Home > IV Online magazine > 2008 > IV405 - October 2008 > Consecrated with the Nobel Prize, the IPCC sees its recommendations kicked (...)


Consecrated with the Nobel Prize, the IPCC sees its recommendations kicked into the long grass

One year after the Bali Conference on Global Warming

Saturday 25 October 2008, by Daniel Tanuro

Save this article in PDF Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

On October 12, 2007, researchers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received the Nobel Peace Prize, applauded by all the (supposedly) important decision-makers in the world. One year later, the governments of the developed countries no longer conceal their intention of truncating and deforming the recommendations of the experts, in order to make them compatible with the interests of the North and the diktats of the multinationals. The so-called financial crisis can only strengthen this tendency in the future.

A few weeks after the attribution of the Nobel Prize to the IPCC, the United Nations Conference on the climate in Bali (Indonesia), in December 2007, was, it will be remembered, the theatre of sharp debates over the undertakings that needed to be given in order to fight against climate change. The sharpest exchanges were focused on a crucial question: was it necessary for the resolution adopted at the conclusion of the conference to mention the quantified recommendations of the IPCC as regards the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases? Very isolated and criticized, the United States had to accept that this would be the case. The Bali action plan - also called a “roadmap” - recognizes that “deep cuts in total emissions will be necessary” and underlines “the urgency of confronting climate change as indicated in the fourth evaluation report of the IPCC”. At this point in the document, a footnote directs the reader to page 776 of the contribution of Working Group III to the 2007 report of the IPCC and to pages 39 and 90 of the Technical Summary of this same contribution.

A world scenario of stabilization

Having recourse to a footnote was obviously not accidental: by not putting the recommendations down in black and white in the document itself, what was being done was to create confusion and uncertainty in public opinion, in order to leave room for manoeuvre. So it is important to recall that, correctly interpreted, the passages of the 2007 report which are referred to in the footnote hardly leave any room for ambiguity. The recommendations which flow from them are in fact the following:

 in order to respect equity, the emissions of the developed countries must decrease by between 25 and 40 per cent between now and 2020, and between 80 and 95 per cent between now and 2050, compared to the level of 1990;

 world emissions must peak by 2015 at the latest;

 the objective to be reached on a world level in 2050 is a reduction from 85 per cent to 50 per cent, compared to the level of 2000.

Page 39 of the Technical Summary, to which the “roadmap” refers, consists of a table (Table I) and a series of graphs which show clearly that, among the six scenarios of stabilization that are presented, it is the first – the most radical one – that should be chosen. This scenario is in fact the only one which makes it possible for the rise in the average temperature of the globe, when balanced out, not to go much above 2°C compared to the preindustrial period: + 2 to +2.4°C, according to the experts of the IPCC [1]. To choose the second scenario of stabilization from that table – a reduction of emissions of between 60 and 30 per cent - would be to run the risk of a markedly greater rise in temperature: + 2.4 to + 2.8°C.

Table I – Classification of scenarios of stabilization according to various objectives of stabilization
Source: Contribution of Work group III to the 2007 report, Technical Summary, Table TS.2 page 39 (we have not included here scenarios IV to VI, without reduction of emissions compared to 2000, which imply rises in temperature of between 3.2 and 6.1°C)

Let us recall that a rise in temperature of 2°C (some say 1.7°C, that is to say +1°C as from the present) is generally regarded as the limit beyond which climate change would have dangerous consequences for humanity and for the ecosystems. And let us note in passing that this objective, according to the IPCC figures, is becoming increasingly difficult to reach. The thermometer is already showing +0.7°C. An additional rise in temperature of 0.7°C is moreover “in the pipeline”, delayed by the effects of inertia of masses of ices and water. In view of current trends, the rise will probably be higher than 2°C when balanced out, even in the event of “ (very) deep cuts” in emissions. That is where we are, more than thirty years after the first cries of alarm of climatologists, sixteen years after the Summit of Rio, eleven years after Kyoto… A balance sheet that clearly puts in the dock the governments which claim to have things under control and a capitalist system that its supporters say is flexible and effective!

The human and ecological risks

But let us return to climate projections and recommendations. The more the differential of temperature increases, the greater is the risk hanging over humanity and the ecosystems. Up to what point? The policymakers know the answer to this question, or should know it. Indeed they formally adopted an IPCC document which is crystal clear in this respect: the “summary for policymakers” of the contribution of Working Group II to the 2007 Report [2]. This document proposes in particular a diagram synthesizing the impact of climate change according to different possible rises in temperature in the 21st century [3]. Please note: in order to interpret this table correctly and to make comparisons with Table I above - which gives the variations in temperature compared to the preindustrial era - it is necessary to take account of the fact that the temperature already rose by 0.7°C during the 20th century: so a rise of 1°C in the 21st century means a rise of 1.7°C compared to 1780, and so on.

