Tag Archives: Diplomacia climática

The legacy of Climategate: 5 years later (Climate Etc.)

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by Judith Curry

UPDATE: new email from student that motivated “An open letter . .”

Every year at Thanksgiving, I am reminded of Climategate.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009, in the midst of extensive email discussions with Andy Revkin and Joe Romm (!), I penned my essay An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research.  Which followed my essay (published at Climate Audit) On the credibility of climate research. In February 2010, I wrote an article Towards rebuilding trust.  The main themes of my writings were concerns about:

  • lack of transparency – need to make data and documentation publicly available
  • tribalism among scientists and circling the wagons strategy: attacking skeptics with ad hominem attacks, appeal to motive attacks, isolating skeptics through lack of access to data, manipulation of the peer review process to reject skeptic papers
  • the need for improved analysis and communication of uncertainty

Seems like motherhood and apple pie issues?  Well maybe from the perspective of 2014.  But in 2009/2010, this was heresy. One of the story lines from Climategate became me, and my engagement with skeptics:

So, what are we to make of all this 5 years later?  The ‘establishment’ has maintained that Climategate was overhyped and irrelevant, and that the various enquiries have exonerated the scientists and the science.  On the other hand, skeptics find Climategate to have been highly significant (found the inquiries to be bogus), and still discuss it.

There have been several interesting scholarly articles written on Climategate, including:

5 years later – meta issues

So, what has changed in the past 5 years and can any of it be attributed to Climategate?

Transparency has improved substantially.  Journals and funding agencies now expect data to be made publicly available, along with metadata.  The code for most climate models is now publicly available.  As far as I know, there are no outstanding FOIA requests for data (other than possibly some of Mann’s HS data and documentation).  Climategate shed a public light on the lack of transparency in climate science, which was deemed intolerable by pretty much everyone (except for some people who ‘owned’ climate data sets).

Understanding, documenting and communicating uncertainty has continued to grow in importance, and is the focus of much more scholarly attention.  With regards to the IPCC, I feel that WG2 in AR5 did a substantially better job with uncertainty and confidence levels (I was not impressed with what WG1 did).

Improved understanding of the deep uncertainty surrounding climate change has stimulated more sophisticated decision making analyses, beyond the simple linear model of predict then act.

The IAC review of the IPCC (instigated by Climategate) highlighted a number of problems with the IPCC.  The IPCC has made a token response to some of them, A number of serious scholarly critiques of the IPCC have been made (for a summary see Grundman article), with suggestions for reform. The problems with the IPCC remain endemic and serious, in my opinion (Kill the IPCC).

The IPCC AR5 arguably had a much smaller public impact than did the AR4.  Climategate has probably contributed to some people not paying attention to the AR5.  However, I think it was the failure of the AR5 to deal with the surface temperature hiatus in a significant way that resulted in this lessening impact.

Climategate illuminated a serious lack of leadership from the scientific and environmental communities.  Has this improved any?  Well IMO there remains a serious lack of leadership from the establishment communities (e.g. institutions). I regard the death of Steve Schneider perhaps to be significant in this regard.  On the plus side, in this leadership vacuum there has been a growing number of diverse voices entering into the public discussion on climate change.

The sociology of climate science received a substantial impetus from Climategate.   There have been a number of insightful analyses, which I’ve highlighted at CE, related to the politicization of science, and the social psychology of consensus building and groupthink.  There have also been a number of dubious to nonsensical studies on deniers, etc.

Hulme’s article remarks that Climategate has triggered a new interest in studying and understanding the various manifestations of climate change skepticism. The populist notion that all climate sceptics are either in the pay of oil barons or are right-wing ideologues, as is suggested for example by studies such as Oreskes and Conway (2011), cannot be sustained.

There has been a huge growth in attention to climate science communication, within academic circles and NGO/advocacy groups.  Climategate was a turning point: pronouncements from the IPCC were no longer sufficient.  Apparently as a result of the IPCC pronouncements no longer being sufficient, we’ve also seen  a substantial increase in the number of scientists acting as advocates for mitigation policies.

Institutionally, Climategate triggered the formation of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which has become quite influential in UK climate policy and to some extent internationally.

Climategate also motivated the formation of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group.  The significance of this group includes being private sector, transparency in data and methods, extensive website and prepublication press releases, and publication of their papers in a brand new online journal.

As a result of Climategate, there is little tolerance for the editorial gatekeeping ways of trying to keep skeptical papers from being published.   I recall discussion in Climategate emails about a paper by Pat Michaels that found a climate sensitivity of 1.6C, that the Climategaters were trying to keep from being published.  Hmmm . . . 1.6C sensitivity . . .  seems pretty mainstream these days.  The BEST publications in new online journals  illustrate the waning stranglehold of the traditional high impact journal publications. We are even seeing skeptical papers being published in mainstream high impact journals (this is probably mostly attributable to the hiatus in warming).

