Postcard from Bangkok

This is a guest blog from Oxfam NZ’s executive director Barry Coates, in Bangkok for the latest round of negotiations in the run-up to Copenhagen. Barry sets the scene:

Tcktcktck. The clock counts down to the deadline for climate change negotiations. Not to achieve an agreement is unthinkable. It was good last week to hear the speeches of heads of state at the UN meeting in New York saying how committed they are to a deal. But the key question is how. It is not easy to negotiate a hugely important global deal amongst 192 countries. And especially since climate science demands that there be a dramatic transformation of economic activity worldwide.

That’s the scene setting for UN negotiations on climate change that started yesterday in Bangkok. There are 15 days of negotiations before the Copenhagen conference and hundreds of pages of densely typed documents. The challenge? Distill it all down to about 30 pages, agree on some of the key issues and avoid a massive greenwash.

The past 24 hours shows how hard this will be. The opening was, as usual, marked by fine sounding speeches. My favourite was the Thai Prime Minister saying there is no Plan B, only Plan F where ‘f’ is for fail.

But even before the day had ended the good vibes had been replaced by a fight between the US (supported by other rich countries) and India (supported by most of the developing countries). The issue is whether the developing countries need to take on legally binding obligations or whether they have obligations that are different to those of the rich countries (as is provided for in the mandate for these negotiations agreed in Bali almost two years ago).

The lines are drawn tightly in these negotiations. Most of the dynamic is between the two blocs, ignoring the fundamental point that we will all be in deep trouble if there is no global agreement. The casualty is trust and cooperation.

So not much progress yet. I am a part of the Oxfam delegation here, working both inside and outside the convention centre. I must say that the real fun is happening amongst the myriad of groups who have joined in the tcktcktck coalition across South-East Asia. I am also on the board of the tcktcktck campaign so it’s great to be joining with activists from across the region.

It’s not all bad though. I had time to walk through the Bangkok markets near our high rise hotel. It’s a great grounding in the high levels of poverty that exists in this society. And in the vulnerability to climate change that has just struck hard in Manila. The images of people’s lives being devastated in the Philippines has been a really useful reminder of the humanity behind the negotiations. If these negotiations don’t work, there will be many millions more suffering under climate change in the future.

65 thoughts on “Postcard from Bangkok”

  1. Hey dogface, any comment from your lying crowd on the ultimate debunking of the Briffa bristlecones or are you going to do a realclimate censorship to these posts?
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7168
    Before you go on about climate cranks etc, Steve McIntyre has forgotten more on statiscal analysis than you will ever know. This includes Mann, Deltoid Tim etc.
    To put it politely Mann, Briffa et all cherry picked the data required to make the hockey stick from Yamal Bristlecones. As a scientist I call this, data farification or in computer terms bullshit in bullshit out.
    Like Oxfam & others,they rely on these lies to subdue the truth on GW to make us feel guility & think of Carbon Footprints. Copenhagen will be rendered more impotent that it was orginally going to be.
    I am a prowd denier.

    1. Peter Bickle, I think most of us are aware of the latest turd stench circulating around the denialosphere. Climatefraudit has been at this for a while now. Mc Intyre’s lies are nothing new, you just happen to be stupid enough to believe it.

      It probably escapes an idiot like you that Paleoclimatology involves more than bristlecone tree-rings. Witness:

      Mann et al (2008)

      “Our results extend previous conclusions that recent Northern Hemisphere surface temperature increases are likely anomalous in a long-term context. Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years WHETHER OR NOT TREE-RING DATA ARE USED. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years, but with additional strong caveats”

        1. “When you have to rely on Mann your case is shot.” – Roger.

          When you have to rely on innuendo, lies, and muckraking (as you do) then your brain is shot.

  2. Don’t call me illerterite Carol, you are just a beleiver in what you are told. See the AGW defenders are out to attack. Go look at the analysis from Steve mc B4 you critse me. [Edited] Also I got a higher MSc Chemistry award than Doug Mackie. So go call others illertirate B4 you accuse me of such.

    [Peter: moderate your language, or I’ll edit your posts more severely.]

    1. Another Hockey stick with no tree-ring data either. Doh!.

      http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/abs/ngeo390.html

      “Here we use a diatom record from El Junco Lake, Galápagos, to produce a calibrated, continuous record of sea surface temperature in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean at subdecadal resolution, SPANNING THE PAST 1200 YEARS. Our reconstruction reveals that THE MOST RECENT 50 YEARS ARE THE WARMEST 50-YEAR PERIOD WITHIN THE RECORD.”

