World `Squandered’ Decade in Climate Debate, Top Scientist Says

– This reminds me of something James Gustave Speth said in, Red Sky at Morning:

The results of two decades of international environmental negotiations are disappointing. It is not that what has been agree upon is wrong or useless. But, the bottom line is that these treaties and their associated agreements and protocols do not drive the changes that are needed. Thus far, the climate convention is not protecting the climate, the biodiversity convention is not protecting biodiversity, the desertification convention is not preventing desertification, and even the older and stronger Convention on the Law of the Sea is not protecting fisheries. Nor are they poised to do so in the immediate future. On the big issues the trends of deterioration continue. With few exceptions, our instruments of choice, international environmental law, is not yet changing them, and the hour is late.

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March 11 (Bloomberg) — World leaders wasted a decade debating whether global warming is happening, and now need to act quickly to limit its effects, a former chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.

The pace of greenhouse-gas emissions risks locking in thousands of years of higher sea levels, as well as damaging marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, melting sea-ice and acidifying the oceans, said Robert Watson, now chief scientific adviser at the U.K. environment ministry.

European nations, which have taken a lead in reducing output of pollution linked to global warming, have “failed miserably” to get the U.S., the largest industrialized emitter, to follow suit, or to work well with China and India, Watson said. China’s emissions growth will swamp pollution cuts planned by the U.K., Germany and other developed nations, U.S. researchers said.

“Have we squandered the last 10 years? Largely yes,” Watson told delegates today at the Oceanology International conference in London. “We should have been acting far more to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions over the last 10 years, especially trying to get technology transfer with developing countries and bringing the United States on board.”

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