The skeptical climate blogosphere has thrived and expanded, largely triggered by Climategate (Climate Etc. was triggered largely by Climategate).  Whereas the ‘warm’ blogosphere for the most part has waned (notably RealClimate), with the exception of Skeptical Science.  It seems that most of the ‘action’ on the warm side has switched to twitter, whereas skeptics prefer the blogosphere.

The growth of the technical skeptical blogosphere (pioneered by Steve McIntyre) has challenged traditional notions of expertise, i.e. credentials and sanctity of journal publications, through Climate Audit’s blogospheric deconstruction of many publications, particularly related to paleo proxies.  While the technical skeptical blogosphere seems to have provided the motive for the Climategate ‘hack’, the technical skeptical blogosphere has thrived, and many of these sites are followed by the media and decision makers of various stripes.

And finally, what about climate policy and politics?  Following the 2007 publication of the AR4 and through summer 2009, it seemed that climate (CO2 mitigation) policy was on an unstoppable juggernaut and that the COP in Copenhagen (Dec 2009) and U.S. carbon cap and trade legislation was on track.  By summer 2010, all of that had fallen apart.  Regarding the UN negotiations, most analysts have stated that Climategate played little role; it was all about raw politics and economics.  But I suspect that as a result of Climategate, climate science/scientists had lost the moral high ground, allowing raw politics and economics to take over.  But in the U.S., it seems that Climategate had a more palpable impact on climate legislation.  Senator James Inhofe stated that Climategate was the death knell of carbon cap and trade legislation.  More significantly, I saw somewhere that John Kerry said essentially the same thing (tho I can’t find the link).

Engaging with skeptics

5 years ago, my engagement with skeptics was sufficiently unusual and surprising to be picked up by the mainstream media.  Particularly in the UK, Netherlands and Germany, post-Climategate there are welcome efforts by climate scientists to engage with skeptics (academic, blogosphere, policy foundations) and skeptics are taken seriously in the media.  The Dutch effort ClimateDialogue is particularly notable in this regard.

In the U.S. (and Australia and Canada), the situation remains much more polarized.  A recent exchange illustrates the differences in the UK versus the US.  You may recall that several months ago, Nic Lewis hosted a dinner that included some skeptics (incl. Anthony Watts) as well as some climate scientists (including Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards).  Well Tim Ball recently wrote an article at WUWT People starting to ask about motive for massive IPCC deception, with a lengthy quote from Mein Kampf,   Building on their engagement with Watts, Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts responded over at WUWT with a post A big (goose) step backwards, where they criticize Ball’s post for the Mein Kampf quote and for snide remarks about the IPCC, without actually engaging with the real content of the post.  Anthony responds in a conciliatory way, stating that Ball’s article was posted at a time when he was unavailable to exercise any editorial control.

Seems like a rather small deal, no?  Well the 1100 comments at WUWT were absolutely vitriolic against Betts and Edwards.  On twitter, the vitriolic comments were coming from the warm side, i.e. how stupid they were to post at WUWT.  There is some relatively sane discussion of this over at ATTP, including comments from Betts and Edwards.   The most interesting comment IMO is from Eli Rabett:

They had invested effort and taken stick for their let’s break bread position without it ever being clear what the other side was offering them for making the effort. Having done the early Judy trick they found themselves at a fork in the road, and either had to cash in some of their winnings, fold, or go the way of Curry.

They chose a straddle, trying to play nice with Watts while condemning Ball. At the same time Tamsin is tweeting like crazy to defend the other flank. This may have slightly moved their Overton window, or not.

Well, it seems Betts and Edwards are trying to promote civility, something that the UK does pretty well.  Presumably they thought that posting at WUWT would be like posting at BishopHill.  NOT.  Climate change and social media is mostly blood sport over in the US (and Australia and Canada), where the situation remains very polarized and polarizing.

Regarding scientists that are skeptical of AGW or critical of the IPCC, they seem to be better off post-Climategate (in terms of getting journal articles published and interviews from mainstream media) and a larger population of such scientists have emerged.  This can partly be attributed to Climategate, but again I think the hiatus is a bigger factor.  Life for a scientist that is skeptical of ‘consensus’ climate science or critical of the IPCC is definitely easier post-Climategate.

Mann vs et al.

Climategate lives on in the lawsuits than Michael Mann has filed against CEI, National Review Online, Rand Simberg, and Mark Steyn.  For background, see these previous posts:

The lawsuit is related to the ‘fraudulent hockey stick’ that was illuminated by the Climategate emails.  Climategate considerably broadened public awareness of the hockey stick and the associated controversies, making it an icon for concerns about climate science and scientists.   This post is getting too long, so I don’t want to get into this subject any more here, but with these lawsuits there is no denying that the impacts of Climategate are still playing out.