  3. Dapple – Mann’s credibilty has been shite since about 2005 after the NAS hearings, so quote someone else, vested interest here matey, bit like the oil barons eh, eh. But the fact is Briffa’s data is wrong & it has been used by Mann etc to set their socialist agends for the past 5-10 years.

    1. You would be comical, if you weren’t so tragic. More evidence of the desperation of the denialists. Go and chat with the clowns (otherwise known as “hosts” ) on talkback radio.

  4. “Mann’s credibilty has been shite since about 2005 after the NAS hearings” – P. Bickle

    Oh sure, denialist bloggers say he has no credibility, and you believe them?. How amusing – that’s called gossip. Is that why he still publishes in peer-reviewed journals?. Excluding that oil magazine, how peer-reviewed journals has McIntyre been published in?. Ahem. Didn’t Nature tell him to piss off with his garbage?.

    And the NAS, in typical wishy -washy fashion, affirmed most of the conclusions of the earlier study, but not all:

    “Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee fnds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.”

    But maybe you were referring to some other NAS?.

    Those losers M&M have been at this for years, and they’ve only convinced suckers like you, the scientific community finds them irrelevant because they do no research, have no climate science background (they don’t understand the significance of the proxy data), and merely muck rake on blog sites.

    I point out that other studies don’t use tree-ring data and still end up with a hockey stick, and what have you got?. “It’s a socialist agenda.” Exactly how long have you been this stupid?.

  5. Peter, Peter, Peter,
    You seem a little het up.
    Is there something you want to share with us?
    I concede my PhD is probably worth less than it might be having come from an institution that also awarded one to Bob Carter.

    Nevertheless, full marks to Peter for posting under his own name.
    I suspect most of the denialist posters here are sock puppets. So it is refreshing to have posts from one who owns his opinions and is willing to be held to them in the future.

  6. This is supposed to be a thread about negotiations in Bangkok…

    Re McIntyre: I shall await publication of his findings in a peer-reviewed journal. If past history is anything to go by, I may be waiting a long time.

        1. More cosmic rays = more clouds = higher planetary albedo = greater reflection of incoming solar radiation = global cooling.

          Perhaps, for you, the cosmic rays do not exist. I know Svensmark is not to your taste! Seen a sunspot recently?

  7. “The latest international scientist to advocate caution is German
    academic Mojib Latif, a climate modeller and a lead author to the last
    two reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He
    told a recent UN World Climate Conference that some of the warming in
    the last three decades was probably due to factors other than CO2
    emissions and that, in the absence of any warming for a decade, it is
    now likely there will be ‘one or even two decades during which
    temperatures cool’.

    With these for friends who needs enemies?

    1. It’s a good thing that few people are as short sighted as you are Roger.

      It’s true that there are other forcing factors than CO2. The cooling effect of major Volcanoes erupting, for instance. It’s also possible that at times – very unpredictably – the climate changes all by itself. But these factors are all overlaid on top of an overall warming trend produced by more GHG. So while things like that might be a godsend in the short term – they are not going to save the planet.

      And you sure wouldn’t want to bet the planet on them happening indefinitely.

      1. And you sure wouldn’t want to bet the planet on them happening indefinitely.

        One thing that I will bet on is that you, Gareth and the readers of this blog will make not the smallest bit of difference to the climate even if, by some mischance, you manage to influence our politicians.

        1. Heh. I take it you have an accurate physical model of cause and effect between blogging and climate change, that leads you to make your remark with such certainty. I look forward to reading the paper.

      2. “It’s true that there are other forcing factors than CO2.”

        Bully for you. You have taken the first step in the right direction. Now all you have to remember is that the sun, that bright orange thing in the sky sometimes, has something to do with it. I do not want to bother you with cosmic rays just yet. Just let the general idea that the sun has go something to do with climate find a resting place in that empty space between your ears.

        1. Your posts really make me laugh. You need to eat your own dogfood. I actually used to believe that, but I investigated with an open mind, did some reading etc.

          There is a good term for theories of Solar forcing, as well as Svensgard & others’ theory of Cosmic Rays and cloud formation affecting climate so – historical.

  8. You have your money on the last runner in this race Sambo.

    “Treasury call signals time to cool off on emissions trading

    The time has surely come for a cooling off period for proposals to start greenhouse gas emission reductions in New Zealand, according to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. The Coalition statement says that rejection by Treasury of the government’s own regulatory impact statement that forms part of the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill, as not providing “an adequate basis for informed decision-making” should be a wake-up call to all New Zealanders about what the Coalition describes as “this headlong rush into economic upheaval on grounds that are not justified by science, commonsense or anything else.” “

  9. >This is supposed to be a thread about negotiations in Bangkok…

    Pull the other one Gareth. Half of this is about selling your book and the other half about peddling your obsession.

