By Paul Murphy
The world could probably do with another oil shock, as far as the effect of such an event on energy consumption goes.
From John Kemp, at Reuters, a counter-intuitive chart showing the amount of energy consumed in the US compared with the size of the economy; the measures are in British thermal units and constant 2008 dollars. (Click for a larger image)
Thursday was “Youth Day” at the talks, and the conference centre was filled with earnest smiling young people. Many of them wore orange T-shirts with “how old will you be in 2050?” written on the front; presumably a none too subtle dig at the age of some of the most prominent climate sceptics.
On the back, the shirts read: “don’t bracket our future”; a somewhat convoluted reference to the brackets representing disputed sections in the draft negotiating text of the proposed agreement.
FT Energy Source is posting a daily question for our panel of expert commentators. Below are responses from panel members Kyoto carbon markets architect Graciela Chichilnisky, Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury, Lord Browne of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Vivienne Cox of Climate Change Capital.
Non-government organisations (NGOs) have been sounding the alarm over details of a possible agreement at Copenhagen, and attacking some of the mechanisms for tackling climate change, such as carbon trading. Are they in danger of sabotaging the talks?
Jeremy Leggett: NGOs on both sides of the fence are in danger of sabotaging the talks, and always have been through the 20 years of their history. Business NGOs include organisations who would agree wholeheartedly with Sarah Palin’s call on President Barack Obama, in yesterday’s Washington Post, to boycott the summit. Such organisations, often representing US coal and oil interests, have long sought to detonate mines under the fragile process of multilateral consensus building on global warming. I describe in my book ‘The Carbon War’ some of their tactics along the way: disinformation at best, lies at worst. I use the “L” word with due consideration. Peter Carter Ruck Associates put The Carbon War under a libel microscope before its publication.
On FT Energy Source:
- The US climate envoy in Copenhagen says no money for China
- Copenhagen daily wrap:Now for the hard part
- Experts’ forum: should climate sceptics have a greater voice at Copenhagen?
- Copenhagen diary: Security gaffe another slight for developing countries
- Why are China and the US different?
- Interpreting Opec
- Mexico is not convinced by today’s oil prices
- Industry looks to green electric future in Spot news
Taking a break today.
From the latest BBC World Service survey, released this week:
The poll also shows that, in spite of the global recession, an average of 61% support their governments making investments to address climate change, even if these investments hurt the economy.
However, the poll finds that public opinion in the world’s two largest emitters of CO2 is more ambivalent. While the Chinese are the most likely to support government investments to address climate change even if these harm the economy (with 89% in favour), only 52% of Americans feel the same way. Also, the percentage of American (45%) and Chinese citizens (57%) who see climate change as “very serious” is below the 23-country average of 64%.
So why are China and the US different?
Every few months, as another Opec meeting rolls into view, a flurry of stories about comments from member states makes its way into the news.
Any time a journalist gets near an Opec member’s oil minister, they pop the question about what the next decision on production quotas might be. Ministers usually oblige with some sort of reply, either about their own views on what Opec policy should be, or what they think the cartel will actually decide.
The very thorny issue of the US and China is now raised at Copenhagen, when US climate change envoy lived up to his name and made very clear that the US would not be giving any funds to China to help it meet the cost of curbing emissions, writes the FT’s Fiona Harvey.
The two countries – the world’s biggest emitters – are also at loggerheads over carbon reduction commitments.