United Nations climate talks in Warsaw, Poland,, brought disappointment on many fronts to global warming activists.
Poland Sacks Environment Minister
Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, dismissed Environment Minister Marcin Korolec during the UN talks. Tusk explained Korolec was not supportive enough of natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Tusk assured UN climate delegates Korolec would be allowed to preside over the Warsaw climate talks until the conference concluded, but he did so as a lame duck.
Many of the same activist groups that urge drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions also urge immediate action to curtail fracking. Tusk’s decision to sack Korolec sent a signal that the host nation of the UN talks will not give in to anti-fracking activism.
Japan Nixes Planned Reductions
Japanese officials announced the nation is pulling back from a pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Japan had previously promised to cut emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. Japanese officials now say they will not reduce emissions from 1990 levels but will commit to a modest 3 percent rise from 1990 levels by 2020.
A Reuters news story filed from Warsaw reported Japan’s announcement “added to gloom at the Warsaw talks, where no major countries have announced more ambitious goals to cut emissions.”
China Leads Walkout
China led a bloc of 132 countries that walked out of the talks after the United States and other nations said they will not agree to discuss climate reparations until 2015, just after the upcoming 2014 U.S. midterm elections. China and developing nations claim the United States and other Western nations owe them money because Western nations are causing global warming that is destroying their countries. Newly reported emissions data, however, show China emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as any other nation.
Australia House Opposes Carbon Tax
The Australia House of Representatives voted to repeal the nation’s carbon tax, just 18 months after the tax took effect.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and members of his Liberal Party have made opposition to the tax a key component of recent political campaigns. Abbott cast the Liberal Party’s victories in Australia’s September 7 elections as a referendum on the carbon tax.
The legislation to repeal the tax also includes provisions to abolish governmental climate change bodies such as the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
While the Australian House voted to repeal the carbon tax, Australia Environment Minister Greg Hunt declined to attend UN climate talks, choosing instead to send a lower-ranking diplomat to the meetings.
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.