    Anything goes.

    1. Roger, the comments under this article (or any article on the blog) are supposed to be about the subject of the post — not whatever takes your fancy. Those are the house rules — if you don’t like them, get your own house.

      I am a very tolerant host, but I have my limits…

  10. Hard to put it better:

    “I hope that everyone reads Wattsupwiththat daily. All its postings are interesting, but there is an explosive series of articles here, now, (and at Climateaudit) dealing with the tree-ring proxies on which the whole “global warming” story is based. Basically, our economies are being threatened by 12 tree rings. That is how many were used to create the infamous “hockey stick” showing uncontrollable warming, etc. Data from those 12 tree rings were cherry-picked (is that expression used in NZ?), and when the analysis was repeated with ALL the samples taken at the same time as the 12, there was no hint of a hockey stick shape. Read all the postings and you’ll understand what I am saying. I feel that you should be fighting CO2 control measures by showing that there is zero credibility in the hypothesis that CO2 is responsible for the climate because the initial scare was based on a fraud.”

    Go and look. Your knitting is unraveling. Oh dear, the PC ladies (?) do not knit these days. They would be much more useful if they did. Carol?

    1. Pop, pop, pop goes Roger, sprinking the comments section with rubbish.

      There are already comments on this post about the tree-ring data being confirmed by other sources, yet you ignore that. As for your sleights at Mann and the hockey stick, you’re no doubt referring to issues raised by Von Storch et al. (2004) and answered years ago (recent commentary to be found on RealClimate) – it’s quite amazing how far back some denialist theories can be dated.

      As for Watts, he has his very own Crock of the Week episode – showing how the “How not to measure temperature” series of posts didn’t uncover anything.

    2. So now that McIntyre has made it clear that he never implied that the 12 tree-rings were cherry-picked, will WattsUpWithMyBrain and the rest retract their accusations of fraud? Yeah, right.

  11. Gareth, I think you’re losing control here – if you want to have a sensible discussion on your blog post you need to enforce stricter comment guidelines. I for one was hoping to find an interesting discussion on the topic of the article but by the time I get to the bottom of the comments I really can’t be bothered engaging with the drivel. Even if you don’t feel able to ban the regular abusers, at least enforce a strict on-topic policy.

    1. There is only one agenda here. That is the promotion of AGW. If you really want to censor the other POV then go ahead and do so. However, if you do so, your credibility, such as it is, will take a dive.

          1. Scroll to the top of the page and read the post. On-topic: anything to do with international negotiations on emissions reductions, NZ’s role, perhaps even the city of Bangkok itself (I recommend the Blue Elephant).

    2. Billy, I appreciate the signal-to-noise problem, but I’m very reluctant to be too prescriptive in my comment policy — partly because sometimes really good conversations do stray from the original topic, and partly because I don’t like censorship in any form.

      I did experiment with providing a bulletin board/forum where people could exchange ideas and views, start their own topics and so on, but after an initial flurry of interest it became moribund. It could be revived, I suppose…

      There’s also the possibility that I could move the blog’s comment system over to the Intense Debate system, which allows for comment voting/rating, so Roger/Wrathall/Treadgold could find their own level, as it were… I’ll think on’t.

  12. Gareth, the way your acolytes grovel at the altar of AGW can only be a subject for amusement. They are, it seems, a bunch of schoolchildren, recent graduates and schoolteachers. None have any real world experience. All rely on the printed word in e ‘refereed journal’. The refereed journal is that to which obeissance must be paid. If the article is refereed, even if by Michael Mann, it must be given the status of the Bible. However the Bible and the Koran have been ‘refereed and obeissance paid to them for some 2000 years. Nevertheless they are still bullshit! Perhaps if you and your grovelling acolytes could substantiate their opinions with some real world experience they might have a little more credibility.

    1. If “real world experience” is what allows you to ignore the reality of climate change, then it must be a different planet. Perhaps the one that Bob Carter appears to be on?

      1. I have no problem with climate change as I and others have told you many times. It is just your obsession that it is all due to carbon dioxide that is the problem. There are better explanations for climate change. It is just that they do not suit the would be Hitlers of this world.

  13. I agree with Billy too. I’m thoroughly sick of Roger’s tedious, ignorant and pointless (and occasionally sexist) contributions derailing the discussion.