Personal impact

My own saga, after the three essays I wrote immediately following Climategate (referenced above), was set in place with these three essays:

Particularly with the last two essays, I established myself as an ‘outsider’ to the climate ‘establishment’ and incurred the wrath of many of climate scientists (the feedback loop article is particularly hard hitting, read it if you missed it the first time).  The Scientific American article played no small role in my ‘radicalization’ at this time; it set me on a path where I no longer judged anything that I did in context of my academic peers in the climate science community.

Intellectually, I embarked on my ‘uncertainty odyssey’ following the March 2010 Royal Society Workshop on Scientific Uncertainty, which stimulated the publication of these two papers in 2011 that seeded the uncertainty series in the early days of Climate Etc:

This uncertainty odyssey spilled over into decision making under uncertainty, a topic I had been exploring since 2004 with the preparation of a major NSF STC proposal Environmental Predictions and Decisions, which made the semi-finals but was not funded.  I explored the issue of decision making under deep uncertainty in numerous blog posts, plus these papers published in 2012:

By the time 2011 rolled around, my ostracization by the climate establishment was pretty complete, so I redefined  (broadened) my academic peer group to include physicists, social scientists and philosophers (not to mention the extended peer community developed on my blog).  I found this much more stimulating and interesting than the circled wagons of the climate community.

To assess the personal impact of Climategate, I’m trying to figure out exactly where my head was at prior to Climategate in 2009. Wherever; I’m not sure it matters anymore.  In 2014, I no longer feel the major ostracism by my peers in the climate establishment; after all, many of the issues I’ve been raising that seemed so controversial have now become mainstream.  And the hiatus has helped open some minds.

The net effect of all this is that my ‘academic career advancement’ in terms of professional recognition, climbing the administrative ladder, etc. has been pretty much halted.  I’ve exchanged academic advancement that now seems to be of dubious advantage to me for a much more interesting and influential existence that that feels right in terms of my personal and scientific integrity.

Bottom line:  Climategate was career changing for me; I’ll let history decide if this was for better or worse (if history even cares).


In conclusion, I will quote this statement from Reiner Grundman:

We need much more reflection on this case which should not be closed off because of political expediency. The debate has only just begun.

UPDATE:  I just received this email from the student whose email, following my ClimateAudit essay, motivated my post “An open letter . . .”

Hi Judy,

I hope all is well. It is amazing that climategate was five years ago. I just successfully defended my dissertation in September and have started the xxxx Fellowship. It is going to be an exciting year learning about policy making. 🙂

I just wanted to send you a short note regarding your latest post – The legacy of climategate: 5 years later.

I still stand by my statements in the email all those years ago and although, months and years may turn into decades, you continue to inspire me.

History will decide. And it will care and what has happend was for the better.

All the best,

U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks (N.Y.Times)


President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China, with their delegations, met inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday.CreditMandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIJING — China and the United States made common cause on Wednesday against the threat of climate change, staking out an ambitious joint plan to curb carbon emissions as a way to spur nations around the world to make their own cuts in greenhouse gases.

The landmark agreement, jointly announced here by President Obama and President Xi Jinping, includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the United States and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.

Administration officials said the agreement, which was worked out quietly between the United States and China over nine months and included a letter from Mr. Obama to Mr. Xi proposing a joint approach, could galvanize efforts to negotiate a new global climate agreement by 2015.

It was the signature achievement of an unexpectedly productive two days of meetings between the leaders. Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi also agreed to a military accord designed to avert clashes between Chinese and American planes and warships in the tense waters off the Chinese coast, as well as an understanding to cut tariffs for technology products.

A climate deal between China and the United States, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 carbon polluters, is viewed as essential to concluding a new global accord. Unless Beijing and Washington can resolve their differences, climate experts say, few other countries will agree to mandatory cuts in emissions, and any meaningful worldwide pact will be likely to founder.

“The United States and China have often been seen as antagonists,” said a senior official, speaking in advance of Mr. Obama’s remarks. “We hope that this announcement can usher in a new day in which China and the U.S. can act much more as partners.”

As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.

China’s pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, if not sooner, is even more remarkable. To reach that goal, Mr. Xi pledged that so-called clean energy sources, like solar power and windmills, would account for 20 percent of China’s total energy production by 2030.

Administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama could face opposition to his plans from a Republican-controlled Congress. While the agreement with China needs no congressional ratification, lawmakers could try to roll back Mr. Obama’s initiatives, undermining the United States’ ability to meet the new reduction targets.

