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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change and Copenhagen’

More on Copenhagen and Climate Change

November 6, 2009 3 comments

A rather dispiriting headline appears in the Irish Times today ‘UN climate summit ‘likely to fail’. (I have posted on this topic here and here) The basis of this article is the comment yesterday made by ‘British officials’ that a deal on climate change could take at least another 12 months. This rather depressing comment was made at the Barcelona pre-summit talkbarc_09_11_4_2_348s that are currently taking place. These talks are part of wider programme of pre-summit talks that have been held under the auspices of the United Nations.  The Barcelona meeting is supposed to establish a firm basis on which the Copenhagen talks agree the basis of a new treaty.  According to the Times all hope is now lost that anything coherent or binding can emerge from Copenhagen. Instead the sources claimed that a further summit would have to be held in December 2010 to finally agree a treaty. The Bali Summit of 2007 established the agenda for these talks with the aim of having a ratified treaty by the end of 2009. This rather short timeframe was established as it was clear that time is of the essence with regard to climate change. (In contrast the Doha Round of negotiations at the WTO have been ongoing since 2001, though the WTO is also keeping a close eye on events in Barcelona and Copenhagen)

According to the Times there are over 1,000 different disagreements over the current text. David Milliband told the House of Commons yesterday that there was no Plan B and that renewed impetus was required to ensure some solid progress at Copenhagen. Though a consensus appears to be emerging that an outline agreement maybe all that can be achieved at Copenhagen. The fact that Ban Ki-moon appears to agree that  it is unlikely that this a binding treaty can be agreed in December seems to put the nail in the coffin of an agreement.

In the Times Benedict Dempsey from Save the Children’s, said: “The cost of any delay to a climate deal will be counted in children’s lives. Save the Children estimates that 250,000 children could be killed by climate change next year.”

The imperatives of agreeing a settlement are clear though it will probably be dependent on the US, China and the EU to agree to the slashing of carbon emissions. On Wednesday in the Irish Times is was reported that both the US and the EU were going to redouble their efforts. If the US is going to make good on their ‘ever-expanding suite of measures‘ it will have to take the lead as the EU (with the possible exception of David Milliband) appears to have lost its will.

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EU and Copenhagen

October 30, 2009 1 comment

In a follow-up to my earlier post regarding the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate’s Change proposed Heads for a new Climate Change Bill it has eu-reinfeldt-cp-7338261emerged that the EU has agreed a joint negotiating position ahead of the Copenhagen Conference this December. The EU has sought to take the lead at the Conference and in settling on a joint platform it is hoped that the EU will be able to push others into agreement.

One of the main stumbling blocks has been on the question of how much financial support as well as  the degree of technology transfer that should be given to countries of the Global South. While some of these countries, such as China and India, are emerging as major polluters, others have little or no impact upon rates of climate change. However it is the countries of the Global South who will suffer most from droughts and floods should Climate Change keep going unabated.  The UN estimates that yields from rain-fed agriculture could fall by up to 50% in some African countries and that up to 200 million people could be displaced by the effects of climate change by 2050. Obviously the Global North is better placed to deal with these changes than the Global South both financially and with regard to technology. There has been extensive research into this sponsored by both the UN and NGOs.

The EU at today’s summit agreed a joint position on climate finance, though an actual formula for establishing a country’s ability to pay was not settled upon. They also agreed to cut emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020.  Eastern European countries have been particularly concerned that any cuts in emissions will disproportionately affect their abilities to expand and develop their own economies, but with the intervention of Ban-ki Moon were convinced to agree a deal. While the agreed platform by the EU is more likely to lead to success at Copenhagen as Lavanya Rajamani has pointed out one of the greatest impediments to an agreement is the lack of trust in the Global North to fulfill its promises, the lack of success of the Kyoto Protocol is a prime example of this. It will be interesting to watch the various interests formulate their positions over the next month. What is clear is that comprehensive action must be taken soon.