    1. You cannot deal with the increasingly awkward reality can you? You need a rapidly warming world to support your case. Your difficulty is that it is getting cooler. Furthermore Svensmark has provided a better explanation than you have. All you can do is shout abuse and that is exactly what you and the others are doing.

  14. No, I vote leave him on, he’s doing more damage to his cause than we can. And I suspect the Bangkok negotiations and the upcoming Copenhagen conference have got these clowns in a panic, hence the increase in volume.
    Although I don’t think Copenhagen will deliver anything near what is needed, it will at least start the process and for plonkers like Roger it’s down hill all the way. And every new disaster that’s reported (dust-storms, earthquakes, Tsunami’s, floods etc) knocks another wheel of their little fantasy.

    1. Just dream on.

      “And every new disaster that’s reported (dust-storms, earthquakes, Tsunami’s, floods etc) knocks another wheel of their little fantasy.”

      You are shooting yourself in the foot sonny! Earthquakes indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. You are shooting yourself in the foot sonny! Earthquakes indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        So true Roger, but sadly for you it all scares the bejeezes out of the great unwashed and they tend to lump it all together. You know, like the world is going to hell in a handcart, all bad news for you I’m afraid.

    2. How about a Dewhurst thread — all to himself? Much like Tim at Deltoid gives Tim Curtin his own place to post…

      OK: Let’s give it a try.

      Roger, I’m going to post an item called Dewhurst’s Den, and you will be able to post whatever you like there (provided you meet normal rules of politeness etc). Any comments you make to any other post will be deleted. Anyone who wants to engage with Roger can do so there.

      1. Fast work there Gareth. Seems like a reasonable compromise between Roger’s right to free speech and everyone else’s right to a civilised, on-topic discussion.

  15. Someone said once that the Irish invented the bagpipes and gave them to the Scots, but the Scots have not seen the joke yet.

    Michael Mann gave you the hockey stick …………………………….

  16. Back to the topic of the post… My thought (hope?) is that this is normal jockeying for position but that both sides are seriously engaged on the need to reach an agreement at Copenhagen. From what I have read (can’t remember where) India has realised that it is probably going to be one of the worst hit by climate change (eg loss of water) and that it has to take a leading role in turning things around. But on the other hand it is patently unfair (and politically impossible) for them to make heavier sacrifices than the US and other developed countries when their emissions to date have been so much smaller. It seems to me that ultimately the US/developed countries are going to have to accept some kind of compromise solution in which developing countries are effectively compensated for not emitting much CO2 in the past. The big argument of course is how much, and that’s probably the main point of all the present posturing…

  17. “I had time to walk through the Bangkok markets near our high rise hotel. It’s a great grounding in the high levels of poverty that exists in this society. And in the vulnerability to climate change …”

    Correction: their vulnerability to NGO apparatchiks prepared to sacrifice these peoples’ dreams of a life with less backbreaking drudgery, and access to economical, reliable energy. He thinks the Thais (or Chinese, Indians…) are going to return to their rice farms and rely on windmills?

    1. No Steve, you miss the bigger picture, under the UNFCCC current negotiating text large sums of OUR money will go to these nations to build there windmills (mitigation fund) and to rebuild their cities after typhoons (adaptation fund). This is about ‘social justice’. So while us in New Zealand and other Annex-1 nations will lose a significant chunk of our income others will benefit. Think of it as kinda global tax and wealth transfer.

        1. I think you are confusing equity with equality.

          We are a small nation in the outer corners of the world. It would be great if we could send aid to every starving person unfortunate enough to be born in a nation suffering from years of bad government. However we can not. Even if we gave every cent were earned it would not be a drop in the bucket.

          However, we are free to donate our own wealth as individuals to whoever we want. Many New Zealander’s do.

          We do not need Government or the UN to force this on us. Particularly those who are suffering from poverty in our own country. This is where we can make a difference and perhaps where the focus should be.

  18. Equity has a place in my world but we do not have enough to go around, especially after the last year. I am not interested in building windmills in Africa for power, they can do this themselves by raising their own money thru exports. As Darwin said, ‘survival of the fittest.’
    The UN is all about wealth transfer under the guise of aid. They can go away as far as I am concerned, the govt nicks enough tax as it is.

    1. “As Darwin said, ’survival of the fittest.”

      The problem for you sunshine is that you are not the fittest. And I might point out that (Africa) only needs windmills for power so that it can produce the endless crap that clowns like you need to survive.

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