Still, Mr. Obama’s visit, which came days after a setback in the midterm elections, allowed him to reclaim some of the momentum he lost at home. As the campaign was turning against the Democrats last month, Mr. Obama quietly dispatched John Podesta, a senior adviser who oversees climate policy, to Beijing to try to finalize a deal.

For all the talk of collaboration, the United States and China also displayed why they are still fierce rivals for global economic primacy, promoting competing free-trade blocs for the Asian region even as they reached climate and security deals.

The maneuvering came during a conference of Pacific Rim economies held in Beijing that has showcased China’s growing dominance in Asia, but also the determination of the United States, riding a resurgent economy, to reclaim its historical role as a Pacific power.

Adding to the historic nature of the visit, Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi were scheduled to give a joint news conference on Wednesday that will include questions from reporters — a rare concession by the Chinese leader to a visiting American president.

On Tuesday evening, Mr. Xi invited Mr. Obama to dinner at his official residence, telling his guest he hoped they had laid the foundation for a collaborative relationship — or, as he more metaphorically put it, “A pool begins with many drops of water.”

Greeting Mr. Obama at the gate of the walled leadership compound next to the Forbidden City, Mr. Xi squired him across a brightly lighted stone bridge and into the residence. Mr. Obama told the Chinese president that he wanted to take the relationship “to a new level.”

“When the U.S. and China are able to work together effectively,” he added, “the whole world benefits.”

But as the world witnessed this week, it is more complicated than that. Mr. Xi won approval Tuesday from the 21 countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to study the creation of a China-led free-trade zone that would be an alternative to Mr. Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trading bloc that excludes China.

On Monday, Mr. Obama met with members of that group here and claimed progress in negotiating the partnership, a centerpiece of his strategic shift to Asia.

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership are much further along than those for the nascent Chinese plan, known as the Free Trade Area of Asia Pacific, and some analysts said the approval by the Pacific Rim nations of a two-year study was mainly a gesture to the Chinese hosts to give them something to announce at the meeting.

For all the jockeying, the biggest trade headline was a breakthrough in negotiations with China to eliminate tariffs on information technology products, from video-game consoles and computer software to medical equipment and semiconductors.

The understanding, American officials said, opens the door to expanding a World Trade Organization agreement on these products, assuming other countries can be persuaded to accept the same terms. With China on board, officials predicted a broader deal would be reached swiftly.

“We’re going to take what’s been achieved here in Beijing back to Geneva to work with our W.T.O. partners,” said Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative. “While we don’t take anything for granted, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to work quickly” to conclude an expansion of the agreement, known as the Information Technology Agreement.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Xi formally welcomed Mr. Obama at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People; they later toasted each other at a state banquet.

Administration officials said Mr. Obama had pressed Mr. Xi to resume a United States-China working group on cybersecurity issues, which abruptly stopped its discussions after the United States charged several Chinese military officers with hacking.

“We did see a chill in the cyber dialogue,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser. “We do believe it’s better if there’s a mechanism for dialogue.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama credited APEC with originating the work on reducing tariffs, saying, “The United States and China have reached an understanding that we hope will contribute to a rapid conclusion of the broader negotiations in Geneva.”

Talks with China over expanding the 1997 accord on information technology broke down last year over the scope of the products covered by the agreement. But after intensive negotiations leading up to Mr. Obama’s visit, Mr. Froman said, the Americans and the Chinese agreed Monday evening to eliminate more than 200 categories of tariffs.

While the United States still exports many high-technology goods, China is the world’s dominant exporter of electronics and has much to gain from an elimination of tariffs. Taiwan, South Korea and Japan increasingly find themselves supplying China’s huge electronics industry, deepening their dependence on decisions made in Beijing.

The administration estimated that expanding the Information Technology Agreement would create up to 60,000 jobs in the United States by eliminating tariffs on goods that generate $1 trillion in sales a year. About $100 billion of those products are American-made. The administration faces a longer path on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including whether Mr. Obama will obtain fast-track trade authority from Congress. That could make it easier for the United States to extract concessions from other countries, since they would have more confidence that the treaty would be ratified by Congress.

While Mr. Froman conceded that sticking points remained, he said, “It’s become clearer and clearer what the landing zones are.” He said that Mr. Obama would seek fast-track authority, but that the best way for him to win congressional passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be to negotiate the best deal.

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming (New York Times)

Machines digging for brown coal in front of a power plant near Grevenbroich, Germany, in April.CreditMartin Meissner/Associated Press

COPENHAGEN — The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report.

Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the report found.

In the starkest language it has ever used, the expert panel made clear how far society remains from having any serious policy to limit global warming.

Doing so would require leaving the vast majority of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels in the ground or, alternatively, developing methods to capture and bury the emissions resulting from their use, the group said.

If governments are to meet their own stated goal of limiting the warming of the planet to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level, they must restrict emissions from additional fossil-fuel burning to about 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, the panel said. At current growth rates, that budget is likely to be exhausted in something like 30 years, possibly less.

