Climate - The G8 and Bonn meetings

Climate - The G8 and Bonn meetings

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Bonn: obvious disappointment

The G8 and Bonn meetings ended to the disappointment of environmentalists, but it was a foregone conclusion.

That of the G8 did not, in fact, even consider the Kyoto agreements, given the intransigence of the United States, Japan and Canada. Perhaps, as we expressed in the article "Anti-globalization, environment: finally the state discovers that health is more important than the greenhouse effect of holes in the ozone", it would have been better if the conclusions of the Bonn Summit had preceded the G8, in how much, despite their limitedness as we will see later, perhaps they would have been accepted by all eight nations participating in the G8, including the USA.


Before explaining the essentials of the conclusions reached at the Bonn meeting, for the convenience of readers we report in the graph at the top of the article, the trend of the global average temperature from 1870 to 2000.

In the last 130 years the average temperature (blue line) has been 13.96 ° C relative to an oscillation range between 13.4 ° C in 1895 and 14.6 ° C in 2000, which actually testifies to an increase temperature of 1.2 ° C, as shown by the trend line in green.

It should be noted that a general rise in temperature was to be expected since 1870 had left the Little Glaciation, which lasted for about five centuries and culminated in 1750.

Therefore, the gradual increase recorded between 1870 and 1970, between 13.6 ° C and 14.1 ° C equal to 0.5 ° C in 100 years, can be considered within the norm, according to what was observed in previous periods , without necessarily invoking human activity among the prevailing causes.

What rightly creates alarmism is the rise in temperature in the last 30 years, which from 13.9 ° C has rapidly risen to 14.6 ° C, i.e. 0.7 ° C in a very short time. What are the factors that caused such abnormal values.

It was spontaneous to identify, as one of the main causes, the greater responsibility in the Greenhouse effect, given that in the corresponding period there was a considerable increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which went from 320 to 370 parts per million, to be asked in relation to the consumption of fossil fuels, which has almost tripled in the last 50 years.

The rate of increase of carbon dioxide alone is sufficient to justify an increase of 0.7 ° C in 30 years. How much would the rise in thermal values ​​be due to natural causes, as has always happened in the past millennia?

Bonn Agreements

However, it is in this context that in 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was drafted by over 170 nations to agree on a gradual reduction in the emission of harmful substances not only into the atmosphere, in particular the States should have undertaken to reduce on average by 5.2 % by 2012 the emission of harmful substances compared to what they produced in 1990.

The 5.2% amount was the result of a compromise, knowing full well that it would not solve the pollution problem, but accepted by many to introduce the principle of environmental remediation.

As is known, despite other meetings, the cornerstones of the Kyoto Protocol have not been ratified by many states, so the Bonn Summit was reached without a stalemate,

But even in Bonn it seemed that the meeting would end with a further failure, if at the last moment a compromise had not been reached that drastically reduced the constraints of the States to start a policy of environmental rehabilitation, but at least it was reiterated the principle that only a global policy, with the participation of all states, can reduce pollution on Earth. Unfortunately, only the US, the major polluters, especially in gaseous emissions, have not signed the new agreements.

What are the main cornerstones of the Bonn agreements?

Formally the parameter of reaching a reduction of about 6% in the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere remains standing, but with such and many facilitations in favor of the more industrialized nations, that the Kyoto treaty (already in itself not very effective to achieve the set goal) in everyone's opinion it has been so watered down by the variants introduced by Bonn, so that the only satisfaction remains of having left it still alive and having kept the dialogue between nations open.

What are the salient points that mitigate the constraints and burdens for the most polluting countries?


Criteria to be applied in the conversion of polluting industrial plants

: everything is left vague, so in some cases we could talk about using nuclear energy.

Criteria for the purchase and sale of clean-up quotas

: it is possible for highly polluting states to buy part of the unused quota from low pollution ones, that is to say how a state may not fall within the percentage attributed to it if it buys from another state part of a percentage that it does not need to reach, because it falls well within the limits set by the agreement.

Criteria in connection with loans to developing countries

: to those States that will finance the installation of low-pollution industrial plants in favor of developing countries, the possibility of reducing the clean-up quota attributed to them may be recognized.

Criteria related to forestation

: to those states that may have large areas covered by forests or to those that will extend reforestation to their territory, a reduction in the clean-up rate will be recognized, given the absorption power of carbon dioxide exerted by plants. Among the nations that will benefit from this facility are Canada and Japan. For the latter it has been calculated that the 6% share will be reduced to 2%.

Criteria for compliance with commitments

: in the Kyoto agreements heavy sanctions were envisaged for states that did not respect the commitments undertaken, while in the Bonn agreement, monitoring interventions are envisaged, with sanctions that are not mandatory and, in any case, not automatically applicable.

For the Bonn Protocol to come into force, it will be sufficient for it to be signed and ratified by 55 states.

Undoubtedly, compared to the burdens envisaged by the Kyoto Protocol, the new agreements represent a significant reduction in commitments and a relative ease of returning to the pre-established limits, which has made it possible to overcome the resistance of states such as Canada and Japan. Will it be enough for the USA to join you too? We will see him at the next meeting, scheduled for next autumn in Marrakech.

Dr. Pio Petrocchi

Video: Leonardo DiCaprios Powerful Climate Summit Speech


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