After all the fuss, the conference has started , and remarkably positively.
Are we interested?
Due to the range of self interest groups there are a number of alternative interpretations of the scientific evidence. During the last few days we have seen the results of the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad and Tobago – a wholehearted yes to global action on issues to do with climate change. Of course the commonweath of countries include many small island states who are immediately in danger due to a rise in sea levels. Some active polluters would also like to put a different spin on science,suggesting that temperatures are actually going down and the fuss is just political not scientific. Our job is to cut through the obvious bias and find out as much as we can before coming to some conclusions.
Commonwealth nations representing one-third of the world’s population threw their weight on Saturday behind accelerating efforts to clinch an “operationally binding” U.N. climate deal in Copenhagen next month.
Leaders of the 53-nation Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad and Tobago used their summit to bolster a diplomatic offensive seeking wide consensus on how to fight global warmingbefore December 7-18 U.N. climate talks in the Danish capital.
“The clock is ticking to Copenhagen … we believe that the political goodwill and resolve exists to secure a comprehensive agreement at Copenhagen,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told a news conference in Port of Spain.
The Commonwealth Climate Change Declaration pledged the group’s backing for Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in his efforts to secure wide attendance and commitment from world leaders at the Copenhagen climate talks.
“We pledge our continued support to the leaders-driven process … to deliver a comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen leading towards a full legally binding outcome no later than 2010,” the Port of Spain declaration said.
Tackling the thorny issue of funding for poor nations’ efforts to fight climate change and global warming, developed countries in the Commonwealth led by Britain backed an initiative to establish a Copenhagen Launch Fund, starting in 2010 and building to $10 billion (6 billion pounds) annually by 2012.
Reflecting debate that has dogged the road to Copenhagen, developing states said much more money needed to be committed by rich nations to help poorer countries counter global warming and adapt to the pollution-reducing requirements of a climate deal.
Will Cop15 be a case of missed opportunities by leaders who should know better?
Get daily updates from earthwire e.g.
Climate pledges ‘not enough for deal’, says EU
EurActiv | 30 Nov 2009
Pledges made so far by governments to cut greenhouse gases are not enough for an effective pact to fight climate change, European Commission President Jos’ Manuel Barroso said on Sunday (29 November).
EU Emission Trading Scheme | Climate ChangeSouth Africa: Zuma Calls for Binding Emission Reduction Targets
AllAfrica.com | 30 Nov 2009
President Jacob Zuma has during a bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for world leaders to commit to legally binding emission reduction targets at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen.
Climate Change and Development | Climate Change Impacts | Climate Change
Did the Kyoto protocol make a difference?
Check the youtube channel on Cop15
and the youth climate debate
Perhaps we need to keep an open mind and start learning more about what the issues are for us personally, for our local environment,for our country and last but not least, the planet and all those who will need to live on the planet for the foreseeable future.
While working on Rodrigues island (Mauritius) I was discussing with some young people about their hopes and fears for the future. We were doing this as part of a larger research study where several countries were sharing ideas about what concerned young people about their future and what action should be taken. Out of all the places only primary school students from Rodrigues said they were concerned about rising sea levels. Of course they were the only ones who lived near sea level and who lived on an island small enough to be totally engulfed by an increase in seal level.
Ten years later,and more news is coming out about Pacific islanders and Maldive inhabitants anxiously watching their coasts disappear and desperately asking the world’ s polluters to give them a break.
Whatever the reality of the situation , to do nothing should not be an option for any of us. We can learn more , understand more,ask difficult questions and perhaps take some action. During the next two weeks I will try like many others to ensure that more information is available.
Lets start with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Climate Change Science Compendium
UNEP’s Climate Change Science Compendium is an annual snapshot of how the science has been evolving since the publication of the IPCC’s landmark fourth assessment.
One of the many sobering conclusions is that:
“ The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industry has exceeded even the most fossil-fuel intensive scenario developed by the IPCC at the end of the 1990s. Global emissions were growing by 1.1 percent each year from 1990-1999 and this accelerated to 3.5 percent per year from 2000-2007.”
Click on the images below to read the chapters’ abstracts or click here to download the full report.
This report contains ideas and proposals on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan, focusing on technology. It was originally submitted by UNEP to the UNFCCC in December 2008 as an input to the deliberations of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) under the title “Thoughts Concerning Technical Assistance and Capacity Building to Support the Transfer of Climate Technologies: Possible activities and their potential impact.
Indigenous voices speak:
And what about “the Truth about Climate Change”:
and some animation…
From the COP 15 website:
Some predictions from the Ministry of Climate and Energy of Denmark
Predicting the consequences of global warming is one of the really difficult tasks for the world’s climate researchers. Firstly, because the natural processes that cause precipitation, storms, increases in sea level and other expected effects of global warming are dependent on many different factors. Secondly, because it is difficult to predict the size of the emissions of greenhouse gases in the coming decades, as this is determined to a great extent by political decisions and technological breakthroughs.
Many of the effects of global warming have been well-documented, and observations from real life are very much consistent with earlier predictions. It is the precise extent that is difficult to predict. Among the effects that can be predicted are:
More droughts and more flooding:
When the weather gets warmer, evaporation from both land and sea increases. This can cause drought in areas of the world where the increased evaporation is not compensated for by more precipitation. The extra water vapor in the atmosphere has to fall again as extra precipitation, which can cause flooding other places in the world.
Less ice and snow:
Glaciers are shrinking rapidly at present. The trend is for the ice to melt faster than estimated in the IPCC’s latest report. In areas that are dependent on melt water from mountain areas, this can cause drought and a lack of drinking water. According to the IPCC, up to a sixth of the world’s population lives in areas that will be affected by this.
More extreme weather incidents:
The warmer climate will most probably cause more heatwaves, more cases of heavy rainfall and also possibly an increase in the number and/or severity of storms.
Rising sea level:
The sea level rises for two reasons. Partly because of the melting ice and snow, and partly because of the thermal expansion of the sea. Thermal expansion takes a long time, but even an increase in temperature of two degrees Celsius is expected, in due time, to cause a rise in the water level of almost a metre.
In order to get an idea of the extent of the consequences, researchers typically work with scenarios that show various possible developments. Other scenarios are being described by people such as economists and planners:
Ranging from business as usual to “a real deal”, Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, sees six very different possible outcomes of the UN conference on climate change to be held in Copenhagen this December.
Mr. Stigson’s views, first presented earlier this summer, are highlighted as an expert group under the US National Academies of Sciences releases a new video on the process ahead. His six scenarios are:
1. “A real deal”: the US and China provide the driver for a new, ambitious and comprehensive agreement.
2. “Business as usual”: the various countries follow current national targets.
3. A limited deal: headed by for example the Group of Eight (G8) a deal outside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is found.
4. A mere prolonging of the present agreement, the Kyoto Protocol.
5. A stretching of the Copenhagen conference (COP15) into 2010.
6. “Window dressing”: a grand declaration but no real deal.
As the only non-American, Björn Stigson is a member of the expert group “America’s Climate Choices” under the US National Academies of Sciences.
As a network promoting local community sustainable development, promoting the development and use of ICTs has been always closely linked with issues related to environmental sustainability. APC members have been implementing projects ranging from monitoring environmental degradation, to natural disaster and accident reporting, to the use of ICTs in managing energy resources more efficiently to research on low-power computing, alternative energy sources and e-waste management in developing countries. In 2008 these efforts led to a new APC-wide GreeningIT initiative that aims to address two critical challenges: How national ICT policy environments address ICTs, environmental sustainability and climate change; and How ICTs can be used more sustainably by ICTD practitioners, civil society organisations and service providers?