Yet energy companies have booked coal and petroleum reserves equal to several times that amount, and they are spending some $600 billion a year to find more. Utilities and oil companies continue to build coal-fired power plants and refineries, and governments are spending another $600 billion or so directly subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels.

By contrast, the report found, less than $400 billion a year is being spent around the world to reduce emissions or otherwise cope with climate change. That is a small fraction of the revenue spent on fossil fuels — it is less, for example, than the revenue of a single American oil company, ExxonMobil.

The new report comes just a month before international delegates convene in Lima, Peru, to devise a new global agreement to limit emissions, and it makes clear the urgency of their task.

Appearing Sunday morning at a news conference in Copenhagen to unveil the report, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, appealed for strong action in Lima.

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message,” Mr. Ban said. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

Yet there has been no sign that national leaders are willing to discuss allocating the trillion-ton emissions budget among countries, an approach that would confront the problem head-on, but also raise deep questions of fairness. To the contrary, they are moving toward a relatively weak agreement that would essentially let each country decide for itself how much effort to put into limiting global warming, and even that document would not take effect until 2020.

“If they choose not to talk about the carbon budget, they’re choosing not to address the problem of climate change,” said Myles R. Allen, a climate scientist at Oxford University in Britain who helped write the new report. “They might as well not bother to turn up for these meetings.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body appointed by the world’s governments to advise them on the causes and effects of global warming, and potential solutions. The group, along with Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to call attention to the climate crisis.

The new report is a 175-page synopsis of a much longer series of reports that the panel has issued over the past year. It is the final step in a five-year effort by the body to analyze a vast archive of published climate research.

It is the fifth such report from the group since 1990, each finding greater certainty that the climate is warming and that human activities are the primary cause.

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, and in global mean sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” the report said.

A core finding of the new report is that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but is being felt all over the world. “It’s here and now,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman of the panel, said in an interview. “It’s not something in the future.”

The group cited mass die-offs of forests, such as those killed by heat-loving beetles in the American West; the melting of land ice virtually everywhere in the world; an accelerating rise of the seas that is leading to increased coastal flooding; and heat waves that have devastated crops and killed tens of thousands of people.

The report contained the group’s most explicit warning yet about the food supply, saying that climate change had already become a small drag on overall global production, and could become a far larger one if emissions continued unchecked.

A related finding is that climate change poses serious risks to basic human progress, in areas such as alleviating poverty. Under the worst-case scenarios, factors like high food prices and intensified weather disasters would most likely leave poor people worse off. In fact, the report said, that has already happened to a degree.

In Washington, the Obama administration welcomed the report, with the president’s science adviser, John P. Holdren, calling it “yet another wake-up call to the global community that we must act together swiftly and aggressively in order to stem climate change and avoid its worst impacts.”

The administration is pushing for new limits on emissions from American power plants, but faces stiff resistance in Congress and some states.

Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University and a principal author of the new report, said that a continuation of the political paralysis on emissions would leave society depending largely on luck.

If the level of greenhouse gases were to continue rising at a rapid pace over the coming decades, severe effects would be avoided only if the climate turned out to be far less sensitive to those gases than most scientists think likely, he said.

“We’ve seen many governments delay and delay and delay on implementing comprehensive emissions cuts,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “So the need for a lot of luck looms larger and larger. Personally, I think it’s a slim reed to lean on for the fate of the planet.”

A tática da “embromação climática” (Instituto Socioambiental)

21/10/2014 – 11h14

por Márcio Santilli, do ISA*

mudancasclimaticas1 A tática da “embromação climática”Nos meios diplomáticos, comenta-se que o Itamaraty teria informado a conferência da ONU sobre mudanças climáticas que o Brasil adiará a entrega de sua proposta formal sobre os compromissos que o país dispõe-se a assumir de redução das emissões de gases de efeito estufa, responsáveis pelo aquecimento global. Esse posicionamento inicial dos países definirá o rumo das negociações climáticas internacionais.

O Itamaraty deve alegar que os 90 dias entre a posse do novo governo, em janeiro, e data estabelecida para esse posicionamento (31/3/2015) seriam insuficientes para tomar pé das pendências relativas às negociações. Pode ser.

Mas também pode não ser, pois um dos postulantes é a própria presidente Dilma, que já deveria estar informada das negociações, enquanto que o programa de Aécio Neves apresenta diretrizes gerais sobre o tema, embora não traga detalhes para um posicionamento formal, o que não parece difícil de fazer em 90 dias. Qualquer presidente terá de se posicionar, desde o início do mandato, sobre muitas outras pendências urgentes.

