Ed Miliband, like Obama & others, missed the point at COP-15

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Whatever people say, UNFCCC-compliance is the point and it is the point of C&C
Unified Field, Movement & Rest, UNFCCC-Compliance

Mister and Misses-the-Point Ashton admire the view [and the costume jewellery] . . .

Update June 2013

Operation Costume Jewellery

On climate-change science/policy responses, the UK's principal 'professional-climate-diplomat' from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, John Ashton, recently described the UKMO and its 'HADgem climate-model' as the Jewel in the Crown

Which Queen wears that crown I wonder?

With apologies to Winston Churchill, this is not unlike saying that in the climate wars in which we have now become embroiled, the truth is so important that people need to be misled by a bodyguard of costume jewellery.

Master-Mandarin Cabinet-Secretary Sir Robin Butler knew a thing or two about 'positioning'.
When asked by a BBC journalist about Tony Blair, agent Curveball WMD and the Iraq Invasion, "did Tony Blair lie?"
He replied : - "He didn't lie; he simply deceived himself."

So what would he say about the UKMO's 'climate-modelling' I wonder?
They deceived themselves for Queen, Country, Agent Screwball and Operation Costume Jewellery?

  1. this CBAT sensitivity development
  2. is a complement to this evidence to the EAC Enquiry about the UK Climate Act [UKCA].

The main points show evidence of what amounts to a sustained conspiracy of planned failure in climate-politics which UKMO/HMG has played a key part to ensure the 'Chinese', the 'Indians' and other Developing Coutries are to blame for the failure.

Overal, since 1994, the UK Government's: -

Specifically in this evidence to the EAC Enquiry about the UK Climate Act [UKCA]: -

  1. pages 17/18 - UKMO puts negative feedback into the Climate Act as: - 'greater-than-100%-sink-efficiency-by-2050'
  2. pages 19/20 - concealed this 'greater-than-100%-sink-efficiency-by-2050' under a guise of claiming 'carbon-cycle modelling'
  3. pages 13/14 - admitted in 2010 that major feedback effects were in fact omitted from the climate models
  4. pages 06/07 - point three above surely renders 'greater-than-100%-sink-efficiency-by-2050' as false
  5. pages 07/08 - feedbacks are still are omitted in AR5 2013. [Nicholas Stern and UNEP are finally drawing attention to this]
  6. pages 25/25 - caused international political mayhem with this 'C&C-'convergence'-2050' agenda at COP-15
  7. pages 29/32 - are still aligning all this with the 'new' RCP scenarios informing IPCC AR5
  8. pages 33/34 - and are now saturating the 'peer-reviewed literature' with this disinformational material
  9. page 11 - and are still persisting with this failed 'C&C-2050-composite' agenda in AR5 WG

    Of point two [above] an Australian scientist-bureaucrat [who shall remain nameless] wrote recently,

    “ . . . and lo, the rate of absorption in one year by the ocean, forests and earth is greater than the rate of human emissions from fossil fuels in that year. Isn’t that wonderful. The UKMO has discovered a way to make negative emissions! [deep sarcasm].¬†Obviously anthropogenic CO2 emissions aren’t the problem we had feared. The Earth will clean itself up from our inconsiderate emissions by itself. Isn’t Gaia wonderful!”

    Considering what there is in prospect with climate change . . . there are things here to think about seriously and make you really wonder who is behind all this and why they are doing what they're doing.

    Moreover, if it is wondered how so many people could be misled within and beyond the IPCC, its worth bearing in mind that 'climate-modellers are a 'cell' of about just 0.01% of the IPCC community of 'climate-scientists' as a whole.

    Perhaps its not irrelevant that the UKMO Hadley Centre is bought and paid for by the UK Ministry of Defence.
    The 'deception' behind the Allied D-Day landings in WWII was known as operation bodyguard, a part of operation fortitude
    If operation bodyguard was used to defeat Nazism, what is operation costume jewellery being deployed to defeat?

[August 2012].

This page sets out the context between the 'Contraction & Convergence' of emissions logically needed by definition for UNFCCC-compliance and the response from Todd Stern and the UK's principal 'professional-climate-diplomat' from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, John Ashton.

Of changing climate, US negotiator Todd Stern said recently,

  1. " . . . the evidence is compelling."

  2. "For many countries, the core assumption about how to address climate change is that you negotiate a treaty with binding emission targets stringent enough to meet a stipulated global goal – namely, holding the increase in global average temperature to less than 2° centigrade above pre-industrial levels – and that treaty in turn drives national action.

  3. This is a kind of unified field theory [UFT] of solving climate change – get the treaty right; the treaty dictates national action; and the problem gets solved."

