Welcome to Copenhagen?

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, with his vice president and 11 cabinet ministers ventured 4 meters below to hold the world's first underwater cabinet meeting, pushing for stronger climate change agreements ahead of Copenhagen talks. (Photo via AP)

As the presses spent months tracking the path to Denmark, the story sparkled, then faded, then sort of turned into a pessimistic non-story, but now that it’s arrived there’s lots to tune into so to hell with it! Towering and wide, the to-do list in Copenhagen is overwhelming the news, and making the world’s cheers and jeers, both loud, sound like silence in this waiting game for climate change.

This week world leaders gathered to kick off the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, to catalyze what some have called “a historic turning point in the fight against climate change.” The goals: a global consensus on a binding economic treaty designed to circle back on the Kyoto Protocol, slashing levels of hazardous emissions, protecting forests, and taking more steps toward drastically slowing the effects of global warming over the next 50 years.  Still, with 100 national leaders converging under the roof of Copenhagen’s Bella Center, tensions over the permanence of the treaty, various histories of “environmental abuse,” politics, time, and the magnitude of the Great Threat are growing ever palpable.

Talks surrounding this summit have called for a myriad issues to be addressed. A bloc of 43 smaller nations are congruent in their demands for binding legal climate agreements among the UN. Much of the developing world is calling on rich states to help them finance cleaner energy, which is more expensive than the cheap stuff that built the West. The global market for carbon credits, attempting to hold individual countries responsible for emissions regulation, is another major issue. China has been the chief beneficiary of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), built under the Kyoto Protocol to set up a system of credits which can be sold and traded, and used by companies to offset their emissions. But its leaders now render the system an impractical means to a deadline-based end.

Time constraints have the potential to dilute the crafting of a careful, tactical, cohesive plan. The already thick Conference docket was thrown a curve-ball a few weeks ago, as an unknown individual surfaced controversial e-mails from a hacked server at the Climactic Research Center in Norwich, England. The e-mails, written by global warming experts, and now widely published on the internet, could easily indicate “that data was inaccurate or fudged, and some seemed to imply collusion about who and what was posted about global warming in peer-reviewed journals.”  Since the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change depends on temperature information from the CRC, the UN announced last week that their climate change scientists will investigate and address the e-mails, in a fiasco that got dubbed “Climategate” at the Climate Change Conference.

Then, Obama decided to show up for the part of the summit that’s actually important, and China had to go and shame the world’s other rapidly developing economies with that impossible! proposal to cut its 2005 carbon emissions almost in half by 2020.

Leave it to the presses. They’re waiting, too.

As are we. Latest find:

Reuters’ Environment forum — a question a day answered by climate experts.


    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: