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Majority of world’s countries miss Copenhagen Accord deadline

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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copenhagen-logoThe bulk of the world’s nations ignored a January 31 deadline to submit action plans to combat climate change under the terms of the Copenhagen Accord (pdf). But the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions will be affected by commitments that were submitted to the United Nations in recent days, in keeping with the last-minute, non-binding accord hammered out in December.

Among those committed, from most aggressive cuts to least:

Maldives: zero net emissions by 2020
Japan: 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020
European Union: at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 (individual country details yet to be agreed)
New Zealand: at least 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020
U.S.: 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 (pending legislation)
Australia: at least 3 percent below 1990 levels and as much as 23 percent below them (depending on other country’s commitments)
Canada: 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 (i.e. a 2.5 percent rise from 1990 levels)
China: reduce carbon intensity by at least 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 ("voluntary" goal)
India: reduce carbon intensity by at least 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 (aspirational target)
U.S.: 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 (pending legislation)

Also joining the cause, according to the U.S. Climate Action Network, were countries ranging from Bangladesh to Peru—with only Cuba writing to express absolute opposition to the Copenhagen Accord. Fifty-five countries out of 193 formally indicated targets under the accord, including 20 developing countries. U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Director Yvo de Boer had earlier called the January 31 deadline a "soft" one.

It also remains unclear what might happen with funding promised at Copenhagen by developed countries to help developing countries combat climate change—some $30 billion to be allocated by 2013 and $100 billion a year from 2020.

Nevertheless, "following a month of uncertainty, it is now clear that the Copenhagen Accord will support the world in moving forward to meaningful action on climate change," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the World Resources Institute’s climate and energy program, in a prepared statement. But "the commitments are far below what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change."





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  1. 1. Philtron 3:45 pm 02/1/2010

    well, at least it’s getting somewhere.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Philip123 5:34 pm 02/1/2010

    Thank heavens its grid locked. Aside from the obvious fraudulent science and the clear motivation to establish a global regulatory tax framework on industry, just what is morally superior about a forced attempt at anthropogenic global cooling as opposed to the supposed anthropogenic global warming?
    http://healthjournalclub.blogspot.com/

    Link to this
  3. 3. apeterson 7:07 pm 02/1/2010

    obvious fraudulent science? on what authority are you allowed to call the opinions of hundreds (if not thousands) of experts fraudulent?

    Link to this
  4. 4. apeterson 7:08 pm 02/1/2010

    fraudulent? on what authority are you allowed to call hundreds of climate experts opinions fraudulent?

    Link to this
  5. 5. rougarou 7:45 pm 02/1/2010

    Actually nobody misses Copenhagen, cause nothing happpened. Like the rest of the scientific data floating around, Copenhagen was a hoax.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Shoshin 8:27 pm 02/1/2010

    I’s kind of like losing your ticket for the maiden voyage of the Titanic…. except you can see te iceberg coming…

    Link to this
  7. 7. WoJiuXiang 9:03 pm 02/1/2010

    The recent revelations of the IPCC ‘hiding data’, trying to prevent publications of contrary view, false claims about the Himalaya glaciers and just general arrogance puts the ‘certainty’ of global warming in doubt. Before we invest billions in this effort, we should open the debate to more diverse viewpoints. For a link to the contrary viewpoint, go to http://friendsofscience.org/ which will point to over 500 journal articles that are skeptical of global warming. Also, the petition project at http://www.petitionproject.org/ links to many scientists who are skeptical of global warming. "The Global Warming Swindle" on Youtube features scientists talking about their skepticism. The debate is far from settled and until it is there is no need to spend billions and negatively affect our already fragile economy.

    Link to this
  8. 8. 67Degree 11:12 am 02/2/2010

    I really like Scientific america,so I wanna join it

    Link to this
  9. 9. 67Degree 11:16 am 02/2/2010

    what is "supporting world in moving forward to meaningful action"meaning?All just is ridiculous trick.Now,people are destroying the world,but someone still fights for personal benefits.So funny!

    Link to this
  10. 10. Shoshin 6:22 pm 02/2/2010

    Perhaps an update is needed to Beckett’s play "Waiting for Godot" to "Waiting for Copenhagen". Everyone sits and talks about something that never shows up.

    Kind of like "Seinfeld" a hugely popular show about nothing at all.

