Disturbing is the fact that those who are working through the process of negotiation and goal-setting on human emissions limits have abandoned any position that creates backlash that they don't know how to address. I can see why it's turned into acting like politicians with endless justifications for that, but I think that's fatal in the case of establishing bounds on carbon emissions - which is the whole point of the global exercise! Someone has to forge leadership under the hardest problem the human race has ever inflicted on itself.
It makes me think of the nuclear brinksmanship of the '60's. How can any kid forget the "dive under the desk" drills that were pathetically useless but made people think that somehow they were taking effective action? That was just crowd control. This is starting to look like the same kind of an exercise, but the stakes are far, far higher and it can't go on like this. We are looking at a future of resource shocks and global conflict over diminishing worldwide resources that were initially exacerbated by global trade and cheap oil.
Where is the leadership, the intelligence and the solution-making consensus? Somebody over there at UNFCCC has got to get a grip. There are models out there for the Precautionary Principle, even entire adopted practices and regulations, it's not that hard and is a very effective "standard of care" that would tamp down a lot of criticism. It's like the Hippocratic Oath, "do no harm" - which is where professional standards of care come from. The UNFCCC doesn't even know it exists, apparently.
What folks are failing to understand is that decisions and policies forged under the Precautionary Principle can always shift as the science and understanding of all the complex factors become more clear, because there's room to maneuver and accommodate more information. This kind of a position is on solid ground. The way they're operating now, it's already too late because they're ignoring scientific reality to accommodate politics.
That's why the US is going its own way, but that doesn't work on a global basis, as has been abundantly made clear; a consensus is required for this to work as a solution to a global problem. Maybe a General Eisenhower or MacArthur will emerge out of all this before too much longer and drag everybody in that direction.
For example, there's a call to action in Orion magazine. California is facing definite climate changes that require dealing with emissions. Gorbachev is now urging global action because of the failure to address climate change:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that among his top hopes for 2013 is reaching a new agreement on climate change. Two-decade-old U.N. climate talks have so far failed in their goal of reducing the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that a vast majority of scientists says are warming the planet.