President Barack Obama’s position that dangerous global warming can be averted without deeper cuts in fossil fuel emissions before 2020 is stirring backlash in nations from Norway to Barbados.
“Multiple pathways” exist to prevent temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) without countries strengthening pledges to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020, U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said at United Nations climate talks last week.
“It’s a very risky assumption, too risky,” Norway’s top climate change envoy, Henrik Harboe, said in an interview. “We know we are far below the recommendations of science.”
The question of when the world acts to contain global warming is at the heart of the talks in Durban, South Africa, where delegates from more than 190 nations are working on how to take the next steps in curbing emissions after the limits outlined in the Kyoto Protocol expire next year.
The UN says pledges to cut greenhouse gases need to double by 2020 to contain warming to 2 degrees above preindustrial levels. While scientists say a rise of 1.5 degrees may lead to “dangerous” climate shifts, countries have agreed to take steps to ensure warming doesn’t exceed the 2-degree mark.
“There are no credible scientific scenarios that will allow temperatures to be held under 2 degrees if action is taken after 2020,” Selwin Hart, an envoy from Barbados, said in an interview in Durban.
Basically the US is punting until 2020 to do anything about climate change, and the rest of the world is rightfully going "Um, seriously?"
But the blame cannot be all placed on the Obama administration. Let's not forget we have a Republican party that has been hostile to the idea of climate change for years and has done everything they can to block every piece of climate legislation presented by this administration.
Most of all, the blame goes on the shoulders of the energy companies that control our politicians. Without them, we'd have a global climate policy in place already.