  4. "This is entirely logical. It makes perfect sense on paper. [Some commentators say UFT refers to C&C].
    The trouble is it ignores the classic lesson that politics * including international politics * is the art of the possible."

  5. "Nations, as a rule, do not act in ways they see as contrary to their core interests or in disregard of what a great British colleague of mine once described as their 'compelling constraints'.”

The 'compelling constraint' here is the increasing climate chaos that manifests from staying on the path that we are on.
Ten years ago, former IPCC chairman John Houghton had already called climate change a weapon of mass destruction.

But was John Ashton the 'Great British Colleague' mentioned by Todd Stern? There are grounds for this speculation.

During 10 years as the Government Special Climate Change Ambassador John Ashton insisted that, "C&C is compelling yet at its heart lurks a contestable ideological assumption." Now he has resigned he insists instead that, "C&C misses the point."

But for 10 years John missed the point of C&C. C&C is a logical proposition for negotiating UNFCCC-compliance to which there have been contestable ideological reactions with the addition of contestable economic computations. John's reactions lie herein.

After 17 years of 'negotiations' we are now causing the climate problem even faster than we were responding to correct it 17 years ago. "Trained as a physicist," nobody knows [or should know] this better than John Ashton.

In 2004 atmosphere CO2 concentrations were 376 ppmv. Today in 2012, atmosphere concentrations of CO2 are 393 ppmv
In other words just, in the 8 years since John joined the FCO, we've added another 133 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere.

UNFCCC-compliance requires that we have to reverse that and achieve sufficiency of doing enough soon enough. The odds for success are dwindling all the time. Again, nobody knows this better than John Ashton. The UN itself said in 2004 that "C&C is inevitably required" for UNFCCC-compliance. This is hardly missing the point. It is common sense.

However, in 2003 and before Mr Ashton was first recruited to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2004, he contributed to a Report published by the US PEW Centre.

Though he wrote there: -

"C&C is compelling. It offers a long-term architecture for an international emissions regime, potentially robust across several of the equity dimensions identified in this paper. It would not require developing countries to shift their immediate focus away from their basic needs: their emissions constraints would bite gradually as per capita emissions increased. And by emphasizing entitlements as well as commitments, it could help address the sense of inequity that arises from the unrequited “carbon debt” of past emissions by industrialized countries."

And he acknowledged that: -

"Any conceivable long-term solution to the climate problem will embody, at least in crude form, a high degree of contraction and convergence. Atmospheric concentrations of GHGs cannot stabilize unless total emissions contract; and emissions cannot contract unless per capita emissions converge."

He nonetheless launched an attack on C&C saying: -

"At its heart lurks a contestable ideological choice [equal per capita entitlements] there is no fundamental reason why the right to emit should be equally shared when access to other public goods is not. The practical question is not whether this is a reasonable scheme, but whether the quickest way to realize it is to base the next stage of the negotiations explicitly on it."

Ever since then he has continued with his ideologically-driven C&C rebuttal, as is evident in his recent resignation speech where he told the DECC Select Committee in Parliament that "C&C misses the point."[21 06 2012].

However, it is Mr Ashton who misses and who has consistently missed the point for ten years. Rushing around the planet telling people to raise their levels of ambition may keep his food chains functioning and it has yielded less than nothing. However, doing this has not supplanted the need to embed and conduct a measurement-process, goal-focused by the 'compelling constraint' of [read the absolute need for] UNFCCC-compliance.

UNFCCC-compliance is afterall *the point* and *it is the point of C&C*. Of all the proposals in play, C&C is the one that is least credibly accused of missing that point, because this is precisely what C&C is and was designed to do. For that reason it has also gathered much support.

In other words choosing C&C has nothing to do with the straw-man of 'C&C-ideology' that John Ashton decided to create and then to burn. This has just been self-serving establishment avoidance. Even when the UK Climate Act was signed into law into 2008 and many described it as a C&C Act the Government tried to avoid that with bluster and denial, but the Select Environmental Audit Committee of the UK House of Commons forced them into a retreat.

John Ashton served under Ed Milliband who was the Minister at the UK Department of Environment and Climate Change [DECC] at this time. Miliband oversaw the introduction into law of the UK Climate-Act in 2008. Contestable rates of C&C or not, this prescribed a global convergence-rate to equal per capita shares globally that completed by 2050. This rate of convergence was inside a global emissions budget of 480 Gt C, where the contraction rate that peaked in 2016 and then declined to zero emissions by the end of the Century. It was obviously the 'Unified Field' of C&C and Government figures drew ridicule for trying to deny it.