Até parece razoável a suposta preocupação do Itamaraty em assegurar um prazo maior para a decisão. Na linguagem das negociações, no entanto, os retardatários sacrificam seu protagonismo político, deixando de influenciar os demais países e ficando a reboque daqueles que irão definir os marcos de um futuro acordo.

É bom lembrar que, há seis anos, na frustrante reunião da ONU em Copenhague, o presidente Lula anunciou uma meta brasileira de redução de emissões – entre 36,1% e 38,9% – baseada sobretudo na redução das taxas do desmatamento na Amazônia. Fomos o primeiro país a assumir esse compromisso, ainda que em caráter voluntário, entre os que não estavam obrigados a reduzir suas emissões pelo Protocolo de Quioto.

A proposta atendeu a pressões da sociedade civil e significou um empurrão presidencial sobre o posicionamento do Itamaraty, sempre resistente a comprometimentos do gênero. Por outro lado, influenciou outros governos a também avançar nas suas posições, ampliando as chances de um acordo significativo, que, infelizmente, não aconteceu.

marcio pequeno A tática da “embromação climática”

Agora que vários fatores ampliam as chances de um acordo até a conferência a ser realizada em Paris, em dezembro de 2015, o Brasil adota a tática do avestruz, ficando a reboque da dinâmica que será definida por países como a China e os EUA. Não se trata de dispor, ou não, de um bom motivo para justificar a protelação de sua posição, mas deveria tratar-se de dispor de uma estratégia – de país, não só de governo – para aproveitar os momentos mais favoráveis e influenciar positivamente negociações que serão decisivas para a sociedade brasileira e as futuras gerações.

Como não é crível que o Itamaraty desconheça a relevância dos diversos momentos das negociações, também se pode creditar a sua protelação ao crescimento das emissões brasileiras e os indícios da retomada das taxas do desmatamento da Amazônia. Diplomacia defensiva. Mas para nos defender de quem? De países que se apresentem com maior disposição para salvar o mundo dos piores desdobramentos das mudanças no clima? Não seriam elas a maior ameaça para nossa economia e a qualidade de vida do nosso povo?

Eis aí uma boa questão para o debate das eleições presidenciais: a que compromissos estarão dispostos, Aécio e Dilma? Apressar o passo para não perder o bonde? Ou embarcar na tática “embromatória”? Que estratégias adotariam para reverter a tendência de aumento das emissões brasileiras, frente a um acordo internacional cujo objetivo central será diminuir as emissões globais?

* Márcio Santilli é sócio fundador do ISA.

** Publicado originalmente na Folha.com e retirado do site Instituto Socioambiental.

(Instituto Socioambiental)

“Sonâmbulos” decidem a sorte de conferência climática em Bonn (IPS)

24/10/2014 – 10h52

por Stephen Leahy, da IPS

huracan “Sonâmbulos” decidem a sorte de conferência climática em Bonn

Bonn, Alemanha, 24/10/2014 – As 410 mil pessoas que saíram às ruas para reclamar medidas durante a Cúpula do Clima da ONU se indignariam diante dos atrasos e das posturas políticas de sempre que se observa em uma rodada fundamental das negociações para acordar um tratado climático mundial, em curso nesta cidade alemã.

As declarações dos países presentes na conferência, que começou no dia 20 e terminará no dia 25, no Centro Mundial de Congressos de Bonn, ignoraram os pedidos dos organizadores para serem breves em suas declarações de abertura para ser possível trabalhar na última semana de conversações antes da vigésima Conferência das Partes (COP 20) da Convenção Marco das Nações Unidas sobre a Mudança Climática que acontecerá em Lima, no Peru, entre 1º e 12 de dezembro.

A COP 20 acordará um projeto de tratado climático destinado a evitar o catastrófico superaquecimento do planeta. Um ano mais tarde, os governantes de quase 200 Estados deverão assinar em Paris um novo convênio sobre o clima. Se o resultado das negociações não for contundente e não se conseguir garantir o rápido abandono do uso de combustíveis fósseis, centenas de milhões de pessoas sofrerão e países inteiros entrarão em colapso.

O projeto atual do tratado é muito fraco e os delegados pecam pelo “sonambulismo” em Bonn, enquanto “os dados científicos sobre o clima se agravam”, afirmou aos negociadores presentes, Hilary Chiew, da Rede do Terceiro Mundo.

Os delegados estão habituados a ouvir uma ou duas “intervenções” oficiais por parte da audiência, que tem um limite de tempo restrito e frequentemente não superam os 90 segundos. Esses discursos, apesar da paixão e eloquência de muitos, raramente comovem os delegados que, em sua maioria, se limita a seguir as instruções dadas por seus governos. “Apegar-se às posturas não é negociar”, recordou o copresidente da conferência, Kishan Kumarsingh, de Trinidad e Tobago.

