Posts tagged ‘Climate Summit’

Is the Copenhagen Accord already dead?

Less than two months after it was hastily drafted to stave off a fiasco, the Copenhagen Accord on climate change is in a bad way, and some are already saying it has no future.

The deal was crafted amid chaos by a small group of countries, led by the United States and China, to avert an implosion of the UN’s December 7-18 climate summit.

Savaged at the time by green activists and poverty campaigners as disappointing, gutless or a betrayal, the Accord is now facing its first test in the political arena — and many views are caustic.

Veterans say the document has little traction and cannot pull the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards a new global pact by year’s end.

Political momentum is so weak that so far only two negotiating rounds have been rostered in 2010, one among officials in Bonn in mid-year, the other in Mexico at ministerial level in December.

Worse, the Accord itself already seems to have been quietly disowned by China, India and other emerging economies just weeks after they helped write it, say these sources.

The Accord’s supporters say it is the first wide-ranging deal to peg global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and gather rich and poor countries in specific pledges for curbing carbon emissions.

And it promises money: 30 billion dollars for climate-vulnerable poor countries by 2012, with as much as 100 billion dollars annually by 2020.

Critics say there is no roadmap for reaching the warming target and point out the pledges are voluntary, whereas the Kyoto Protocol — which took effect five years ago next Tuesday — has tough compliance provisions for rich polluters.

Click HERE for full story

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February 17, 2010 at 12:29 PM Leave a comment

Obama heads to Copenhagen

President Barack Obama heads to Copenhagen on Thursday to help secure a U.N. climate pact, staking his credibility on an as yet elusive deal that has ramifications for him at home and on the world stage.

Obama is expected to arrive in the Danish capital on Friday morning, joining about 120 other world leaders to finish a complicated process of reaching a political agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.

The time is short and the stakes are high. With his top domestic priority of healthcare reform legislation percolating in Washington, the president plans to stay in Copenhagen less than a day.

That may or may not be enough time to overcome persistent disagreements between developed and developing nations that have marred two weeks of talks, but Obama’s presence and contribution could be a potential deal-maker.

The United States has proposed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. That corresponds to a 3 percent reduction from 1990 levels, the baseline used by the European Union and others.

Obama is unlikely to propose a more aggressive emissions reduction target, which many countries have demanded. His goals are based on a bill that passed the House of Representatives but has yet to go through the Senate before it can become law.

For more click HERE

December 17, 2009 at 10:17 AM Leave a comment

Merkel says nervous about slow pace in Copenhagen

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that she was growing nervous about the lack of progress at the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen.

“I can’t conceal the fact that I’ve become a bit nervous about whether we’ll be able to do it,” Merkel told a news conference with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. “We all know time is running out and we need to get serious.”

Delegates from nearly 200 countries are in Copenhagen for the talks to hammer out a deal aimed at slowing global warming.

Merkel, who says Germany will commit to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 or even 40 percent if others agree to steep cuts, will be in Copenhagen with world leaders for the last two days on Thursday and Friday.

“It’s well known that large conferences like this, with so many different interests, sometimes stall,” she said. “But considering how little time is left everyone needs to make a constructive contribution to make Copenhagen a success.”

Yudhoyono, who hosted the U.N.-led talks in Bali two years ago and helped break a late deadlock there, will be acting as an informal co-chair in Copenhagen with Denmark, Merkel said.

“We experienced ourselves in Bali what can be done with good will,” Yudhoyono said. “We have experience with deadlock situations. This is a window of opportunity. We all know that we cannot allow (a failure) to happen.”

Indonesia, where deforestation and forest fires led to the World Bank naming it the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is seen as an important player in the fight against climate change.

Germany is the world’s sixth largest emitter.

Article HERE

December 15, 2009 at 2:57 PM Leave a comment

Copenhagen climate protesters rally

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Copenhagen today as part of a global protest to demand governments across the world agree a binding new global deal to tackle climate change.

The march and rally in the Danish capital, the world’s largest ever protest about global warming, comes at the halfway point of the United Nations’ climate summit in the city.

“Let’s dance, sing and be happy, because power is in your hands,” Nnimmo Bassey, director of Friends of the Earth International told the crowd, as he kicked off the first part of the march, the Flood, from Halmtorvet.

Official police estimates put the number of protesters at 25,000, but organisers said as many as 100,000 had joined the march from central Copenhagen, waving banners that read “Nature doesn’t compromise” and “Climate Justice Now”.

Although most of the march has been peaceful, a small group threw bricks at police early on. So far there have been 21 arrests, and police are currrently kettling about 200-300 marchers in Amagerbrogade.

Police spokesman Rasmus Bernt Skovsgaard said: “There was some cobblestone-throwing and at the same time people were putting on masks. We decided to go for preventive detentions to give the peaceful demonstration the possibility to move on.”

To mark the Global Day of Action on climate change, campaigners were also staging events around the world, including a four-minute “flashdance” with lights outside the Houses of Parliament, with volunteers across London collecting messages from citizens to deliver to MPs.

