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Will James Inhofe Have The Last Laugh?

Will James Inhofe Have The Last Laugh?

So what did the world get out of COP 17 at Durban? And more specifically what did the developing countries, which are just about appearing over the horizon of the greenhouse emissions historically created by the developed and rich nations already? It will be hard not to speculate how exactly the ravages of global warming and climate change will be dealt at our own doorsteps, be it mountainous states of Himalayas or the coastal provinces of the subcontinent. Hard, because, at the end of the day nobody will be truly interested in the political byplay of words, ricocheting statistics of carbon in the air, increase in the average temperature of earth. And everybody is interested to see positive changes towards an old and wasteful business as usual scenario. Everybody wants to see the arrest of increasing livelihood stresses, growing periodicity of extreme weather, nagging poverty, lack of health, food, water and everybody looks up to the leaders to find ways and means for those. Where does COP 17 stand in light of those expectations?

As K.N.Vajpai of Climate Himalaya summarizes , the agreed upon courses of discussions and resolutions of Durban meet had been: the next commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the process on Kyoto Protocol in longer run on binding regime and the future course of actions decided at Cancun and as Bali action plans. The possible answer of my question can be found if we follow Vajpai’s threads.

It was fairly well known that EU would influence the conference for a new legally binding emission cutting deal after Kyoto protocol. What emerges is that the emission limits for the new deal lacks a basic foundation for the historical responsibility sharing. Indian minister for Environment and Forests has defended the development space for India in a narrowing emission sphere on the basis of equity and if spontaneous cheer and applaud by many countries be any indicator, equitable sharing of responsibility in emission cutting appears to be a fairer point rather than hastily imposed population weighted limits. “I was astonished and disturbed by the comments of my colleague from Canada who was pointing at us as to why we are against the roadmap. I am disturbed to find that a legally binding protocol to the Convention, negotiated just 14 years ago is now being junked in a cavalier manner. Countries which had signed and ratified it are walking away without even a polite goodbye. And yet, pointing at others.” She said.

This makes me disappointed in the context of either next commitment period of Kyoto Protocol or any binding treaty in the long run. Though the final decisions of the meeting have yet not emerged and Durban meet is working overtime, it looks like the conference in large part has failed.

What remain are the related issues of Climate Funds, Institutional Arrangements, Technology Mechanism and Adaptation Framework. But these appear to be discussions for arrangements between divorcee parents about child care.

Interestingly, a major polluter and the most significant economic power of the world, the USA has not sent a single delegation to this conference. Without it, UN is trying to sit on a three legged chair. What is most concerning is that this country has people in power who are either deniers or passive supporter of business as usual paradigm and if you doubt it, please check what Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma state of US had said about COP 17 here .

I didn’t expect much from Durban and I shall not be looking expectantly at Doha either, but true to my premonitions the world is fast heading towards an impasse on Climate Justice which may create an environmental anarchy that only the most resilient people can see through. The population denominator, in this scene, will be more crucial than technical supremacy.

Image Credit: SustainAbility

Post Written by
Pabitra is an Honors graduate in Civil Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has specialized in the field of River Hydraulics working for more than two decades training rivers, protecting banks and beaches and fighting erosion of the river banks/beds. He has worked with Bio-Engineering models involving mangroves using them as tools for cost effective and natural means of anti-erosion technology.His work is mostly concerning the extremely morpho-dynamic Hugly estuary with Bay of Bengal In course of his work, he got exposed to indigenous people of the Sunderban wetlands, who are fighting a losing battle against aggressive Industrialization. Pabitra loves to read and write and he is full of crazy ideas. He is a Youth Leader and Adviser to Climate Himalaya. He is also a contributor member of THINK ABOUT IT platform of European Journalism Center and a winner of the recently concluded competitive blogging on Water. Pabitra believes that he has a tryst with the strange river-country south of Bengal.


  1. Here is the link. You may find the comments interesting. I go by Que on the comments:

    • Here is the article in the paper that inspired the editorial. Though Inhofe is from Tulsa, the scientists in the area have done a good job of keeping the facts in the paper and educating the editors.

  2. Scientists often criticize the media for not presenting the facts about climate change. Today, the Tulsa World showed great courage for defending the science and refuting Sen. Inhofe claim of “victory in his efforts to debunk man-made global warming as a hoax.”

    The editorial board’s statement is classic:

    “While there are scientists and politicians on both sides of the issue, those who see climate change as a genuine threat are mostly scientists and most of those who deny it are politicians.”