Monday, 14 December 2009 13:36

Copenhagen Update: December 14, 2009

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As we enter the final week of the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, the world is preparing for the final show down to save our climate. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of Copenhagen, demanding action now. But the potential for inaction is great. The divide between rich and poor nations is starting to grow, according to recent reports, over the demands by developed nations for developing nations to reduce emissions. The Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 UN agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, required emissions reductions from developed nations and not from developing nations. Faced with the technological and financial challenges of reducing emissions in the developing world, Mama Konat�, a member of Mali's delegation said, "The killing of the Kyoto Protocol, I can say, will mean the killing of Africa... Before accepting that, we should all die first." By Wednesday, heads of state from all over the world should be in Copenhagen, and by Friday it is expected that about 116 leaders, including President Obama will be present. The challenge of this final week of negotiations will be how to strike an emissions reductions accord that reduces emissions without compromising developing nations tenuous grasp on economic growth. The world must engage all nations, including China, Brazil, India and others if our climate has a chance to stabilize temperatures at the 2.0 degree Celsius mark of warming. But if we want developed nations to actually reduce emissions, some say that it will require $100-200 billion dollars of annual subsidies, a check that developed nations don't want to foot. Over the next few days, it will be the job of the ministers and administrators that are currently present in Copenhagen to flesh out the details of an agreement. In many regards, the work that gets done today and tomorrow will determine how effective the heads of state can be when arriving later this week. Image Credit: Washington Post
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