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the road to Copenhagen « Previous | |Next »
June 13, 2009

David Adam in an movement towards a global agreement on reducing greenhouse emissions at Copenagen. The new climate treaty will be replace the Kyoto Protocol which was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Adam says the climate change has always been more about the politics than the science, and whilst the message from the scientists has hardened over the last decade, the politics has remained largely the same.

In one corner sit the rich countries: made wealthy by development fuelled by the burning of coal, oil and gas. And in the other corner sit the poorer nations, many of them eager to follow the same track. Kyoto crudely divided the fight against climate change along similar lines, with only the rich nations handed binding targets to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution. That was fair, the reasoning went, because rich countries were largely responsible for the problem, and had the resources to develop cleaner technology. Poorer nations would be allowed to carry on as they wished, with a tacit understanding that the burden would be shared more widely in future.

Fast-forward a decade, and the neat division of Kyoto has blurred. Large developing nations such as China and India sit at or near the top of the emission charts. The cuts in carbon that scientists say are needed to avert catastrophic damage cannot be achieved by the developed world alone.To make a meaningful difference, a new treaty must address the soaring emissions from the developing world. Therein lay the politics.

It is hoped that the agreement at Copenhagen conference will close with agreements on four political essentials, namely:

1. How much are the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases?

2. How much are major developing countries such as China and India willing to do to limit the growth of their emissions?

3. How is the help needed by developing countries to engage in reducing their emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change going to be financed?

4. How is that money going to be managed?

That goes to the heart of the politics of climate change.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:55 AM |