Year 2, Month 12, Day 16: It’s 20-20, All Right.

The L.A. Times:

REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON — Negotiators at a climate change meeting in South Africa struck an 11th-hour deal to avoid the collapse of international negotiations over global warming, averting the worst fears of environmental advocates but doing little to immediately advance the cause of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement in effect would postpone new concerted global action on climate change for at least eight years. However, given the political realities, particularly in the United States and China, the accord probably offered the best chance to move the process forward, analysts said.

The mood at the United Nations gathering in Durban was somber as the talks ended just before dawn Sunday, participants said, largely because many questions remained unanswered and the risk of a catastrophic increase in global average temperature had not been reduced.

Under the deal, nations committed themselves to talks aimed at reaching a legally binding agreement by 2015 that would limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. The limits would not go into effect until 2020 at the earliest.

Decrying the oppositional nature of these two cultures is an easy way out, but I don’t mind. Sent December 12:

Political and scientific realities are entirely different. Politics, the “art of the possible,” deems the recent agreement from the Durban climate conference to be a triumph — the result of tremendously difficult and complex negotiations, one that offers participating nations, and the world, a best way forward. Scientists, on the other hand, concern themselves with measurable facts and their implications — and the details of the general scientific consensus on climate change suggest that Durban’s “best way forward” is virtually certain to be too little, too late.

It’s time for a reality-based politics to emerge in our nation and the world. The fact that Republican presidential candidates can gratuitously dismiss scientific expertise should be a red flag: ideologies that must reject facts in order to survive cannot be successful in the long run — for in the long run, the laws of physics and chemistry will win. They always do.

Warren Senders

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