    Link to this
  11. 11. Chryses 7:03 pm 02/2/2010

    WoJiuXiang,

    "For a link to the contrary viewpoint, go to http://friendsofscience.org/ which will point to over 500 journal articles that are skeptical of global warming. "

    To maintain intellectual honesty, you would want to contrast the "over 500" count of those ‘against’, spanning the period <first published> through <last published> to the count of those ‘for’ during the same period. Further, you will want to contrast the percentage of those ‘against’ which were peer-reviewed to the percentage of the number ‘for’ wouldn’t you?

    Link to this
  12. 12. Chryses 7:12 pm 02/2/2010

    Philip123,

    "… what is morally superior about a forced attempt at anthropogenic global cooling …"

    That was not attempted.

    Link to this
  13. 13. Chryses 7:14 pm 02/2/2010

    apeterson,

    "obvious fraudulent science? on what authority are you allowed to call the opinions of hundreds (if not thousands) of experts fraudulent?"

    Their own. Denialists deny science whenever they don’t understand it. That’s the way they work.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Chryses 7:47 pm 02/2/2010

    apeterson,

    Here is an interesting lecture by Dr. Oreskes, Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

    It is titled "The American Denial of Global Warming", and is quite revealing as to the techniques employed. It takes about an hour.

    http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=13459

    Link to this
  15. 15. Chryses 8:38 pm 02/2/2010

    apeterson,

    If you want to learn what scientists are saying about the IPCC …

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100202/full/463596a.html

    Link to this
  16. 16. andiprama 12:57 pm 02/3/2010

    Please watch my video images

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7I_eFoIk64

    It’s about climate change, earth catastrophe and our planet as we lives in.

    Thank you.

    Link to this
  17. 17. andiprama 12:58 pm 02/3/2010

    Please watch my video images

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7I_eFoIk64

    It’s about climate change, earth catastrophe and our planet as we lives in.

    Thank you.

    Link to this
  18. 18. PeterSyd 9:03 pm 02/3/2010

    Why does this article state that Australia’s submitted commitment is "at least 3% below 1990 levels" when Australia’s Minister for Climate Change announced on 27 January 2010: "Consistent with our commitment to do no more and no less than the rest of the world, we are today submitting our existing target range: 5 per cent unconditional, with up to 15 per cent and 25 per cent both conditional on the extent of action by others …" ( http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/minister/wong/2010/media-releases/January/mr20100127.aspx )

    The correct number is 5%, not "at least 3%"

    The minister explained "If these matters are not resolved in 2011, the Government will then set scheme caps consistent with the five per cent target to provide business certainty for the commencement of the first year of full trading under the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme from July 2012."

    This demonstrates Australia’s commitment to implement a robust Carbon Reduction process, and to scale those commitments up to 25%, provided the global community fully and transparently participates with sincerity.

    Link to this
  19. 19. PeterSyd 9:05 pm 02/3/2010

    No one ever seems to get it.
    The argument about CO2 levels is a side issue to the reality that our fossil fuel based economy is about to hit a brick wall. Global oil production has peaked, burning what is left will cause a major increase in CO2 concentration within a geological split second that has never been seen before which therefore has unpredictable consequences.

    With information that can only ever be highly imperfect until the outcome has become unconditional, why would you ever want to roll that dice for your children?

    The commitment to CO2 reduction is a commitment to find a practical mix of alternative energy sources that is both economically and climatically sustainable.

    Keep going as we are going, and the world economy collapses anyway. There isn’t the oil available.

    Climate change naysayers are ostriches whose refusal to observe, analyse, conclude and act, will enforce through a democratic process, a similar outcome for humans as for the dinosaurs.

    Link to this
  20. 20. Dr. Strangelove 9:41 pm 02/4/2010

    I agree with your observation – CO2 is a side issue, Copenhagen and all previous conferences are not about climate science but about fossil fuel economics. We might as well say we have to reduce CO2 emission because it may cause climate change whether warming or cooling (both are possible according to the Big Freeze theory of Dr. Richard Alley) and even if humans don’t do anything, drastic climate change may happen anyway by natural causes as seen in ice core records in the past. Whatever the impact or non-impact on climate, we have to stop burning fossil fuels. People may or may not agree with it but it’s a political statement regardless of climate science. At least we can put it to a vote. Unlike science where truth is not determined by democratic vote or even by survey of scientists (‘scientific consensus’ notwithstanding)

    Link to this

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