming and sea level rise. The number of climatologists and related disciplines that accept this theory approaches 100%.

    To begin to suggest that this is an ideological plot cooked up a few decades ago says a lot more about you than it does anything else. You’re fantastically delusional.

  36. Jack Strocchi

    Robert Merkel said:

    The vehemence seems to be at least partly red meat for a Republican primary audience, but, still, does this sound to you like somebody just itching to sign up to anything approaching the kind of deal that’s actually required to save the climate?

    And that’s the kind of person Obama has to get to vote for any treaty that comes out of the Copenhagen process.

    I am not surprised to see that the US’s Climate Change policy is hostage to the fortunes of denialists. In NOV 08, way back before Obama was elected I predicted that his program would be stymied by right-wing opposition:

    Obama comes accross to me as a canny centrist populist politician. Pretty much Bill Clinton without the sleaze. Undoubtedly he will swing the US polity to the Left. But he will also remember that the US polity has a fairly large mass of (temporarily submerged) Right-wing ballast. CLinton discovered this to his dismay in 1994.

    The USA is not like AUS, it is far more socially polarised (diverse) in both class and racial terms. Therefore it is hard to get political consensus on any major policy change. And since the higher status are much more Right-wing than in comparable countries it follows that any equilibrium political position will be more skewed to the Right, giving the US a Right-wing gridlock.

    In some ways that is in line with the founding Fathers original constitutional intent.

    There is just not the same degree of political urgency about climate change in the US as there is in AUS and EU. The South is generally just plain agin’ Washington sticking its nose in Southern business. And the North is still plenty cold in winter time and not really feeling the global warming pinch.

    People don’t undertake great changes to safeguard their future unless they are hurting real bad in the here and now.

  37. wbb

    And the North is still plenty cold in winter time and not really feeling the global warming pinch.

    Yeah – and why the hell do they hold COP in Copenhangen in December? That’s bad stage direction. Hold it in Melbourne in February.

  38. Jack Strocchi

    In more general terms I suggest that Obama’s political strategy should be viewed in a two-term perspective. This implies that he is in no great hurry to ram through his program in the first term and will probably settle for incremental goals. He knows that demography is probably on the side of the Left for the short-to-medium term at least. Religious faith is dissipating and racial groups are differentiating which is tending to weaken the Caucasian/Christian/Constitutional bloc of voters.

    In NOV 08 I predicted that Obama in his first term would be tied up with “reconstruction rather than transformation”. He be happy with largely token or limited reforms in his three main policy areas (finance, health and environment).

    Obama will have his hands full with reconstruction rather than transformation. The US polity is in a shambles after a decade of REP iniquity and incompetence. Banks ruined, Army shot to pieces, borders leaking like sieves.

    FOr the first term at least, Obama will be more janitor than Messiah.

    I would be surprised if the Obama govt in its first term committed itself to more than token moves towards grand ideological committments such as universal healthcare and a green revolution.

    He will conserve his political capital for his second term. If he gets reasonable political results in the 2010 Congressional and 2012 Presidential elections he will spend it heavily in 2012-14.

    It is more likely that Obama will try and husband his political resources in the first term to build a robust political consensus for more positive change in the second term. He will have to convince the largely conservative US public to go along with major Leftist changes (such as universal health care and carbon cutting) on their own merits (which are considerable.)

    My general feeling is that Obama over the next four years will make most progress on health care, will be happy with the patch up job on finance and will be struggling to make head-way on carbon constraint.

    I do not the US polity experiencing a revelation on climate change policy. No major interest group is really committed to it. So Obama’s position will be what I characterize as the classic social democratic politician’s dilemma, of “taking the path of least resistance between the populace’s…Left-leaning political opinions and elites…Right-leaning policy interests”.

    With the added problem that there is a considerable Right-wing populist opposition to climate change policy, as proven by the L/NP’s grass-roots rebellion.

    I conclude that the US will not subscribe to an effective climate change policy under Obama, unless the PRC makes it conditional on some larger bi-lateral economic settlement.

    In short, at this point, I trust the PRC’s decision making process more than the USA’s, at least on climate change and financial regulation.

  39. Baraholka

    MarkL @13

    Poor Gore. He’ll make his first billion from the gullible fools who believed in AGW, but not a second. How ever will he afford another private jet?

    Unless he has changed his mind and transportation preferences lately Gore does not own a private jet and has no plans to buy one.

  40. Baraholka
  41. wilful

    Baraholka, you’re operating at a different level of debating to MarkL. Facts aren’t really relevant here…

  42. feral sparrowhawk

    I’m always keen to learn about a brand of scientific literacy which does not include a single Noble Prize winner, so I’d ask MarkL to tell us more, were it not for this:

    “Havel’s on mine – and you are known by the intellectual company you keep.” Actually Vaclav Havel is very much supportive of action on AGW. It’s Vaclav Klaus who doesn’t believe in it. Despite the common first names they’re actually bitter enemies, and Klaus has a pretty nasty record on human rights. That is the company MarkL is keeping, so I think I’ll pass on hearing what his children and there peers think about global warming – particularly since everyone in my physics department is worried about it, even if they dispute ferociously whether nuclear’s the answer.

  43. feral sparrowhawk

    Actually addressing the topic of the thread, my understanding is if Obama can get 60 votes he can do whatever is agreed to under the treaty. Arguably he can do it with 51 under Fran Barlow’s proposals.

    The problem becomes if other countries decide that without a signed treaty America is not locked in and therefore they shouldn’t take part. I think this would be an excuse – if Obama’s got 60 votes for, its not likely a future president could get 60 votes against to back out. However, we’ve seen plenty of evidence some countries need an excuse not a reason to back out of their part.

  44. Wombo

    Judging from his “comment” at 24, MarkL either:

    1. cannot distinguish between that paragon of capitalist virtue (with its death squads, US military bases, overt electoral fraud and disappearances) that is Colombia, and its neighbour Venezuela, in which none of the things he’s referred to – “electoral fraud, arresting the opposition, shutting down opposing newspapers and ballot-box stuffing” – have taken place under Chavez’s watch (unlike his exemplary predecessors). (Or is Jimmy Carter simply another Chavez stooge?). Or…

    2. MarkL is clearly off his medication and as delusional as always.

    MarkL – “I think Wombo is a socialist”.

    Genius. Pure genius. What was it that gave it away? The advocating of socialist democracy? Or the blog name containing the word “communist”? (Not that any of this means I support the Soviet Union, or its “electoral” practices – the very opposite in fact). Maybe it was hidden in code in the reference to a quadruped marsupial. Who knows?

    Nevertheless, I hereby submit more evidence of the global socialist chavista conspiracy that is out to steal MarkL’s precious bodily fluids: http://links.org.au/node/1418

  45. Wombo

    Sorry, that should have been “comment at 25″, not 24. The eggnog will have its communistic way, no matter how hard I fight it…