Figure I - Principal impacts as a result of an increasing rise in global temperature
Originally figure SPM.2 from page 16 of the contribution of Working Group II to the 2007 report, available on the site ipcc.ch

We can see that the rise in temperature which corresponds to the first scenario of Table I (from 2 to 2.4°C compared to 1780, that is to say from1.3° to 1.7°in the 21st century) is sufficient to expose us to considerable dangers. We can also, and above all, see that from the point of view of the social and ecological impact, a qualitative difference separates this scenario I (between 85 and 50 per cent reduction of total emissions) from scenario II (between 60 and 30 per cent reduction, + 2.4 to 2.8° C compared to 1780). Let us underline in particular the following points:

 starting from a 2°C rise in the 21st century (2.7°C rise compared to 1780), millions of people could be victims of coastal floods each year;

 with a rise of between 2 and 2.3°C in the 21st century (2.7-3°C compared to 1780), the terrestrial biosphere would tend to become a net source of atmospheric carbon (green plants would emit more CO2 by breathing that they would absorb by photosynthesis). This shift would cause global warming to accelerate, with the risk of climate change accelerating (“runaway climate change”);

 the loss of biodiversity, already perceptible, would become increasingly great beyond +2° (+2.7° compared to 1780), to the point of evolving towards the extinction of a significant number of species;

 beyond +1.3° in the 21st century (+2°C compared to 1780), the tendencies towards a decrease in cereal production would be accentuated, first of all in low latitude countries, then in other regions as well.

We can get an even more precise picture of what is at stake from a human and social point of view in the different scenarios by looking at another diagram proposed by certain specialists (Figure II), which traces the evolution of the number of victims of climate change as a result of global warming, in four fields: shortage of water, malaria, famine and coastal floods. It is easy to see that, between a rise of temperature of a little more than 1°C and a rise of 2°C, the number of victims of coastal floods and famine would be multiplied by approximately two, while the number of those infected by malaria and of people suffering from a shortage of water would be multiplied by 3.5 [4]. Thus, many studies converge towards the same conclusion: the threshold of danger is a rise of around 2°C compared to the preindustrial period.

(Note: The Special issue of Inprecor on the climate has a table which estimates of the number of additional victims of different consequences of climate change in 2080, for different rises in temperature. We aim shortly to reproduce here the diagram already published on page 17 of that issue.)

Serious concern for the poor of the poor countries

It has become banal to say that the vast majority of the potential victims of climate change are the poor, in particular the poor of the poor countries. Concern for them is all the more acute in that the means that the South has to adapt to the now inevitable part of climate change are completely insufficient, indeed virtually non-existent. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the necessary adaptation [5] would require a North-South transfer of 86 billion dollars per annum by 2015 (44 billion for the infrastructures, 40 billion for the programmes aimed at combating poverty, 2 billion to reinforce the systems for combating catastrophes) [6] However, the many funds for adaptation created in recent years amount to only 26 million dollars. Eighty six billion, 26 million: the difference between these two figures is likely to result in hundreds of millions of human victims, mainly children, women and the elderly.

Eighty-six billion dollars accounts for scarcely 0,2% of the GDP of the developed countries. But no one should count on the generosity of the governments of the rich countries. These governments are investing in adaptation… in their own countries. The UNDP makes in this respect two extremely revealing comparisons: the paltry 26 million dollars that is today available to finance the adaptation of the South corresponds to the sums that the government in London spends every week to maintain the network of flood barriers in Great Britain, and the budget that the Land of Baden-Wurtemberg has decided to consecrate to the fight against floods is more than twice as high as the sums available for the adaptation of the developing countries as a whole [7].

The key IPCC recommendation: between -80 and -95 per cent in the developed countries

The IPCC, as we have seen, is not satisfied with recommending global reductions of emissions at different times: it also proposes to re-apportion these reductions between countries of the North and those of the South. This point is absolutely decisive. Indeed, this different re-apportioning flows logically from the fact that the developed countries, which comprise a minority of the world’s population, are historically responsible for at least 75 per cent of climate change. Under the pressure of the countries of the South, the Rio Summit (1992) was thus led to include the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, ratified by virtually all countries, including the USA). In this respect, it is of crucial importance that the “Bali roadmap” refers to page 776 of the contribution of Working Group III to the 2007 Report of the IPCC. Why? Because this page proposes another table (Table II), which gives the reductions in emissions to be carried out respectively in the developed countries (Annex I) and in the developing countries (non-Annex I), from the point of view of climatic justice, and which does so for three scenarios of stabilization [8].

