In Bali, Australia is siding with the rest of the industrialized world, and not with the United States, Canada and Japan (not to mention opposition parties within Australia).
That means Australia is siding with nations that favor hard, binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25-40% by 2020. Australia, under its new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, also belatedly ratified the Kyoto Protocol this week, leaving the U.S. as the only major industrial nation not to abide by its pollution reduction scheme.
The 25-40% cut is the goal because it is hoped that will prevent a doubling of carbon in the atmosphere, relative to preindustrial levels, and hold the average global warming to about 2 degrees Celsius enough to cause many changes, but avoid some of the worst consequences.
Environmentalists welcomed the growing consensus, but many continued colorful protests aimed at making governments take notice of developing nations, island communities and wildlife that will be made increasingly vulnerable as the climate warms.
The U.S., according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, remains stubborn in its insistence on "aspirational" goals, determined on a nation-by-nation basis. That has provided cover for Canada and Japan, Kyoto signatories, as well as developing nations that fear their economies will be stunted by requirements to curb pollution. There's indication, too, that the U.S. is quietly trying to convince China and India, the two emerging powerhouses of pollution, to forgo world consensus and instead back the U.S. stance.
Here's a look at some of the other news out of Bali today:
Millions of new jobs would be created if the world adopts greenhouse gas limits aimed at curbing global warming, according to Aim Steiner, U.N. under-secretary general and executive director of the United Nations Environment Program. That belief echoes statements by the U.S. Democratic presidential candidates, most of whom have embraced sweeping energy proposals that they say would generate new "green collar" jobs.
China will be ready to test a carbon capture project on a power plant in 2014, and make the technology commercially available within two to six years after that, according to the International Energy Agency, but only if the Chinese government actively supports the effort, Chinese state-run media reported. China's use of coal has helped it surpass the United States as the world's top polluter of greenhouse gases, and without a viable alternative readily at hand, finding a technological fix to reduce emissions is a key for the world strategy against global warming.
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