Miliband gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Select Committee [EAC] in October 2009, more than a year after the Climate Act had been in force and on the eve of taking the rates of C&C in the UK Climate-Act to COP-15 in Copenhagen in December 2009. At COP-15 the UK Government's C&C 'prescription' became known as the 'Danish Draft' and it was put forward by a group of Governments led by the UK, who claimed it would avoid exceeding an overal temperature rise of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial.

Probably not realizing fully at that moment from the EAC coordinates of what was to come, Tim Yeo the EAC Chairman at the time [now in 2012 the chairman of the DECC Committee] innocently asked witness Miliband [printed page 110], "Will C&C feature in the negotiations at COP-15?"

"I think probably not is the answer," replied Mr Miliband. He went on, "I do not think that will form the basis of an agreement. I think that there is a sort of attractive justice element to the contraction and convergence idea. The complexity of it, though, is what is the point at which convergence takes place and what do we say about different countries' levels of growth at that point, GDP, how should we adjust for different weather conditions and all that?

Like John Ashton, Mr Miliband too missed the point at COP-15

Our Climate & Energy Minister at the time, in fact Miliband missed a whole range of points.

For example he appeared to be completely unaware that a convergence date of 2050 had already been turned into UK Law with UK Climate Act! This was an act largely scripted by DECC and the Climate Change Committee.

He was also apparently unaware that the Chinese Government had proposed immediate convergence of emissions entitlements in July 2009.

In other words, the issue of being flexible - negotiable - on the rate of convergence [what Ross Garnaut came to call "the main equity lever"] was fundamental to the view of many including the Chinese, but beyond the comprehension of the UK Minister with responsibility, the UK Government and its roving Climate Ambassador John Ashton.

Would this pair of gentlemen both also have been completely unaware that the UK Climate Act also embeds the UKMO calculation/assertion that with its carbon-budget of "2016 4% Low" [the package they tried to sell at COP-15] it also included CO2 concentrations peaking and then falling after 2050 [i.e. the miracle of more than 100% sink-efficiency within 40 years]? It seems more than likely they would have been unaware of this too.

We were nearer to C&C consensus at COP-3 in 1997 when ppmv CO2 were around 360. The US, China, India and the Africa Group began a C&C-based detente. By COP-15 in 2009 however, and with ppmv around 390, instead of the UK Government providing clear global leadership with clear advocacy of C&C principle, they used their prescription to drive an even deeper wedge into the increasingly dangerous global disagreement.

This Ministerial ignorance existed and was deployed while John Ashton our Climate-Ambassador was in post. Talk about missing the point. When the UK took its Climate Act to COP-15 in Copenhagen 2009. Rather than showing a willingness to negotiate these rates, they tabled it as a 'rates prescription and they were volubly rebuffed by all developing countries as attempting to sieze the lion's share of what was left and it was a fair criticism.

And the point is the UK and their friends missed the point - negotiation [and not prescription] of the C&C rationale, is unavoidably necessary for achieving the global detente needed for UNFCCC-compliance and prescription just poisons the wells. All this would have occurred with the knowledge - if perhaps not the comprehension - of John Ashton.

Mr Miliband came home from the fiasco at COP-15 that he and DECC largely caused with their prescription, and using the Guardian newspaper, incredibly accused the Chinese Government of having wrecked the COP-15 negotiations, because they had rejected DECC's prescription that the convergence rate complete only by 2050.

Again they missed the point and again all this had to have occurred with the knowledge John Ashton. Moreover, the obvious scientific and political falsity of the UK Government's claims to satisfy the demands of equity and urgency

In other words, the UK did not just miss the point, at COP-15 they missed the boat.

Technically the global dimension of the UK Climate Act embeds the following serious and politically loaded errors: -

  1. Over a 100-year carbon-contraction-budget [totalling 480 Gt Carbon 2000 - 2100], carbon-concentrations are projected as falling from 2050 [i.e. the unsupported absurdity of more than 100% sink-efficiency within 40 years].
  2. With some absurd self-contradition, increasing ocean acidification is projected to cease from 2050 as a result
  3. Global convergence to equal per capita shares completes in 2050 by when 80% of the budget has been consumed.

Is it really surprising that this prescriptive, technically flawed and politically provocative 'C&C scenario' resulted in outright rejection by Developing Country Governments, especially China.

With the C&C proposal and why so many people have 'chosen it' is because it is non-random and it is a flexible negotiation tool and can yet resolve the bitter North/South row over 'equity' that has raged at the UNFCCC for the last twenty years on the basis of negotiation. John Ashton was aware of all this, as I briefed him at a meeting with him in the FCO in 2007. His attitude was simply to dismiss it.

The epistemological point has always been that C&C is not a belief system. As was made clear to him, C&C is simply a rational and unfalsifiable calculating procedure rooted in the work of IPCC WG1. At the same time and pragmatically it is a negotiating-tool for negotiators at the UNFCCC seeking agreement to settle their differences as they quantify, agree and then achieve UNFCCC-compliance. It has much institutional support and IGO support.

