Year 2, Month 12, Day 15: Okay, Okay. I Promise I’ll Call The Doctor. Next Week, Though. Not Now. I’m Too Busy.

Good news! The patient has consented to think about going into treatment, maybe, perhaps, in a few years. USA Today:

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) – A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement Sunday on a complex and far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades.

The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would put all countries under the same legal regime enforcing commitments to control greenhouse gases. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

The deal also set up the bodies that will collect, govern and distribute tens of billions of dollars a year for poor countries. Other documents in the package lay out rules for monitoring and verifying emissions reductions, protecting forests, transferring clean technologies to developing countries and scores of technical issues.

Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for another five years under the accord adopted Sunday — a key demand by developing countries seeking to preserve the only existing treaty regulating carbon emissions.

Recycling the “hindsight is always 20-20” line. Sent December 11:

Yes, it’s good news that the world’s nations have agreed to a deal on greenhouse gas emissions. But the outcome of the Durban Conference is hardly cause for exuberance. Scientific evidence of the threat posed by global climate change is mounting faster than the glaciers are melting, and the overwhelming consensus is that humanity — not just America, China and India, but all of us, everywhere — has less than five years to act decisively before environmental tipping points are passed, propelling us into a far less friendly future.

The Durban agreement will come into effect at the beginning of the next decade — several years too late. Climatologists have been telling us for decades about the dangers of a runaway greenhouse effect; we cannot say we weren’t warned. If we fail to act dramatically and quickly, the old cliche, “hindsight is always 2020” will acquire a new and grimmer meaning.

Warren Senders

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