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“Meaningful agreement” reached between U.S., China, and India

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | December 18, 2009

Editor’s note:  Dan Kammen reports in from Copenhagen

Today, a senior White House office announced that the U.S. had reached a “meaningful agreement” with China, India and South Africa at the U.N. Climate Summit in Copenhagen.  According to the Associated Press, the official characterized the deal as a first step, but said it was not enough to combat the threat of a warming planet.

Details of the deal with these emerging economies were not immediately clear.

To my mind, the key operative term here is “meaningful agreement with INDIA AND CHINA”, which means that the major developed and developing nations that did not “meaningfully” participate in the Kyoto process have worked to an agreement here.

While the hard work is actually to come, this signals to industry in developed and developing nation a fundamental shift:   away from the old ‘developed/developing’ to ‘major/minor’ emitters.  Carbon prices will come, regional trading regimes will come, and with the U.S. having already committed to lead a push for $100 billion/year for less industrialized nations to a fund to address BOTH mitigation and adaptation.

The most essential pieces can now be said to either be in place, or on the agenda to be developed over the next months, ideally by the G20 summit, and if not, by COP16 in Mexico.

Comments to ““Meaningful agreement” reached between U.S., China, and India

  1. I think that ultimately the U.S. and China will have to lead the way on this issue. The energy consumption that the big two are responsible for now and into the future are massive. On a local level though we can all contribute in our own small way, and these small contributions can add up to big one’s!

  2. I think the next Greenhouse Conference should only involve scientist and experts in the related fields – not 100’s of politicians and their staff looking for a junket. Imagine the lower carbon footprint of such an event!

    • I completely agree and well said. That would set a great example for the rest of the world. If those who are most knowledgeable about ‘Green House Effect’ are sloppy about their carbon footprint, what can you expect from the rest of the world?

    • I agree, most of the greenhouse conference I’ve seen would rather involve politicians who know nothing about what’s happening about the state of our environment. I suggest they filter & just invite scientist & people who are interested and very much involve in this kind of topic.

  3. I don’t think China or India will ever agree to serious carbon reductions considering the current development of their economy. The Chinese might have dropped some hints here and there, but I just don’t see it happening. As the Chinese delegation was “agreeing” to this bill, they were also in the process of building hundreds of coal fired power plants. The “concessions” the Chinese were willing to make were nothing more than window dressing.

  4. I think this agreement can be regarded as an important first step. It is also true that he does not figure the commitment of nations on emissions. I think for that reason, we should remain cautious over the next months.

  5. Is Dan Kammen really of the class of 1935?. He certainly looks great for a 95 year old! We have enjoyed his presentations to the League of Women Voters.

  6. Well, I believe to some extent countries with economies in transition (India….)are still worried about decreasing their development momentum if they lower their emissions. So, it has become a bigger issue for those at the highest competing level economically than it makes sense for poor countries.

  7. Hey Dr. Kammen, really enjoyed your posts in the past two weeks! Hopefully a complete international climate “package” can be delivered by Dec. next year.

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