"...Emissions are emissions. You've just got to do the math. It's not a matter of politics or morality or anything else. It's just math." - US State Department envoy Todd SternAs the U.N. Climate talks in Copenhagen heat up, some predictable arguments are starting to play out in real time. There are still major questions as to whether an agreement is going to be reached, and moreover how that agreement should look and function. Tensions at Copenhagen are rising between nations, and particularly between the U.S. and China. Todd Stern, a top U.S. State Department negotiator in Copenhagen sums up the American point of view quite well: "If you look around at what countries in the world, they're actually doing a lot. China has put down a number. It might not be the number everyone would like to see. But it is a significant proposal." Mr. Stern diplomatically states that though commitments have been made by nations, they are not quite enough yet (I assume that he is including the U.S. in his assessment). But currently, the world appears to be waiting for the U.S. to lead, both in terms of action and financial support for green initiatives in developing nations. Developing nations feel as though developed nations have an obligation to do more to reduce emissions, considering developed nations have been spewing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere for centuries now. The U.S. does not believe that developed nations should be penalized for historical emissions because the world was 'ignorant' to the problem of global warming up until modern times. How the world decides to reconcile these disparate positions is the challenge of Copenhagen. Stay tuned to the Carbonfund.org blog for regular Copenhagen updates. Carbonfund.org will reporting live from Copenhagen starting next week so check back regularly and follow us on twitter!
According to the World Meterological Organization (WMO), the earth is continuing to get warmer. 2009 is in line to be the fifth hottest year on record (the exact ranking may change depending on how these last weeks of the year play out), and the decade from 2000-2009 has been the warmest in recorded history.
The hottest decade on record before the 2000s was the 1990s, and before that the 1980s. Temperature records have been kept using precise instruments since 1850.
The recent WMO press release also states:
"This year above-normal temperatures were recorded in most parts of the continents. Only North America (United States and Canada) experienced conditions that were cooler than average. Given the current figures, large parts of southern Asia and central Africa are likely to have the warmest year on record."Though the US and Canada experienced cooler temperatures this year, our weather is not indicative of global trends. This release coincides with the Copenhagen climate meetings, where global leaders are well positioned to work out the framework for a legally binding emissions reductions target.