Table II –Range of differences between emissions in 1990 and emissions attributed to 2020-2050 for various levels of concentration, for Annex-1 and non-Annex 1 countries, as groups
Source: Contribution of Work Group III to the 2007 evaluation report of the IPCC, page 776. The scenarios A, B and C correspond roughly to scenarios I, III and IV of Table I

Of these three scenarios, it is obviously the first - stabilization with 450 ppmCO2eq - which must be retained. For the reasons already invoked above: by comparing with the data of the Technical Summary (Table I), we see in fact that the second scenario - stabilization with 550 ppmC02eq - and the third - stabilization with 650 ppmCO2eq - correspond to rises in temperature of 2.8-3.2°C and 4.0-4.9°C, respectively. That must be categorically rejected! In fact, “most interpretations of equity” [9], according to the IPCC, lead to the conclusion that, in the case of a stabilization at 450 ppmCO2eq, the developed countries have to reduce their emissions by between 25 and 40 per cent in 2020 and by between 80 and 95 per cent in 2050, compared to 1990. In other words, to almost completely decarbonize their economies in the next forty years.

The least that we can say is that the importance of the footnote in the “Bali roadmap” is inversely proportional to the space it occupies in the document: two lines in small print refer to a series of figures and data which, when you compare them with each other and with certain positions taken in the “summaries for policymakers” (adopted by the governments!), make all the difference between a noisy but hollow declaration of intention and a precise commitment, concretely binding on political leaders. In my opinion, this point has been and remains underestimated by many observers. In particular in certain activist milieux, where people often prefer to point to the IPCC tendency to underestimate climate change. This underestimation is indeed indisputable, and in certain cases admitted by the IPCC itself (see the box). But let us not throw out the baby with the bath-water: the Bali footnote is an invaluable asset. The battle for its precise content to be made known and taken into account constitutes a major tactical and strategic element, vis-a-vis governments, social movements and public opinion. On the eve of the Poznan Conference (December 2008), and a year before the Copenhagen Conference (which is supposed to lead in December 2009 to a new international treaty, intended to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2013), it is urgent to take up this challenge. Because the ink was hardly dry on the document adopted in Bali before the representatives of the most powerful countries on the planet were already fiddling some figures and ignoring others, in order to circumvent the recommendations of the scientists or manipulate them to their advantage. That is what is revealed in particular by the positions of the G8 and the European Union.

The “unambiguous aspiration” of the G8: 50 per cent in 2050

Meeting in Toyako, Japan, at the beginning of July 2008, the G8 adopted an official statement in favour of a reduction of global emissions by 50 per cent in 2050. Not only is the year under review not clear (the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda initially evoked the year 1990, then changed his mind and mentioned the year 2000) [10] but moreover this document mentions neither intermediate objectives for 2020, nor a reduction of between 80 and 95 per cent by the developed countries, nor a global reduction of 85 per cent by 2050 (the highest level of the “IPCC scale”). In other words, the G8 is violating both the precautionary principle and the principle of joint but differentiated responsibilities, that is to say the most elementary climatic equity.

This position adopted by the most industrialized countries is almost perfectly in phase with the requirements of big business. Indeed, in a climate memorandum addressed to the summit of Toyako, the World Economic Forum wrote as follows: “The new framework (post Kyoto, D.T.) must be complete, oriented towards the long term, towards results and towards the market, in order to be environmentally and economically effective. The principal economies must all sign up to it, including the USA, China and India. It should lay down an unambiguous international objective of a significant reduction of emissions, such as an aspiration (sic) to reduce global emissions by at least half between now and 2050. This would be in agreement with the fourth evaluation report (of the IPCC, D.T.) and with the position adopted at last year’s summit in Heiligendamm, which the leaders of the G8 agreed to examine seriously” [11].

