18 May 2010

Pop Quiz

One of the text boxes below is excerpted from comments made today from Todd Stern, chief climate negotiator for the Obama Administration (courtesy Andy Revkin). The other text box comes from a statement made by the Bush Administration 2007. I have edited each to remove references to identifying dates, etc.

Can you tell which is which (no cheating before considering the question!)? Answers linked below.

Text Box #1
  • . . . it is essential that a new framework include both major developed and developing economies that generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and consume the most energy, and that climate change must be addressed in a way that enhances energy security and promotes economic growth. . .
  • The U.S. remains committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and we expect the new framework to complement ongoing UN activity.
  • The President’s proposal breaks new ground in advancing areas of common interest between developed countries and the major emerging economies. . .
  • The proposal seeks to bring together the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters and energy consumers.
  • In creating a new framework, the major emitters will work together to develop a long-term global goal to reduce greenhouse gasses.
  • Each country will work to achieve this emissions goal by establishing its own ambitious mid-term national targets and programs, based on national circumstances.
  • They will ensure advancement towards the global goal with a review process that assesses each country’s performances. . .
  • America is leading the way with clean energy technology and is stepping up efforts to make advanced energy technology commercially viable. . .
  • We have now reached a pivotal moment where advances in technology are creating new ways to improve energy security, strengthen national security, and protect the environment.
Text Box #2
  • . . . we can only understand the challenge of moving to a new paradigm if we start by focusing on what came to be accepted by many – although not all and not us – as the old paradigm.
  • That paradigm held that the world is sharply divided into two camps that never overlap and never evolve – developed countries and developing countries, as they were defined in 1992 in the Framework Convention, with all real obligations to address climate change accruing to developed countries. The Kyoto Protocol has often been read to enshrine this division. . .
  • Now, there are multiple problems with this paradigm. First, it is wrong as a matter of textual exegesis. In addition, it is fatally flawed substantively and politically as a foundation for the future. . .
  • Most fundamentally, you cannot address the climate challenge by focusing only on developed countries; they account for around 45% of global emissions now and will account for some 35% by 2030. Instead, you need to start with the 85% of emissions represented by the major economies and build out from there. Moreover, as a matter of political reality, we could get no support in the United States for a climate agreement that required action of us but not from China and the other emerging markets. . .
  • [The new paradigm] reflects a bottom-up architecture, first proposed by Australia, based on countries committing to measures rooted in their own domestic programs. We would argue that this is the only practical way forward if you mean to include all significant economies, because no across-the-board, top-down target would be acceptable at this stage to developing countries or, indeed, to us. . .
  • In our view, such an agreement would include domestically derived mitigation commitments for all the major economies and as many others as possible. It would include robust transparency provisions for all countries, both so that we are all able to keep track of how we are doing in reducing emissions globally and so that all countries can have confidence in the mitigation commitments made by others.
  • And it would include far-reaching provisions on funding, so that developing countries, particularly the needier among them, are given the kind of support they need for both mitigation and adaptation.
  • Such support needs to include assistance in acquiring and using technology as well as in the means to avoid deforestation.
When you are ready here are the sources for Text Box #1 and Text Box #2.


  1. It was easy to tell, because of the robust language in the second box.

  2. Okay, I haven't looked at the sources. I think the first is the Bush administration, the second is Obama's.

    Although the word "paradigm" is terribly 1990s, I don't think that a president that pronounces "nuclear" as "newkular" would get on too well with either the spelling or meaning of the word "paradigm". One presumes the texts would have to be comprehended by their respective presidents.

    In all other respects, the more things change the more they seem to stay the same.

  3. Without looking at your sources for the text boxes, text box 1 is the Bush text and is the basic theme of the major economies process.

  4. 'Paradigm' nothing. 'Textual exegesis' was the dead giveaway.

  5. Text #2 would win Buzzword Bingo hands down. All I can say is YIKES!, you guys (Americans)are screwed. Maurice Strong incarnate.

  6. Text box 2 had to be from the Obama admin. They have to bury their betrayal of their enviro supporters in convoluted language and veiled excuses like "political reality."

    Also, the first box contains a reference to national responsibility which does not conform to the current globalization craze.

  7. FWIW, I'm not sure that either administration really gets "textual exegesis." The definition of exegesis is "critical interpretation of a text." So... textual critical interpretation of a text? Maybe it would have been better to not try to sound so smart in this case.

  8. ". . . it is essential that a new framework include both major developed and developing economies that generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions and consume the most energy, and that climate change must be addressed in a way that enhances energy security and promotes economic growth. . ."

    No! It is not essential. The "problem" of greenhouse gases is a politically manufactured non-crisis, masked in reports from scientists addicted to generous R&D funding and the allure of Fame and media glory.

    The environmental movement needs to dream up the next great hairy-scary crisis. They rode the Population Bomb, the Club of Rome and now the AGW crisis into the political arena, they have maxed out its political and fund raising potential . . . so it is time to move on.

    I'm thinking the next crisis they invent will be something to do with fresh water. It has the universal appeal and need, there is more of it in the developed world than the backward 3rd world - this means they can get the 3rd world dictators on board thinking they'll get rich and the potential for tear jerking pictures if sad faced children with empty water cups is huge.

    They won't need the faked pictures of cuddly-wuddly polar bears anymore.