The reasons consistently put forward by John Ashton and others for feigning not to see any of this is simple: they say they don't believe an agreement is possible or perhaps even necessary. Their approach remains the belief that an uncountable - and unaccountable - process of capital and technology with a window-dressing of wise words that talks up and aspires to UNCCC-compliance [whatever that may turn out to be] is sufficient and therefore beyond the need for any scrutiny.

Sadly this is not the case. Longtime scrutiny of this 'belief system' shows it is recipe to ensure that we do too little too late. In other words with the strategy of miss-the-point, one has to wonder if it is deliberate - an agenda of planned failure.

However, while many problem-deniers and solution-deniers, i.e. those who practice C&C-denial may not want to be seen in this light, they will be. They don't really want an agreement, let alone one that is inclusive, transparent and sufficient in the way that the C&C basis illuminates and makes possible. They don't want C&C because it puts a framework around their guesswork and shines a political light on the futility of their casino economics.

So they have created a C&C straw man where, in their roulette mentality, C&C is not a rational proposition at all, it is an ideologically loaded proposal. Therefore - take it or leave it - C&C is an ideological 'belief system' with at its core this contestable ideological choice. However elegant it doesn't work in what's left of their 'real world' of [what economist Ross Garnaut calls], "contestable computations based on economic variables."

Like the Spanish Inquisition, this straw-man burning is incontestable and absolutist. It demands a blind-faith in the quite chaotic 'belief system' of these solution-deniers. It means that we are all told to continue to take them on trust as on all our behalf they try and guess our collective way through the UNFCCC negotiations with prescriptions that crumble in favour of a collective market-based phantasy that is unguided by any accounting rationale linked to UNFCCC-compliance whatseover.

Lurking at the heart of this chaotic approach is the non-explicit right of its proponents to insist that we must go on being irrational, no matter what the outcome. This is quietly accompanied by the right to blame the 'other side' for the failure they co-generate, which more and more makes the failure seem intentional.

From COP-17 onwards we now all inevitably face this failure as we refuse to progress beyond their 'not-me-guv' belief system. Failure is inevitable unless we adjust in favour of global emission-account reconciliation and adoption of the rational C&C negotiating-tool that makes success with UNFCCC-compliance possible. This they refuse.

In fact John Ashton's colleague Tom Burke absolutely refused to believe [let-alone discuss] that the Chinese Government had argued for accelerated convergence before COP-15, in other words the arguments laid out here. Rio Tinto Zinc [for whom Tom, Burke also works] actually co-funded the report!

Ashton, Burke and others have now given way to the aspirational, numberless and goal-free smoke-screen of 'Green Growth'. Its an 'I have the end-of-history dream' where politics and policy has been replaced by 'the market' and everyone goes shopping. From his boardroom seats at Shell and Unilever Tom Burke remaining concern is in now calling in the BMJ for an 'insurgency' of the under 40's against the over 40's - Cultural Revolution! Corporate America should be purring.

Had DECC, HMG et al had made progress since 2003 in the right direction at UNFCCC, we might well not have been having these increasingly desperate discussions and negotiations now. But sadly the progress has been in the wrong direction. We continue to cause the problem faster than we evolve the solution and this ratio of the rate-of-the problem to the-rate-of-the-solution is even worse now than it was in 2003-1997-1992 etc. and international discord increases with every COP. So the need to see that the chips are down is there, even more greatly than before and Tom Burke must surely realize that calls for 'Cultural Revolution' doesn't cut it, as its just more risible and rhetorical fluff.

C&C has a lot of support. By choosing the C&C rationale as a principle, requires us all - subject to the limit in the UNFCCC-objective - to agree to negotiate, and not just prescribe, the rate of convergence [with India China Africa etc al] as we tried and failed at doing at COP-15. [See Ed Miliband's hopeless and ridiculous comments here].

China was very clear before COP-15: - they start from the position of immediate convergence to equality of entitlements. It is crass to just pretend that the Chinese Government didn't do this [especially as we are in Beijing right now begging them to re-finance our Eurozone Crisis!]. At base-level C&C is a response to the question, 'what alternative is there for getting agreement?'

Clearly the Ashton/Burke/HMG/DECC etc-etc/whoever/whatever 'alternative' has been to generate more [not less] international 'disagreement' and discord and this is all as time runs out. None of that removes the inevitable requirements that we will have to negotiate [and not prescribe] the rate-of-convergence. As many now say, there is no alternative.

But, in a phrase from 'yes-minister', though the chips are going down, DECC/HMGs civil servants seem still hell-bent on trying to ensure that the chips are staying up.