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We knew something might go a little screwy with the UN's big climate conference in Poland when we saw it would be sponsored, in part, by one of Poland's biggest coal companies. And no, that announcement didn't include the company pledging to put itself out of business. Now the US has joined the governments of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in watering down one of the central points of the summit, a joint statement on October's report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In essence, the world's top three oil-producing nations (plus Kuwait) are officially brushing off the report's call for serious action on climate within the 10-year timeline left to head off even more severe global warming.


As with lots of diplomatic stuff, the conflict hinges on a few words that make a hell of a big difference. The IPCC report reflected an international effort to predict, as accurately as possible, the kind of world we'll have at the end of the century if we can limit warming to no more than more than 1.5 degrees Celsius -- or in non-communist terms, 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- since pre-industrial averages, versus the much more severe outcomes if warming went up to 2 degrees C. That half a degree Celsius is the difference between bad things happening and extremely bad things happening to cities, agriculture, endangered species, and yes, entire nations.

Well by golly, the top three oil producing nations (Kuwait, also!) said, nah, not interested in giving any legitimacy to that nonsense, because we like oil money, silly.

Reaching a global consensus was a painstaking process involving thousands of scientists sifting through years of research and diplomats working through the night to ensure the wording was acceptable to all nations.

But when it was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Saturday, the four oil allies – with Saudi Arabia as the most obdurate – rejected a motion to "welcome" the study. Instead, they said it should merely be "noted", which would make it much easier for governments to ignore. The motion has not yet been able to pass as a result of the lack of consensus.

That's rather a bizarre development, given that the October report was commissioned by the UN Framework Convention two years ago as a follow-up to the Paris climate agreement. But there was an election in the US, so 80,000 voters in three Midwest states (plus massive voter suppression, plus some degree of Russian influence) means we're just going to make the world unfit for human life instead. Yeah, plus other species, but fuck them, they don't even make campaign donations.

The US decision to tell science -- and future generations -- to go get bent is hardly a surprise, given the Trump administration's attempt to downplay a second major climate report, the National Climate Assessment. The administration tried to bury its release on the day after Thanksgiving and has repeatedly lied about the severe effects that report outlines. Donald Trump himself went even further, explaining that because he's a very smart person, he just doesn't see any truth to the science at all, because something about plastic on beaches.

In addition to weakening the international agreement on climate, The Washington Post notes (but does not welcome) that just since the National Climate Assessment was released, Team Trump has rolled out two new dirty energy measures that will result in worsening carbon emissions. The administration will open some nine million acres of previously protected sage grouse habitat to promote oil and gas development through fracking, because stupid near-endangered birds shouldn't get in the way of making money.

Even more exciting, last Thursday, the administration announced it would rescind an Obama rule requiring new coal plants to install technology that would reduce their carbon output. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, said the rule had to go because it would make new coal plants too expensive, and wouldn't that be horrible? The only good news here is that coal is dying, and even with the rules change, it's unlikely any new plants will be built. But maybe Trump will force some coal company donor to build one anyway, just to own the libs.

In addition to the carbon-friendly regulations, Team Trump is also very proud of its new ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, whose husband, Joseph Craft, is -- BIG SURPRISE -- a coal billionaire. Craft herself is a big GOP fundraiser. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the newly minted ambassador explained she's a big fan of science, as long as equal time is given to the tiny number of industry-funded shills who reject the consensus of 97 percent of climate scientists who accept the reality of global warming.

CBC: Do you believe in climate change?

Craft: I believe there are scientists on both sides that are accurate. [This is bullshit -- Dok]

CBC: Do you believe there is science that proves that man is not causing climate change?

Craft: Well, I think that both sides have, you know, their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science. [This too is bullshit. Notice Craft couldn't identify any -- Dok]

We suppose it's worth noting that at least Canada is committed to the Paris agreement, although it's too polite to laugh in Ambassador Craft's face like it should. Also, the US will hold another presidential election before our withdrawal from the pact is finalized, so maybe we can start turning back toward some kind of sanity on climate, like instituting the Green New Deal. We'd welcome that, not just note it.

[Guardian / WaPo / IPCC report / National Climate Assessment / Image: Screenshot of video by Project Trumpmore]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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