01 January, 2010

Copenhagen accord: progress or procrastination?

The outcome:
After two weeks of intense debate the delegates and heads of state for 192 nations 5 of these nations signed an accord that they recognised there was a case for keeping average global temperature increase to no more than 2˚C.

References to 1.5˚C were dropped despite this being the level at which scientists and climate models predict many island nations will be eradicated.

So too was an 80% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050 dropped.

It was agreed however that the richer nations pay $30bn per year to poorer nations to help deal with climate change, and $100bn per year by 2020.

Adding a pinch of perspective:

Last year these same rich countries managed to scrap together $8 TRILLION to support the banking and securities firms.

No agreements or even suggestions were made on how to limit global temperature rise to 2˚C.

2˚C represents the threshold where unstoppable climate change scenarios are likely to become reality. This is when many of the predicted positive feedback mechanisms will be triggered such as the release of the vast methane deposits in the frozen tundra, and the release of the massive amounts of carbon as the remaining tropical forests dry up and burn.

At the bare minimum, scientists are now telling us that we have a 50:50 chance of not passing this threshold and keeping climate stable. As one commentator said, who would allow their children to get on a plane with a 50:50 chance of crashing?

Commentator's comments on the summit's outcome:

"The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport"

"Beating global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one on display in Copenhagen"

"World leaders have effectively signed a death sentence for many of the world's poorest children"

And from this commentator, I have no more to say on this summit.