For more click HERE

December 14, 2009 at 10:03 AM Leave a comment

Obama calls for climate deal, U.S. target under fire

In a move that could boost Obama’s position when world leaders join the U.N. talks next week, three U.S. senators outlined a compromise climate bill on Thursday that aims to win the votes needed for passage next year.

Accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in neighbouring Norway, Obama warned of dire consequences if the world did nothing to curb rising carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation which scientists say are heating up the atmosphere.

“The world must come together to confront climate change,” Obama said in his acceptance speech. “There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades,” he added.

Obama will propose cuts in U.S. emissions in Copenhagen but has yet to get the backing of Congress. While a climate bill passed narrowly in the House of Representatives in June, the Senate has yet to approve legislation.

In Washington the senators did not offer details of their compromise but said a target to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 was “achievable and reasonable.

The December 7-18 Copenhagen talks are meant to agree on the outlines of a tougher climate pact to expand or replace the existing Kyoto Protocol from 2013. But they have become bogged down over who should curb their emissions, who is most responsible and who should pay.

The talks are expected to deliver agreement on an initial fund of around $10 billion a year until 2012 to help poor nations to fight climate change and make their economies greener. But developing countries believe emissions cuts promised by rich nations, especially the United States, are far too low.

Tiny Tuvalu, a cluster of low-lying Pacific islands, brought part of the talks to a standstill on Thursday. The main plenary sessions were suspended for consultations, although delegates continued holding side-meetings.

RISING SEAS

Tuvalu, which fears being washed off the map by rising seas, insisted the conference must consider its proposal for a legally binding treaty on far deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions than the United States and other rich nations are offering,

Tuvalu’s stance exposed rifts between developing nations, many of which would be required to do much more under its proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Nations including India and China spoke out against Tuvalu’s plan.

Most other nations reckon Copenhagen can agree only a political text with legal texts to be worked out next year.

Rich nations’ emissions cuts targets remain a major sticking point in the talks. Poorer nations blame industrialised countries for most of the greenhouse gas pollution in the air and say they must make deep cuts.

The United States has offered a provisional target of 17 percent below 2005 levels — equal to a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels while the European Union has pledged a cut of 20 percent below 1990 levels that could be raised to 30 percent if others also act.

China, Brazil and small island states all say the pledge is far too modest.

The U.N.’s top climate change official, Yvo de Boer, said developed countries would have to deepen planned emission cuts to a range of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels, as outlined by a U.N. climate panel.

“That for me is the goal,” de Boer told Reuters. Offers so far from rich nations total about 14 to 18 percent below 1990 levels.

“Many countries have come here with initial offers for targets indicating there is flexibility in the numbers,” he said. “Whether that is achieved or not depends first of all on a discussion within the group of major developed countries.”

Full Story click HERE

December 11, 2009 at 2:45 PM Leave a comment

Al Gore rebuts Palin’s climate change claims

A former vice president and a former vice presidential nominee are engaged in a public battle over climate change, a tiff sparked by Sarah Palin’s op-ed in Wednesday’s Washington Post and furthered by Al Gore’s rebuttal on MSNBC.

In a piece titled “Copenhagen’s Political Science,” the former Alaska governor charged that “leading climate ‘experts'” have “destroyed records, manipulated data to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals.”

Gore bit back during an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell to air Wednesday afternoon. The former presidential candidate said “the deniers are persisting in an era of unreality. The entire North Polar ice cap is disappearing before our eyes … what do they think is happening?”

Palin was referring to correspondence between some of the world’s leading climate scientists. The e-mails were recently stolen from Britain’s University of East Anglia and leaked on the Internet. Skeptics of man-made global warming say the e-mails prove that scientists have been conspiring to hide evidence about climate change.

Last week, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, said the issue raised by the e-mails was serious and would be looked at in detail. Palin also took to Facebook to allege that concerns over global warming are “doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood.”

Gore said Wednesday that the scientific community has worked intensively on the issue for twenty years. “It’s a principle in physics,” he told Mitchell. “It’s like gravity, it exists.”

Article continues HERE

December 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM 1 comment

EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health

As U.N. climate talks begin in Copenhagen, the Obama administration takes steps to regulate U.S. emissions with or without congressional approval.

The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled a news conference for later Monday to announce the so-called endangerment finding, officials told The Associated Press, speaking privately because the announcement had not been made.
The finding is timed to boost the administration’s arguments at an international climate conference — beginning this week — that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.
Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from power plants, factories and automobiles under the federal Clean Air Act.
The EPA signaled last April that it was inclined to view heat-trapping pollution as a threat to public health and welfare and began to take public comments under a formal rulemaking. The action marked a reversal from the Bush administration, which had declined to aggressively pursue the issue.
Business groups have strongly argued against tackling global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. Any such regulations are likely to spawn lawsuits and lengthy legal fights.
For full story click HERE

December 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM Leave a comment

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