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Two Scientists' Upbeat Views on Marrakech

Posted on 18 November 2016 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

Two scientists who participated in a recent global climate-change meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, come across in a new Yale Climate Connections video as hopeful, bordering on optimistic, about continued international efforts to address the problem. (See related posts herehere, and here.)

 Glaciologist Jason Box, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and Cara Augustenborg, an environmental scientist with University College in Dublin, point to a spirit of resolution and perseverance in Marrakech in the days immediately following the U.S. election of Donald J. Trump.

“I thought before the election that, if Trump wins, we’ll all just go home,” Augustenborg told a meeting at Trinity College in Dublin on November 15, a week after Trump’s election. “But I was really surprised that the attitude in Marrakech was really quite positive. Negotiating team members and civil society representatives took the approach of: ‘Look, this is going to make it harder for the U.S., definitely, but it’s only one country out of 196, and the rest of us are still on track, we’re still going to act.'”

“Everyone’s got more resolve to make the Paris agreement a success,” Box said in a November 16 Skype interview with independent videographer Peter Sinclair. “That’s what everyone’s talking about.”

He said “the ‘T’ word” was not a principal focus of international participants. “This disruption, optimistically, will stir things up,” he said in the monthly “This is not cool” video.

China with ‘new role’ … ‘a big winner’?

Augustenborg pointed to China as a possible “big winner” if the Trump administration pulls back on climate: “For China, this is really seen as an opportunity. They said, ‘Hey, the U.S. has always been leading this, but we want to lead.'”

That view appeared to be reinforced in reporting by New York Times reporter Coral Davenport. She quoted Liu Zhenmin, China’s lead negotiator in Marrakech and China’s deputy minister of foreign affairs. Liu said China rejects a 2012 Trump assertion that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

COP22 logo

“Whatever position the U.S. puts forth, China will continue to support the Paris agreement,” Davenport reports Liu as saying in Marrakech.

“They seem pretty upbeat about the role they play,” Box says of China. “They’ve become the largest producers of solar …. They’re taking it seriously, and there doesn’t seem to be so [many] obstacles in the way for them.”

“The attitude was very much, ‘We’re going to keep going, and if the U.S. doesn’t act, they’re just going to be left behind technologically, and that’s their loss,” Augustenborg said.

“Clean energy just makes good economic sense,” Box said. “It really doesn’t make economic sense to not participate in the clean energy revolution.” He pointed to what he sees as a big role for free-market initiatives in that revolution.

“I’m getting a more positive feeling from being at this meeting than I was expecting,” said Box, who from 2002 to 2012 was a scholaar at Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center.

(See related posts herehere, and here.)

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. This article is very encouraging.  It is sad to see my country (US) have such a drag on progress.  However, other nations with greater resolve are moving forward.  I am supportive of a carbon levy made on US products imported to other countries.  

    However, the key epiphany that will make effective action possible  in our culture at large is the wide spread recognition that to keep co2 concentration in the atmosphere from rising, we need to limit our human caused emissions to the net amount that can be sequesters.  Yes, we might be able to add some human sequestration with practices such as biochar.  However, nature will reamain the primary net sequester.  

    This is what the COP21 treaty referred to as a net zero carbon emissions economy. Nature sequesters most of our human emissions that are safely in the carbon cycle. However, the emissions that can not be sequestered are dumped into the atmosphere adding to the previous inbalances causing the concentration to rise. This is a debt. The ultimate difficulty will be determined by how high this carbon concentration (debt) gets. When we achieve net zero, we will no longer be adding to the carbon debt. However, to reduce the carbon concentration we will need to have a net sequester economy where our emissions are less than what can be sequestered.

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  2. I think the point of the article is that we are now looking beyond the pure mechanics of CO2 balance.

    As the US Federal government backs into this loser’s trifecta of Racialism, Fossil Fuels Double-Down, and Nuclear War flirtation, progressive states and nations must take the leading role for envisioning and creating the wonderful world that the earth deserves, with us as the managing species.

    Sarkozy’s idea of a Carbon Tariff (CT) need not be politically divisive or economically disruptive. It can be implemented as an international mutual support corporation with complete transparency, for a mutually agreed charter based on indices of cost and objective benefits. Revenues can be distributed by such indices back to places where the tariff is collected according to damage profile, and environmental cost incurred, as well as indices of repair and mitigation objectives. Example: Nation A has Per capita carbon index of say 23 tons, while its current damage factor is $0.001 per capita. Nation B has carbon foot print 0.7 tons, while its current damage factor is $100 pc. Distribution to nation A is say 50% of its tariff collection rate, while nation B gets 50% of CT it collected, plus some indexed portion of the remaining funds available for mitigation, loss compensation, etc.

    A shock-therapy tool for Nuclear Flirtation is for nations to demand that the IMF expand the role of SDR’s throughout the world. Alternatively a mutual support corporation, even the same one, could structure a broader SDR type mechanism, with say 4 trillion dollars, instead of the paltry 0.241 of current SDRs, or whatever amount is deemed necessary to support and promote international monetary stability. The dollar being relieved of that role would require that the US pay for its war making capacity based on real taxes, not world-wide funding as it is able to attain, when the dollar is the currency of last resort. This would be a much more stable base for national currencies.

    As far as racialism; being a person of color, I feel the healthy catharsis in the mixed environment where I live. I think the US will come out the better nation, by facing down, the remainder of its racial ghosts it has now invoked. We are a really cool nation, if you lived here, and knew so many wonderful people all around, you would know it too.

    Bottom line: If Mr. Box can be optimistic, having front row seating in the impending catastrophe evident in Greenland cryosphere dynamics, I can be thankful for his guidance.

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  3. If major countries would impose a small carbon tax on carbon coming out of the ground or across their boarders then the way is open to put a tariff (carbon tax) on the goods of any country that doesn't have such a tax themselves.  If America refuses to follow suit, then her goods become uncompetative all around the world.  Once a few major countries do this, America has no choice but to follow.

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