Apart from hardcore greens and hardline hawks, India's enviro minister Jayanti Nataraj is getting high marks from her countrymen as well as other developing nations for refusing to bow to EU pressure to commit to legally binding emission cuts. As Ron Bailey reported, the Durban talks were saved from total collapse after India and China agreed to language that accomplishes the remarkable double feat of ensuring that the world will never do anything to avert climate "catastrophe"—while keeping alive the illusion that it will.
The EU wanted all the Durban attendees to finalize a road map by 2015 that would commit them to binding cuts by 2020. But Nataraj swiftly dumped a bucket of Himalayan ice—which, incidentally, is defying IPCC's fake predictions and refusing to melt—on even that distant goal. "How do I give a blank check signing away the livelihood rights of 1.2 billion members of our population?" she demanded to know.
Finally, she agreed to work on an agreement that would be legally binding by 2020 if India agrees to it. Got it? No? Here's how one blogger, obviously dismayed by India's intransigence, explained it:
The agreement initially called for "a protocol, another legal instrument or a legal outcome" to be drawn up by 2015 and enforceable by 2020. At India's insistence, it was changed to "a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force." (Emphasis added)
Those two words will give India leeway to demand that any final agreement be based on principles of "equity" and "common but differentiated responsibility." In plain English this means that India won't commit to any emission cuts unless the developed countries that, as far as it is concerned, are responsible for causing the problem in the first place agree to two things: go first and cut the lion's share.
This was precisely the sticking point that torpedoed America's participation in the 1997 Kyoto Treaty. And if President Obama, an ardent climate change warrior, couldn't ramrod it through a Democratic-controlled Congress, it is unlikely that any other president ever could.
But America no longer is the only villain in the climate change melodrama. Canada this week formally withdrew from the Kyoto Treaty in order to avoid being slapped with $14 billion in fines next year for failing to deliver on its promised cuts. Canada's environmental minister Peter Kent maintains that Canada would have to resort to extreme measures, like pulling all motor vehicles from its roads and shutting heat off to every building in the country in order to meet its targets. (He blamed the Liberal Party for agreeing to the treaty "without any regard as to how it would be fulfilled.")
This may or may not be hogwash, but with most of the major "polluters"—America, Canada, India and China—ducking and dodging, I think it is safe to start singing a requiem to a global climate change treaty.
(My column on why it would be folly for developing countries to commit to binding cuts even if one accepts global warming science as gospel here.)