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A suicide pact for humanity? U.S. and Europe agree to footnote emission targets

The European Union and the United States have reached agreement at the climate change conference in Bali. They'll include target numbers for emission reduction by industrial nations, but those numbers will go in a footnote.

The European Union and the United States have reached agreement at the climate change conference in Bali. They'll include target numbers for emission reduction by industrial nations, but those numbers will go in a footnote. So the E.U. gets their 25-40% greenhouse gas emissions cuts by 2020 into writing, but they get those numbers and that date in a footnote. The current U.S. government is adamant about agreeing to anything that even smacks of mandatory emission cuts. I suspect the E.U. is waiting to see what happens in the next U.S. Presidential election, figuring they have only another fourteen months of the current regime.

The Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012 and the Bali conference called by the U.N. was aimed at setting the stage for the agreement that would follow Kyoto. China and the U.S. are the world's top CO2 producers. CO2 is the most abundant of the man-made greenhouse gases. Neither China nor the U.S. ever signed the Kyoto Protocol.

Despite the compromise there is much residual uneasiness as the Bali conference fades away.

The conference has been extended in hopes of getting something everybosdy can agree to. Led by the U.S.some wealthy nations are pressuring poorer nations to commit to emission cuts. Here's what the "Times" of UK reports from its Murdoch conservative viewpoint. It's information scarce in American reporting: "A deal was reached for the World Bank to oversee pilot schemes to discourage deforestation, a prime cause of carbon dioxide emissions. A fund to help poorer nations to cope with the harmful effects of climate change and a review of how richer nations can transfer green technology to poorer ones were both agreed."

The left-wing "Guardian" reports that Friends of the Earth called this compromise statement "a suicide pact."

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his publicizing of global warming. Speaking at the Bali conference he blamed his own country for stalling action.

Maybe not running for President, New York City mayor Bloomberg also found himself passing by Bali and so he gave a speech, "As an American, I want my country to set the pace of change. A great nation embraces the duty to lead by example." Which Republican Party does he belong to?

Most disappointed at the Bali conference? Low-lying island nations like Fiji. Their hopes are sinking as the oceans are rising. Perhaps they'll be extinct sooner than the polar bear or Antarctic penguins. Got room in your home for a couple of homeless Fijians? They're great swimmers, I hear.