Em Bonn há poucos membros da sociedade civil que podem presenciar quantos países se apegaram às suas posições de curto prazo e defensoras de seus próprios interesses, em lugar de enfrentar o maior desafio que sofre a humanidade. Depois de 20 anos, essas negociações se transformaram “no mesmo de sempre” e parece que continuarão assim por mais 20 anos, segundo os ativistas. “Só um movimento social mundial obrigará as nações a agirem”, afirmou Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, diretor do Instituto de Potsdam para a Pesquisa do Impacto Climático, da Alemanha.

Schellnhuber, reconhecido especialista e ex-assessor científico do governo alemão, não se encontra em Bonn, mas participou da Cúpula do Clima da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU) em setembro, em Nova York, Estados Unidos, junto com os governantes de 120 países. Novamente, o resultado desse encontro ficou em puros discursos sem compromissos de ação, afirmou à IPS.

Para Schellnhuber, a Cúpula da ONU foi um fracasso, ao contrário da “impressionante” e “inspiradora” Marcha do Povo pelo Clima que a acompanhou e da qual participaram cerca de 410 mil pessoas nas ruas de Manhattan. A única coisa que os países acordaram até agora é a meta de elevação máxima de dois graus na temperatura média mundial e, embora esse aumento “não tenha antecedentes na história humana”, é muito melhor do que três ou mais graus, acrescentou.

Alcançar essa meta ainda é possível, segundo o informe Enfrentar o Desafio da Mudança Climática, redigido pelos principais especialistas em clima e energia e que descreve várias medidas, entre elas o aumento da eficiência energética em todos os setores. A refração dos prédios, por exemplo, pode reduzir o consumo de energia entre 70% e 90%. Também é necessário um preço do carbono que reflita o enorme custo sanitário e ambiental que implica a queima dos combustíveis fósseis, bem como a expansão da energia solar e eólica e o fechamento de todas as centrais movidas a carvão, diz o estudo.

O mais importante é que os governos devem assumir o clima como uma prioridade. Alemanha e Dinamarca estão bem encaminhadas para uma economia baixa em carbono e se beneficiam de menor contaminação e da criação de um novo setor econômico, segundo os especialistas.

Para que todos os governos incorporem o clima como sua prioridade será preciso um movimento social mundial com dezenas de milhões de pessoas. Uma vez que o setor empresarial se dê conta de que a transição para um mundo baixo em carbono está em marcha, pressionará os governos para que apliquem as políticas necessárias. “As soluções para a mudança climática são a maior oportunidade de negócios na história”, enfatizou Schellnhuber. Envolverde/IPS


5 razões para assistir à Cúpula do Clima de Nova York (Portal do Meio Ambiente)



por Jennifer Morgan*

No próximo dia 23 de setembro, chefes de estado e líderes do sistema financeiro, de empresas e da sociedade civil se reunirão em Nova York na Cúpula do Clima das Nações Unidas de 2014. A reunião será um marco importante no caminho de enfrentamento da crise climática. O Secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-moon, convocou a Cúpula de alto nível para reengajar os líderes mundiais e estimular a ação pelo clima nos níveis nacionais e internacional.

Dezenas de milhares de cidadãos interessados estão aproveitando a oportunidade para organizar a maior marcha pelo clima da história. Durante a semana da Cúpula centenas de organizações organizarão palestras, exibições de cinema documental e outros encontros para apresentar evidências esmagadoras das consequências das alterações climáticas e soluções custo-efetivas para resolver o problema. Novos estudos científicos como a Avaliação Nacional do Clima dos EUA e os últimos relatórios do IPCC iluminaram os riscos de poluição da atmosfera pelo carbono, enquanto novas análises econômicas, incluindo próximo relatório Nova Economia do Clima, do World Resources Institute, devem dissipar a noção de que a ação pelo clima desacelerará o crescimento econômico.

No entanto, esta não é a primeira vez que os governos são convocados para combater as mudanças climáticas. Então, por que vale a pena assistir a esta Cúpula? Aqui estão os porquês:

1) É a primeira vez em cinco anos na qual chefes de estado se reunirão para enfrentar a mudança climática

Esta será a primeira vez em cinco anos – desde as negociações de Copenhague de 2009 – que tantos líderes mundiais se reunirão para discutir a mudança climática. O Secretário-Geral Ban Ki-moon chamou a Cúpula para dar o pontapé inicial de um período de 15 meses de intenso engajamento e negociação pelo clima como tentativa de obter um acordo global em dezembro de 2015. Criar uma boa dinâmica em Nova York será extremamente importante para alcançar esse objetivo.

