EU, US screwing up climate talks in Bangkok

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Watching the climate treaty negotiations here in Bangkok today is like watching a Congressional filibuster.

With only one week of negotiations left before the big show in Copenhagen, developed countries – led by the United States and the European Union – continue to waffle on the most important issues. This lack of action has polarized developed and developing nations at a time when consensus should be building.

There’s two main issues that need to be dealt with in short order.

The first is a commitment by developed nations to short and long-term targets on greenhouse gas emission reductions. The only developed country to make a real commitment to a hard cap is Norway, who announced yesterday that will commit to a forty-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. It’s worth pointing out that Norway is not part of the European Union.

The second is a commitment to financing from developed to developing nations to help them move away from fossil fuels and dirty energy [cue the “socialist plot” comment trolls].

“The proposals that have been put on table have led to further polarization between developed and developing countries and have broken down the trust that is needed to move these negotiations forward,” says World Wildlife Fund campaigner Tasneem Essop.

Tove Ryding from Greenpeace International had strong words for President Obama today on their resistance to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol: “If the President does not like the Kyoto Protocol, then [he] can come up with something better.” Well said Tove.

I have a backlog of stories I’m filing here in Bangkok, so check back soon for more on these negotiations. Most importantly I will be writing a story sharing my thoughts on what needs to be done between now and Copenhagen to get this process back on the right track. For those who know me well already, I’m sure you know what my answer will be!

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmog. He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning. Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks. Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder. Prior to DeSmog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health. In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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