Kyoto Protocol Extended, Only Covers Fraction Of Emissions

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Seeking to control global warming, nearly 200 countries agreed Saturday to extend the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits the greenhouse gas output of some rich countries, but will only cover about 15 percent of global emissions.

The extension was adopted by a U.N. climate conference after hard-fought sessions and despite objections from Russia. The package of decisions also included vague promises of financing to help poor countries cope with climate change, and an affirmation of a previous decision to adopt a new global climate pact by 2015.

Though expectations were low for the two-week conference in Doha, many developing countries rejected the deal as insufficient to put the world on track to fight the rising temperatures that are shifting weather patterns, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. Some Pacific island nations see this as a threat to their existence.

“This is not where we wanted to be at the end of the meeting, I assure you,” said Nauru Foreign Minister Kieren Keke, who leads an alliance of small island states. “It certainly isn’t where we need to be in order to prevent islands from going under and other unimaginable impacts.”

The 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.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which controls the emissions of rich countries, is considered the main achievement of the negotiations, even though the U.S. rejected it because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on China and other emerging economies.

Kyoto was due to expire this year, so failing to agree on an extension would have been a major setback for the talks. Despite objections from Russia, which opposed rules limiting its use of carbon credits, the accord was extended through 2020 to fill the gap until a wider global treaty is expected to take effect.

However, the second phase only covers about 15 percent of global emissions after Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia opted out.

The decisions in Doha mean that in future years, the talks can focus on the new treaty, which is supposed to apply to both rich and poor countries. It is expected to be adopted in 2015 and take effect five years later, but the details haven’t been worked out yet.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern highlighted one of the main challenges going forward when he said the U.S. couldn’t accept a provision in the Doha deal that said the talks should be “guided” by principles laid down in the U.N.’s framework convention for climate change.

That could be interpreted as a reference to the firewall between rich and poor countries that has guided the talks so far, but which the U.S. and other developed countries say must be removed going forward.

“We are now on our way to the new regime,” European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. It definitely wasn’t an easy ride, but we managed to cross the bridge.”

“Hopefully from here we can increase our speed,” she added. “The world needs it more than ever.”

The goal of the U.N. talks is to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius), compared to preindustrial times. Temperatures have already risen about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 Celsius) above that level, according to the latest report by the U.N.’s top climate body.

A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are on track to rise by up to 7.2 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) by the year 2100.

“For all of the nations wrestling with the new reality of climate change – which includes the United States – this meeting failed to deliver the goods,” said Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“At the end of the day, ministers were left with two unpalatable choices: accept an abysmally weak deal, or see the talks collapse in acrimony and despair — with no clear path forward,” Meyer said.

Poor countries came into the talks in Doha demanding a timetable on how rich countries would scale up climate change aid for them to $100 billion annually by 2020 — a general pledge that was made three years ago.

But rich nations, including the United States, members of the European Union and Japan are still grappling with the effects of a financial crisis and were not interested in detailed talks on aid in Doha.

The agreement on financing made no reference to any mid-term financing targets, just a general pledge to “identify pathways for mobilizing the scaling up of climate finance.”

Tim Gore, climate policy adviser at British aid group Oxfam said the Doha deal imperiled the lives and livelihoods of the world’s poorest communities, who are the most vulnerable to shifts in climate.

“It’s nothing short of betrayal of the responsibilities of developed countries,” he said. “We are now in the red zone in fighting climate change.”

Small island nations scored a victory by getting the conference to adopt a text on “loss and damage,” a relatively new concept which relates to damages from climate-related disasters.

Island nations under threat from rising sea levels have been pushing for some mechanism to help them cope with such natural catastrophes, but the United States has pushed back over concerns it might be held liable for the cleanup bill since it is the world’s second-biggest emitter behind China.


Karl Ritter can be reached at and Michael Casey Casey at

China’s Wanxiang wins auction for U.S. govt-backed A123

WILMINGTON, Del., Dec 8 (Reuters) – China’s largest maker of
auto parts won a politically sensitive auction for A123 Systems
Inc, a bankrupt maker of batteries for electric cars
that was funded…

Defining A Growth Hacker: Debunking The 6 Most Common Myths About Growth Hacking

Aaron Ginn

In this series titled “Defining a growth hacker,” I explore the meaning and practical application of growth hacking through a number of interviews with prominent growth hackers. This is the fifth and final post in the series. The previous posts are as follows: common characteristics among growth hackers here, growth hacking’s impact on marketing here and product here, and how to build a growth into a team here.