The wind has definitely turned within the ruling class: the economic sectors which deny the reality of climate change and which are opposed to a substantial and obligatory reduction of emissions are now in a minority. In fact, concerned about having clear long-term perspectives and regulations that are harmonized on a world level, the majority of large companies have come over to the strategy worked out by Nicholas Stern in his report for the British government: not to refuse to admit the reality of the climatic threat, to exploit this threat to try and impose new sacrifices on workers, to exert their influence so that the transition towards an economy without carbon takes place according to the rhythms and the modalities that are dictated by profit, to put on the same footing the protection of the tropical forests and the reduction of emissions in the countries of the North (in order to gain time), and to generalize “flexible mechanisms” - so that the bulk of the effort of reduction is carried out in the developing countries (in the form of juicy investments for the multinationals) [12].

In this strategy, communication occupies a place that is far from negligible. Considering how concerned public opinion is, it is important for the system to give the impression that it is in tune with scientific expertise and is applying the recommendations of the prestigious IPCC. The figure “50 per cent less in 2050” is selected for its symbolic force and because it corresponds, and only just, to the lowest level of the recommendations of the experts… while remaining hazy about immediate objectives. Actually, spread out over 50 years, supposing that the flexible mechanisms make it possible to externalise effort to the maximum, and supposing also that the protection of the forests is included in the calculation of the fall in emissions [13] this objective, for the big companies, will hardly imply any significant reductions: the spontaneous rise in energy efficiency could almost be enough to concretize it. There is no question, however, of tying the hands of capital: the memorandum of the World Economic Forum talks about the 50 per cent as an “aspiration”, not an obligation… An “unambiguous aspiration”: you can’t be too careful!

The guiding role of the EU… against the IPCC recommendations

The role of the European Union in the new capitalist climate policy deserves very particularly to be denounced. Let us remember that, in June 1996, the European Council adopted the objective of a rise in temperature not exceeding 2°C compared to the preindustrial period. This position was reiterated on March 23, 2005: “to fulfil the ultimate objective of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, the increase in the average annual world surface temperature should not exceed 2°C compared to the levels of the preindustrial epoch”. We have seen that a rise of a maximum of 2°C requires a stabilization of the concentration of greenhouse gases at between 445 and 490 ppm of CO2eq, which means reductions in emissions considerably higher than the 50 per cent adopted by the G8, in particular for the developed countries. The decision-makers of the EU know this: the Council of Ministers of the Environment, on March 10, 2005, took note of it and put it in writing. But words are one thing, acts are quite another. Let us quote some examples:

 it was the Europeans Tony Blair and Angela Merkel who opened the way to the 50 per cent goal, in the meetings of the G8 (respectively in Gleneagles in 2005 and Heiligendamm in 2007);

 the “energy-climate package” proposed by the Commission in January 2008 contents itself with a reduction in the emissions of the EU by 20 per cent in 2020, whereas the IPCC recommends between 25 and 40 per cent by this date for the developed countries [14]; - European companies can delocalize a greater and greater part of their reduction effort towards the countries of the South: for the period 2008-2012, the ceiling for the import of carbon credits in the EU is significantly higher than the objective of the reduction in emissions [15]

Beyond the beautiful speeches, the conjuring tricks, and the fulsome flattery of the IPCC, the EU is in the vanguard of a capitalist policy in response to climate change that seeks to give the illusion of being radical and ethical, while turning its back on science and trampling justice underfoot. Behind the scenes, the big companies are rubbing their hands with glee: the European market in emission rights is bringing them juicy profits [16]. In a general manner, the policy of the EU is positioning them as well as possible on the market in clean technologies. So the satisfaction of Jose Barroso is unfeigned when he says that the decision of the G8 testifies to a “new, shared vision” and that the decision to reduce emissions by 50 per cent in 2050 “puts the negotiations on the road to a new international treaty in 2009” [17]. A new international treaty? Perhaps… if the developed countries and the emerging countries manage to get an agreement… that is accepted by the poorest countries. But a treaty which is very likely to trample on the precautionary principle and to kick the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities into the long grass. A new treaty whose incredible cynicism in the service of the business world could result in suffering and death for hundreds of millions of people, as well as the destruction of innumerable forms of the richness of nature.

This policy is today more dangerous than that of Bush, for the simple reason that the probability of its implementation is greater. We do not have to look very far to find the concerns which underlie it. In his famous report, a real climate manual for the use of liberal politicians and employers, Nicholas Stern is not afraid to write in black and white that it is necessary “to avoid doing too much and too quickly”, because “a great uncertainty remains as to the costs of very great reductions. To descend as far as reductions in emissions of between 60 and 80 per cent or more will require progress in the reduction of the emissions of industrial processes, of aviation and of a certain number of domains where it is difficult for the moment to envisage effective approaches in terms of costs” [18]. Becoming conscious, extremely tardily and painfully, of the gravity of the situation, capital and its spokespersons are really forced to do something, but, for these leeches, safeguarding profits and super-profits comes before anything else.

