Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the (bumpy) road towards a Copenhagen climate agreement: state of play

The European (EU) Commission has issued a public memo, "The Copenhagen climate agreement: EU positions and state of play" - MEMO/09/445

It says that scientific evidence shows that, to put global emissions on a trajectory that is compatible with respecting this temperature ceiling of +2% compared to pre-industrial levels/times, industrialised countries need to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 while developing countries should limit their rapid emissions growth to around 15-30% below projected businesss as usual levels in 2020.

And that global emissions need to peak before 2020 and then be cut by at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2050.

State of Play:

According to the European Commission's public memo:

"The informal negotiating session held in Bonn in August finished with a negotiating text under the Convention track of more than 250 pages, poorly structured and full of brackets. At the last meeting in Bangkok, Parties achieved a streamlining, rationalisation and restructuring of large parts of the negotiating text and have increased understanding of various proposals on the table. However, negotiations have not lead to any major substantive compromises nor convergence of views. Looking beyond Bangkok, the amount of substantive technical and political work in the 8 weeks ahead of the start of the Copenhagen conference presents a formidable political challenge."

Why Copenhagen?

Key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol will expire in 2012. International negotiations were launched in December 2007 to draw up a UN agreement on tackling climate change for the period after 2012.

The negotiations are due to be concluded at the Copenhagen climate conference on 7-18 December 2009. Three negotiating sessions at official level have been held so far this year, all in Bonn, Germany. The second last preparatory sessions for Copenhagen has taken place in Bangkok from 28 September to 9 October and the last one will be held in Barcelona from 2 to 6 November.

What is more, IMO:

According to the memo:

"The window of opportunity to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels of 2°C or more above the pre-industrial temperature ..... is closing fast. The average global temperature is already almost 0.8°C higher than in pre-industrial times and some research indicates that past and present emissions may have already made a further rise of as much as 1°C inevitable."


It is October 13, 2009 in the Southern side of the Northern Hemisphere, and the temp reading says 75F already at 11:19 am! With an expected daily high of 77F, in mid-October!

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