With any buzz, popular sentiment can become detached from reality. Thought leaders in a burgeoning space can be blown up with grand expectations that can embellish the truth that lies underneath the surface.

Today, growth has become a regular topic of conversation in Silicon Valley. More and more startups are looking to hire growth hackers or to develop their own growth strategies. However, there are a handful of myths about the purpose and function of growth hacking itself that have gained traction. In this article, I will explore six of the more common myths ones that serve to misconstrue growth hacking methods and goals and set false expectations.

Myth No. 1: Growth Hacking Is A Cheat Sheet Of Secrets On Growth

Reality: The “secret” is the mindset, not the toolset.

Growth hackers are often viewed as the key part of a secret recipe to create a rocketship startup. Growth is frequently viewed as something like a book of “secrets” on how to find and leverage channels. These “secrets” are locked away in the mind of a growth hacker, but this myth masks growth as magical dust over hard work and prioritization.

“Often, my suggestions are like basic product marketing because it’s never about a particular trick,” said Jesse Farmer of DevBootcamp.

The magic of a growth hacker is not a mysterious power but rather a mindset that focuses on what most startups deprioritize: distribution. When a growth hacker lends advice, it will most likely jog your memory of features left on the product backburner. With an endless list of possible product roadmaps, growth features tend to be forgotten and under-optimized until it matters most.

Dave McClure, founder of 500 startups, said that most startup founders focus heavily on product but most of a startup’s risk lies in distribution.

Myth No. 2: A Growth Hacker Is A Quick Fix For A Company’s Problems

Reality: Growth hacking is not done overnight and cannot solve systemic product issues. 

Growth does not happen overnight. It is iterative. Viral-type growth is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It cannot be applied from company to company as an add-on. “Not everything can be made viral,” said Michael Birch, co-founder of Bebo. “A great deal of perseverance is required. There are a huge number of failed experiments before success. There is a fine line between failure and success.”

There are different types of growth — small wins and big wins. Growth hackers look beyond the obvious optimizations into deep product assumptions and usage for a feature that will be a game changer. This means that growth cannot be something that is tacked on easily, especially when understanding the importance of user retention to growth.

“If you are trying to hire a growth hacker, don’t hire one that only does A/B testing and focuses on the local maxima,” said Nabeel Hyatt, venture partner at Spark Capital. “Find a growth hacker that can ask the deeper questions and find the long-run sustainable growth path for your product.”

Answering these deeper product questions steepens the learning curve through a relentless focus on moving metrics and fast iterations. Tactically, a good growth strategy is found through testing, not reading a book.

“It is like investing in the stock market. If there were some formula for success, those that knew the formula wouldn’t talk about it,” said Ivan Kirigin, who worked on growth at Dropbox. “I think all these strategies are about creating a process to learn as much as you can as fast as possible which makes winning far more likely.”

Myth No. 3: Growth Hacking Is A New Thing

Reality: Growth hacking is not an entirely new thing.

Hi5, Slide, Bebo, Facebook, and LinkedIn were some of the first teams to have a strong emphasis on user growth and engagement, long before the phrase “growth hacking” was coined.

“Definitely not a new thing; it’s just a new title,” said Birch. “We have a name for it now, but it has been happening for a while,” added Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics.

While the pursuit of viral growth has been a focus since the dawn of the web, Birch said that the best product teams have always focused on growth, especially since the Facebook platform was announced in 2008.

Myth No. 4: Growth Hacking Is Marketing

Reality: Growth hacking has marketing goals but different tactics.

Growth comes from a well-executed and data-driven product strategy, not a marketing strategy. Greg Tseng, co-founder of Tagged, said that growth hackers should be involved in anything that touches product — from design to engineering.

Both marketers and growth hackers have common goals; they work closely together on a daily basis to push metrics in different ways. However, growth hackers are looking for growth through product utilization and product iterations instead of a marketers’ outbound- and inbound-based strategies.