In the battle to inflect, truncate and denature the IPCC recommendations, the most active and most nefarious lobbies are without any doubt those of oil, coal, the car industry, shipbuilding, in short the sectors most dependent on fossil fuels. The reason is obvious: according to certain estimates, the sale of products resulting from the refining of oil represented - before the surge in prices over the last year - approximately 2000 billion euros on a world scale. The costs (from prospection up to refining and transport) amounted to scarcely 500 billion euros [19]. On the basis of a “normal” rate of return of 15 per cent, that leaves an astronomical sum of 1425 billion euros of super-profits per annum, in addition to the average profit. It is not indispensable to be a Marxist to understand that the recipients of this gold mine are fighting inch by inch to maintain their privileges as long as possible [20]

Putting profits and super-profits before the climate: the scandal is enormous. However, there are really very few people who dare to state this truth. Among them, we should salute a scientist with an international reputation: James Hansen. Invited to testify before the United States Congress, last June, the chief climatologist of NASA declared: “Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. ” [21] Mutatis-mutandis, this condemnation also goes for the governments which are concocting a new climate treaty according to the interests of these same bosses. A vast international social mobilization is more than ever necessary to impose a treaty that conforms both to the recommendations of scientists and to the requirements of social justice. Failing that, humanity is likely to have to discover that capitalism is far from having given the full measure of the cruelty of which it is capable.

Postscript: Why the recommendations of the IPCC must be interpreted as the minimum that is necessary

In particular because of the procedure followed for the drafting of the reports, the recommendations of the IPCC rest on projections which, far from over-estimating climate change, tend rather to underestimate it. The G8 and the EU know this, because the IPCC, on certain questions, does not attempt to hide this reality. We will illustrate this point by two examples: on the one hand, the incomplete taking into account of the icecaps disintegration in Greenland and in the Antarctic, and on the other hand too much optimism as regards the transition towards low carbon technologies.

The estimates of the rise in the level of the oceans are the least robust of the projections of the IPCC: from 1990 to 2006, the rise observed was 3.3 mm/year, whereas the expectation was 2mm/year [22]. The difference - of 60 per cent - could come from the difficulty in modelizing the behaviour of the glaciers. The contribution of Working Group I of the IPCC informs us in fact that “the dynamic processes related to the melting of the icecaps, not included in the present models but suggested by recent observations, could increase the vulnerability of the icecaps to global warming, increasing the future rise in the sea level” [23]. This short phrase did not receive the attention which it deserves. According to the projections of the last report, the rise in the sea level could range between 18 and 59 cm between now and 2100. These figures do not include the possible effect of the phenomena of abrupt disintegration of the icecaps. Several years ago the chief climatologist of NASA, James Hansen, sounded the alarm on this subject. Recently, with eight other renowned scientists, he proposed to the review Science an article which tries to quantify the possible impact of the “dynamic processes” without resorting to models, by a reasoning based on the history of the paleo-climates [24]. The conclusions are more than worrying: according to the authors, the accumulation of greenhouse gases is taking us away from the conditions which allowed the formation of the icecaps, 35 million years ago. The rise in the level of the oceans corresponding to 385ppm of CO2 - its present concentration - could be “several metres at least” and the history of Earth proves that such a rise can occur in less than a century.

In a quite different field, other researchers estimate that the recommendations of Working Group III of the IPCC as regards reductions in emissions are based on too optimistic scenarios of a spontaneous fall in energy intensity (more than 1 per cent per annum) and in the carbon intensity of economic growth. Energy intensity and carbon intensity are two parameters which respectively indicate the quantity of power consumed and the quantity of carbon emitted in the form of gas to produce one point GDP. It can be noted empirically that these parameters have decreased quite regularly since the Industrial Revolution. If this tendency continued, i.e. if we continued between now and 2050 to consume relatively less energy and to emit relatively less carbon in order to produce the same wealth, it goes without saying that the effort necessary to reduce emissions in a given proportion would be less than if the intensity were stationary, or increased. That is the assumption that Working Group III made. However, it seems inaccurate: the carbon intensity observed since 2000 is higher than the IPCC assumptions. This higher level is due in particular to the massive investments of capital in China and India, investments which have involved the construction in these countries of many new coal power plants, producing electricity at a cheap rate [25]. The impact is considerable since, according to certain sources, 17 per cent of the rise in world emissions since 2000 is due to the rise of the carbon intensity of the economy, in other words to the use of more polluting technologies [26].