2) Obama e Xi estarão lá**

Tanto o presidente dos EUA, Barack Obama quanto o presidente chinês, Xi Jinping, líderes dos dois países que mais emitem gases de efeito estufa, participarão da cúpula. Se medidas substantivas de redução das emissões devem ser implantadas, tanto os EUA quanto a China deverão se envolver completamente. É encorajador que os dois países já estejam colaborando em projetos de energia limpa nos níveis de pesquisa, de governo e empresarial por meio de iniciativas como os Centro de Pesquisa de Energia Limpa EUA-China (CERC). Em julho os dois países revelaram oito novos acordos de parceria climática. A presença desses chefes de estado na Cúpula oferece uma oportunidade de continuidade da cooperação.

3) Novas vozes que clamam por maior ação

A maioria dos atuais líderes ainda não estava no poder em 2009, quando da Cúpula de Copenhague. Muitos destes falam abertamente sobre a ameaça que a mudança climática representa para seus países, bem como sobre as oportunidades econômicas que se abrem com a perspectiva de economia de baixo carbono. Estas novas vozes vêm de países de renda média como Chile, Colômbia, Costa Rica e Indonésia onde os governos estão implantando políticas climáticas ambiciosas ou manifestam vontade de fazê-lo. Suas novas visões devem moldar as discussões da cúpula de alto nível.

Também se espera que os países mais pobres apresentem seus desafios e suas contribuições para a solução do problema.

4) Novos compromissos de países, cidades e do setor privado

A Cúpula de um dia será um fórum para a troca de iniciativas entre os países. Durante a manhã acontecerão três sessões simultâneas nas quais os países devem anunciar suas medidas de combate às mudanças climáticas. Os anúncios provavelmente variarão de compromissos de capitalização do Fundo Verde para o Clima, como a contribuição de US$ 1 bilhão feita recentemente pela Alemanha como ajuda aos demais países para sua preparação para os impactos do clima e busca de caminhos de baixo carbono, até ações internas como de alteração de matrizes energéticas desde o carvão às energias renováveis de grande escala.

Os líderes mundiais também podem usar a reunião para se comprometerem a apresentar um rascunho de seus planos climáticos pós-2020 até o mês de março de 2015 (processo conhecido no jargão das negociações como “contribuições intencionais nacionais determinadas” ou INDCs na sigla em inglês) – de modo a incentivar seus colegas a também fazê-lo. O respeito a esse prazo dará aos ‘stakeholders’ nacionais e internacionais a oportunidade de responder e sugerir melhorias antes dos países apresentarem suas propostas definitivas nove meses depois, em Paris.

Finalmente, o encontro oferece uma plataforma para a apresentação de novas e significativas ideias pelos líderes do setor privado e das cidades. Prepare-se para conhecer novos esforços privados e/ou públicos em matéria de energia, cidades de baixo carbono, restauração florestal, transporte, agricultura, finanças e resiliência. Estas novas iniciativas complementarão as ações nacionais envolvendo todos os níveis da sociedade no esforço global para o enfrentamento do problema.

5) A transição global para a energia limpa está remodelando a paisagem da política

A rápida adoção de energias renováveis nos últimos anos mudou o que era considerado viável há apenas cinco anos. Os custos de produção da energia solar caíram 80% e a energia eólica nunca foi tão acessível. Em outubro passado, a Dinamarca produziu mais energia a partir dos ventos do que o total consumido pelo país. A China estabeleceu metas agressivas para energias renováveis para os anos de 2015, 2017 e 2020. Mais e mais empresas elétricas norte americanas estão descobrindo que o vento e o Sol oferecem a forma mais barata para adicionar capacidade de geração adicional. E cerca de 100 países em desenvolvimento têm agora estabelecidas políticas para energia renováveis. O panorama energético em mudança e os fortes benefícios sociais e econômicos da transição para a energia limpa dão argumentos fortes aos líderes dos países e das empresas pela liderança climática.

Uma chance para que os líderes mundiais se comprometam pela ação climática

A Cúpula será um prenúncio para o compromisso dos chefes de estado quanto ao enfrentamento da crise climática no período que leva a Paris e além. Fortes e claros compromissos elevariam a mudança climática na agenda global e preparariam o terreno para o progresso nacional e internacional.

Durante uma reunião de alto nível em Abu Dhabi em maio deste ano, Ban Ki-moon exortou os participantes a “capacitar e motivar os seus líderes nacionais para que tragam anúncios ousados à Cúpula do Clima de setembro… A corrida começou. É hora de liderar”. Em poucas semanas veremos se os líderes estão à altura do desafio.

* Artigo publicado em no dia 5 de setembro passado em http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/09/5-reasons-watch-nyc-climate-summit e traduzido por Délcio Rodrigues.

**Nota do editor: Depois da publicação deste post soubemos que o presidente chinês Xi Jinping não deve participar da Cúpula do Clima da ONU em Nova York. É esperado que o presidente Xi envie um outro político sênior em seu lugar.