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Copenhagen Climate Summit Cheat Sheet
Posted By E.B. Boyd On December 16, 2009 @ 3:10 pm In Green Living | No Comments
You’ve probably heard that delegates are meeting in Copenhagen for climate talks. But you might not be clear on what exactly all the hoopla is about. Here’s your cheat sheet on COP15, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This is the meeting at which the parties to the UNFCCC will try to finalize an agreement which will get the world on track to meet the goals scientists have said are key to preventing calamitous climate change .
It’s called COP15 because it’s the 15th annual meeting of environmental ministers to discuss climate issues since the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1994. The Copenhagen agreement, if there is one, will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed at the fifth meeting, in 1999, and was the first serious international greenhouse gas emissions agreement.
Kyoto’s provisions start expiring in 2012. More importantly, however, the steps in Kyoto don’t go far enough to create the necessary reductions in carbon emissions.
Over 5,000 delegates from the 192 countries that are party to the UNFCC. Another 10,000 officials, advisers, activitists, and journalists are also expected to descend on Copenhagen for the potential signing of this historic treaty.
The executive secretary of the UNFCCC has said the agreement needs to include four key elements :
Many countries agree in principle that carbon emissions have to go down. But they don’t necessarily agree on who is specifically responsible for doing how much—a contentious issue since any commitments carry hefty price tags.
During the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama said he supported the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 15% by 2020 (which would return the country to 1990 levels) and by 80% by 2050. And in April, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke with years of denial by the Bush administration and acknowledged  the role the United States had played in causing climate change. She said the United States was “determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad.”
Despite this, the Obama administration learned its lessons from Kyoto, which President Clinton signed but never brought to a vote in Congress due to domestic opposition. Because of this, the United States is only likely to sign a deal it thinks it can get approval for  at home.
At this point, it’s unclear. If the parties don’t think they have something everyone’s willing to sign, they might push the pause button and hold off on forcing the issue, choosing instead to continue negotiations into 2010.
A bunch of organizations have organized ways for people around the world to let their leaders know they want them to back the Copenhagen treaty.
And if you feel you need a little something to help you get motivated, a campaigner at Oxfam suggests organizing a party to watch The Age of Stupid , a film set in the future, looking back and wondering why people didn’t act on climate change when they had the chance.
Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com
URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/copenhagen-climate-summit-cheat-sheet/
URLs in this post:
 climate change: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Climate-Change25-Things-You-Can-Do.html
 four key elements: http://en.cop15.dk/blogs/view+blog?blogid=992
 fresh water: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/10SimpleWaystoConserveWater.html
 acknowledged: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/27/carbon-emissions-us
 get approval for: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/10/04/ST2009100402531.html
 Seal the Deal: http://www.sealthedeal2009.org/
 Friends of the Earth: http://www.foe.co.uk/
 Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/
 Climate Capsule: http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/un-climate-talks/global/2009/climate-capsule
 International Day of Climate Action: http://www.350.org/
 Oxfam : http://www.oxfam.org.uk
 The Age of Stupid: http://www.ageofstupid.net/
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