“Some people think growth hacking is the same as marketing optimization; they are quite different,” said Spark Capital’s Hyatt. “If I’m given 1,000 visitors and I’m trying to convert as many as possible to customers, that’s lead gen optimization. If I’m tuning the product to convert 1,000 visitors into 10,000 customers, that’s growth. Growth hacking is a new name for the latter camp; the first camp is inbound marketing. Growth usually does not come from bounces off a landing page but in product engagement and virality.”

Myth No. 5: A Growth Hacker Is A Coder

Reality: Some growth hackers are coders but many are not.

The use of the word “hacker” suggests that coding ability is a requirement to be a growth hacker. But Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of Qualaroo, coined the phrase “growth hacker” with a different intention in mind. “I used the word ‘hacker’ to be an attitude of scrappiness rather than being a coder. In other words, a growth hacker ‘hacks’ a way to move metrics,” said Ellis.

A growth strategy will succeed if it finds an unseen advantage in distribution. Finding this advantage comes from rapid testing. “The ‘hacker’ part of growth hacking is communicating you need to be a constant hustler and get things done quickly, not being a coder,” said Blake Commagere, founder of MediaSpike.

It is not a coincidence that there are several growth hackers that have engineering backgrounds, such as Jesse Farmer, Matt Humphrey, Dan Martell, Jim Young, and Mike Greenfield. This correlation is due to the need to apply engineering-like precision to marketing for growth.

“The use of the word ‘hacking’ relates to the question ‘how can we solve the problem differently,’” said Danielle Morrill, co-founder and CEO of Referly. “Hacking is creative disruption. Growth hackers do tend to be engineers as it gives them the ability to apply rigor to marketing, but it is not necessary.”

Myth No. 6: A Growth Hacker Is Just An Individual

Reality: Growth is not about one person.

Growth comes in different flavors depending on the stage of the company, such as a co-founder to a growth team at a late-stage company. “A growth hacker is not a lone ranger but should be apart of a greater team,” said KISSmetrics’ Shah. “Companies should look to build a growth team rather than just an individual; however, different company stages require different types of growth teams.”

Growth is holistic and cross-functional, because long-term growth hardly ever resides in one part of a company. Growth is complex and often involves several tests before a winner is found. Without aligning the company around a set of metrics to push, a growth strategy will be hampered by conflicting team priorities and goals.

Adopting a culture of growth will challenge the way a product is traditionally made and prioritized. It is not an easy task because growth typically changes a company’s culture and what it considers important.

If this series has inspired you to hire a growth hacker or learn to be one, the one key takeaway is to do something, learn from it, and leave your ego at the door. Growth hackers may come in different flavors, but they all learned the same way. They went out, tried something, found product-market fit, and optimized the hell out of it.

Aaron Ginn is currently Head of Growth at StumbleUpon and former growth hacker for Mitt Romney. You can read more on growth on his blog.

Software guru McAfee wants to return to United States

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation from Guatemala to Belize to face questions about the slaying of a neighbor, said on Saturday he wants to return to the United States.

‘Santa Is Your UPS Man’ Is Our New Favorite Song

Take that, FedEx. UPS-employee Ken Jones just won Christmas, AND he did it on a scheduled break. Watch Jones sing the new holiday classic, “Santa Is A UPS Man”, above.

Fav line: “We’re comin’ through, despite the weather. Fence in your dog, let’s work together.” Perfection.

This May Be The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

This Christmas, instead of giving your child something whimsical or even educational, give your little one the gift of practicality. Christmas is a time to get excited, after all, and what’s more exciting than preparing for a career as a minimum-wage drive thru operator? explains:

The Just Like Home McDonald’s Cash Register 10 Piece Playset features a working cash register where you can hear your menu selections. Includes playfood, and a drive thru playset with headset with real working intercom and McDonald’s play money.

Remember: supersize your fries, kids, not your dreams.

Via Dangerous Minds

Alaska governor proposes $355 million LNG investment

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Alaska’s governor he will introduce legislation allowing the state to provide $355 million (221 million pounds) in seed money for a liquefied natural gas project that promoters hope will eventually ship North Slope natural gas to Asian markets.

SaveUp: How Will Obamacare Affect My Personal Finances?

Lately, Obamacare has been an unavoidable topic. It’s covered extensively by the media and is given extra consideration because of the recent election as well as the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 28th, 2012 to uphold the law. But how will it affect our personal finances?

Read more: Obamacare, Obama Health Care, Personal Finance, Affordable Care Act, Home News