Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Climate Change Conference

Yesterday, leaders of 120 countries reached a non-legally-binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Plus-minus of said agreement a.k.a the Copenhagen Accord as quoted from The Guardian.

What was agreed at Copenhagen – and what was left out

National leaders and sleep-deprived negotiators thrashed out a text late last night that could determine the balance of power in the world and possibly the future of our species. The list below gives a breakdown of the key points:

Temperature
"The increase in global temperature should be below two degrees."
This will disappoint the 100-plus nations who wanted a lower maximum of 1.5C, including many small island states who fear that even at this level their homes may be submerged.

Peak date for carbon emissions
"We should co-operate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries …" This vague phrase is a disappointment to those who want nations to set a date for emissions to fall, but will please developing countries who want to put the economy first.

Emissions cuts
"Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 as listed in appendix 1 before 1 February 2010."

This phrase commits developed nations to start work almost immediately on reaching their mid-term targets. For the US, this is a weak 14-17% reduction on 2005 levels; for the EU, a still-to-be-determined goal of 20-30% on 1990 levels; for Japan, 25% and Russia 15-25% on 1990 levels. The accord makes no mention of 2050 targets, which dropped out of the text over the course of the day.

Forests
"Substantial finance to prevent deforestation; adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity."
This is crucial because more than 15% of emissions are attributed to the clearing of forests. Conservation groups are concerned that this phrase lacks safeguards.

Money
"The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to $30bn for 2010-12 … Developed countries set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries."
This is the cash that oils the deal. The first section is a quick financial injection from rich nations to support developing countries' efforts. Longer term, a far larger sum of money will be committed to a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. But the agreement leaves open the questions of where the money will come from, and how it will be used.

Key elements of earlier drafts dropped during yesterday's negotiations:

An attempt to replace Kyoto
"Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments …"
This preamble, killed off during the day, was the biggest obstacle for negotiators. It left open the question of whether to continue a twin-track process that maintains Kyoto, or whether to adopt a single agreement. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada are desperate to move to a one-track approach, but developing nations refused to kill off the protocol.

Deadline for a treaty
"… as soon as possible and no later than COP16 …"
This appeared in the morning draft and disappeared during the day; it set a December 2010 date for the conclusion of a legally binding treaty. The final text drops this date, but small print suggests it will still be next year.

10 comments:

Dawna said...

Hi, Got your message on Blog Catalog and am now a follower of your blog.

H. Nizam said...

Dawna,

Thanks a lot, I have also followed
your blog on Google. Let's keep in touch.

Nursalim [dot] Com said...

Nice post friends, I am frankly not follow political news because it was too boring for me, but your post interesting.

Extraordinary!!!

colson said...

The CCCC last week was important to all of us who acknowledge the global climate change, it was telling for those who hail or fear the imminent birth of a new geo-political balance and it was exciting for all people who love political theatre.

As for the environment and climate change the conference was a total failure. Whatever the 190 odd nations agreed upon, was non committal and fuzzy. In a formal sense there was no agreement whatsoever ( Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela vetoed the agreement).

The shifting of the world's power balance was shown by the delegation of the People's Republic of China. It was not in a very constructive way, but actually they demonstrated in cooperation with the US, the new bi-polar dominance.

And as for theatre.. well, look at the persistent chaos in Copenhagen last week and listen to the rhetoric.

H. Nizam said...

Nursalim,

Thank you for your comment.
Politics can be very boring, but as long as we live in places governed by people/group of people who have power there will always be politics my friend.

H. Nizam said...

Colson,

It is a great pity that a conference that is important for the future of earth and mankind, attended by 199 head of state/ government, could have failed.

Actually China has voluntarily promised to reduce its carbon emission by 45% in 2020.
And Indonesia promised 26.

However, the western countries and were reluctant to commit an obligatory reduction of 3%.

Let us hope that there will be progress at the next conference.

Murka said...

When people talk about global warming, I want to feel it on myself. Today we have -14C°, the day before yesterday was -23C°. It is awfully cold, I want warming!

H. Nizam said...

Murka,

Yes I am sure it's freezing in Russia. But considering the global warming will cause instability to the weather which would lead to global harvest instability, therefore at the end of the day global warming would not only means warmer winter but low supply of food et cetera.

Thank you for your comment.

colson said...

@ Harry: Though we agree on the disappointment about the failure of Copenhagen, the figures I know about are slightly different:
- China's promise is not for 2020 but for 2040
- the EU has a commitment for 20% reduction by 2020 ( which actually I as one of the taxpaying citizens am noticing already) en
- even the US has promised a 17% reduction by 2020.

H. Nizam said...

Colson,

Ooops .........
I've got the figures mixed up.
I'll re-check my source again.
Thanks a lot for the correction.