I did not post as much today, but I hope you enjoyed what I had to offer. Remember, there will not be a “Morning Memo” tomorrow because I will doing my radio show. I will try to podcast the show, but it might not work. If not, you can hear it on WRKE 100.3 FM and streaming online at wrke.org. It is on from 1:30-3:00 pm EST. To sum up my posts today:
Monthly Archives: November 2010
All eyes are on the Cancun, Mexico Climate Conference that is currently taking place for the next two weeks to find a substantive agreement. Last year was considered a bitter disappointment for Copenhagen where only a three page, non-binding accord produced very dismal results. Copenhagen’s less than stellar results stemmed from two problems, countries not wanting to commit to specific target ranges to cut greenhouse gas emissions and not meeting the commitment scientists wanted for a good climate agreement. At Copenhagen, the leaders of several nations decided to collectively agree reduce emissions by 17% by 2020. It also stipulated that developing nations, who feel the brunt of most climate problems would receive about $30 billion in aid over the next 3 years. Translation, the U.S. as an individual nation would only reduce GHG emissions by 3% towards 1990 levels, when it should be closer to 17% on its own.
Since that dismal performance, the nations of the world are working to work towards a stronger agreement. I would not count on an amazing agreement though. The U.S. and China are biggest polluters and they have not hammered out any type of agreement that they both find satisfactory. In addition, China gets very nervous whenever the word transparency is uttered to monitor emissions standards. They think it will encroach on their sovereignty. The U.S. also has very little leverage going into this meeting due to the fact that the senate has yet to pick up a climate change bill that passed the house last year. That bill would have incorporated a new cap-and-trade system that many conservatives are very nervous about.
After listing all the negatives, what are some positives that will come out of this tropical getaway to solve the planet’s biggest crisis. Most likely, it will be a minor agreement with slightly bigger targets than last year. Developing nations will probably receive a little more compensation for damage caused by the big polluters. Other pollutants like soot and methane will also be regulated. Finally, more action could be taken to stop deforestation, a big cause of global warming and environmental degradation. Nothing substantial will probably come from the summit. Every country has individual needs, so it will probably work better if individual blocks like the EU, developing nations, and China and the U.S. all signed agreements individually. Yes, the system would probably be less fair and not as comprehensive, but at least that would get the talks rolling and something is better than nothing.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
Top Global Issues:
Wikileaks: China Believes Korea Should Be Unified
Worldwide Reaction To Wikileaks Documents
Middle East Fallout From Wikileaks
Small Hopes Of Success At Cancun Climate Conference
EU-AU Summit Opens In Libya
Abuse Claims In Ivory Coast Elections
Haiti’s Instability And The Presidential Election
President Obama’s Bipartisan Meeting On The Bush Tax Cuts
Federal Workers Pay Freeze Instituted
Figures of Note:
Opinions of Note:
Ross Douthat on The Partisan Mindset
Fareed Zakaria on Economic Growth Policies and The Federal Reserve
My First Thought: Who’s In Control?
President Obama is now at a critical moment during the lameduck session of congress. He has two of the most important bills that he should try to get through. First is the extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the middle class only, which is the president’s plan. The Republicans want to extend all the tax cuts and are not budging on the issue. Second is the ratification of the START Treaty by the senate for nuclear arms reductions with Russia. Currently, several Republicans are blocking the ratification of this treaty, mostly for political purposes. Even though this is only the lameduck session and Republicans will not get their majorities until January, it still is a critical juncture for the president. Republicans are currently testing the president to see if he has the will to go through with his agenda or whether they can push him around. I urge the president to force a vote on the Bush tax cuts, I dare the GOP to vote against the extension of the middle class tax cuts only to let them expire at the end of the year. It is an all or nothing game here. Unless President Obama stands up for his agenda now, you can definitely count on him being a pushover for the next two years.
Photo Credit: The Daily Telegraph