For non-specialists, it is quite hazardous to discuss these questions in detail. It remains true that certain criticisms addressed to the I PCC, in particular those above, are extremely serious. Examined from the point of view of the precautionary principle, they make even more scandalous the decision which seems likely, of choosing the lowest recommendations of the experts: it is the opposite that should be done. That is why we argue that the recommendations of the IPCC must be regarded as the minimum that is necessary.


[1Contribution of Working Group II to the 2007 Report of the IPCC, Technical Summary, Table TS.2, page 39

[2Summary for policymakers of the Contribution of Working Group II to the 2007 Report of the IPCC. Contrary to the reports properly so-called and the “Technical Summaries”, the “Summaries for policymakers” are discussed word by word and adopted by the representatives of the governments. These are the documents which commit states

[3Contribution of Working Group II of the IPCC, Summary for policymakers, Figure SPM.2, page 16. The inclusion of this table in the summary intended for decision makers was the subject of sharp debates with the representatives of certain governments.

[4For a more thorough commentary on this document, see Daniel Tanuro, “A major social and political challenge”, International Viewpoint 389, May 2007

[5The climate agreements designate by “adaptation” and “mitigation” the two elements of a strategy in the face of climate change. The more “mitigation”- in other words, the decrease in emissions and the increase in carbon absorption or storage – is strong and rapid, the less important is adaptation, and vice versa

[6UNDP, “Human Development Report 2007/2008. “Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world.”

[7UNDP, op. cit.

[8Contribution of Working Group III to the 2007 Report of the IPCC, entire document, Box 13.7, page 776

[9Technical Summary of the contribution of Working Group II, page 90

[10Angela Merkel, at the Heiligendamm summit of the G8, was intentionally vague about the year of reference for an eventual reduction of 50 per cent. See Daniel Tanuro, “ Le climat au G8; effet d’annonce et maquignonnage sur la voie d’un nouvel accord” http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?articles6350

[11“CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders”, World Economic Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, July 2008 ( REF 3000508)

[12See “Post-Kyoto is likely to be very liberal”, Daniel Tanuro, International Viewpoint 387, March 2007. See also “Qui va payer l’echec sans precedent du marche? Le rapport Stern, ou la strategie neoliberale face au changement climatique » http://www.mondialisation.ca.index.php?context=va&aid=4564

[13This assimilation, protection of forests = reduction of emissions was approved in Bali. See Daniel Tanuro, “The Bali conference on climate change, an initial balance-sheet”, http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article8698&var_recherche=daniel%20tanuro’

[14It is true that the objective would rise to 30 per cent if there was an international agreement, but this figure remains in the lower part of the scale of the recommendations by the experts. Thus the EU is steering the negotiations in a restrictive sense

[15Ceiling for the importing of credits, 2008-2012: 280Mt/year; reduction in emissions: 130Mt/year. For the period 2013-2020 “pollution rights” could cover a quarter of the undertakings by enterprises. “Proposition de directive du Parlement europeen et du Conseil amendant la directive 2003/87/EC dans le but d’ameliorer et d’etendre le systeme communautaire d’echange de quotas d’emission » - COM (2008) 16 provisional.

[16We can find an excellent critique of the market in carbon in Larry Lohman, “Carbon Trading. A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privatisation and Power, Development Dialogue, No 48, September 2006

[17Reuters, 8/07/2008

[18Stern Review, page 247

[19Jean-Marie Chevalier, “Les grandes batailles de l’energie”, Gallimard 2004

[20The Paris daily Le Monde recently gave us a particularly revolting example: the sumptuous yachts that the magnates in oil, gas, nickel, etc., have built for themselves – rivalling with each other in their luxury – consume more than 2000 litres of diesel an hour! We should point out that the emissions of the maritime sector, as well as those of air travel, are not subject to reductions in the framework of Kyoto.

[21The full text of Hansen’s speech of June 23, 2008 can be found on the site of Columbia University; “Global Warming Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near”.

[22Article in Science, quoted in Le Monde 2/02/2007

[23Contribution of Working Group I, Summary intended for decision-makers

[24“Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?”, Hansen et al. Article for Science, available on line at www.arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126

[25“Dangerous Assumptions”, Pielke, Wigley and Green, Nature, Vol 452/3, April 2008

[26Figures from the Global Carbon Project, quoted in Le Monde, 72/09/2008