17 December 2009

Copenhagen: as things start to hit the fan...

Just a few bits and pieces I've stumbled across today:

A Copenhagen glossary for beginners - Wall Street Journal [link]

Kyoto lives again:
"Negotiations have been deadlocked for a week as developing countries resisted efforts to replace or downgrade the 1997 protocol, which places legally binding commitments on rich – but not poor – nations... In a victory for the developing world, negotiators will now move forward on a two-track basis, one part of which maintains the integrity of Kyoto." - The Guardian [link]

The Guardian also reports that the US is pledging (string-attached) cash to help developing countries adapt...
"The US is prepared to work with other countries to jointly mobilise $100bn a year by 2020," [Hilary] Clinton told a press conference... But she said the funds would only flow if there was a deal – and that there would only be a deal if it met certain American conditions... America's demand that China and other rapidly emerging countries provide documentation of its efforts to cut emissions." [link]

Don't just focus on CO2 (not strictly COP15 related but hey):
An interesting Nature Geoscience paper I'm writing about for Science for Environment Policy points out that including methane and nitrous oxides in greenhouse gas balance changes the game, and has some interesting policy implications. "The comparison between the carbon and GHG balance of continental Europe shows that current land management reduces the terrestrial GHG sink, which could otherwise offset non-biological GHG emissions. The increasing trend towards more intensive agriculture and a vulnerable forest stock of timber leads to the conclusion that the balance is likely to tip... Introducing land management policies aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases should thus be a priority. This should be possible because most of the N2O emissions are linked to excessive fertilizer applications in croplands." - Nature Geoscience

Good to see children's TV getting in on the action
- CBBC's Newsround [link]

Interesting tweets from Australian political journo @KarenMMiddleton...
...who appears to be tweeting from the conference itself. Inc:

"China lays cards on the table in spectacular fashion @ #cop15 declaring it won't hv anti-greenhouse efforts monitored. Sarkozy goes berserk" [
16:16 today]

"ln-joke of #cop15 so far. Tshirt slogan 'don't square bracket my future'." [17:20 ish yesterday]

16 December 2009

Copenhagen (again)

The latest...

The president of the talks has quit:

"Denmark's energy minister Connie Hedegaard has quit as president of the climate change conference in Copenhagen. The United Nations confirmed Ms Hedegaard had resigned and announced the Danish prime minister Lars Rasmussen will take her place." - Channel 4 News [link]

Some nice new climate change graphics from the BBC [link]

The Telegraph summarises the sticking points:
"While it was originally hoped that a signed, sealed and delivered legally-binding international treaty could be agreed by the end of the talks in Copenhagen – after two years of negotiations – that is no longer a possibility. Leaders are now working towards a ''political agreement'' with the legal treaty to come later..." - Telegraph [link]

Getting pernickity:
"Stern carries a brief from Obama to start the clock in 2005. ...he will repeat his offer to cut US emissions by 17 per cent between 2005 and 2020. The Europeans say that's pathetic. It will only get US emissions back to around 1990 levels... whereas Europeans are promising 20 per cent cuts from 1990 to 2020... Stern has a different perspective. Having cut its emissions by 7 per cent already, the European Union is only offering a 13 per cent cut relative to 2005 - four points less than Uncle Sam." - New Scientist [link]

Even Arnie's getting involved now
"I love giving speeches here, because I'm not the only one that has an accent." - You Tube [link]

And Prince Charles...
"...it would be wiser for Prince Charles to keep out of this debate." - The Spectator [link]

14 December 2009

Continuing Copenhagen

So the last few days I've been out of the loop again. Christmas + Copenhagen = a mess.

But just a few quick updates for today:

Talks in chaos, according to Huff Post earlier today:

"African countries have refused to continue negotiations unless talks on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol are prioritized ahead of broader discussions... Australia, Japan and others have succeeded in stopping Kyoto Protocol discussions as a result. Of the two tracks of negotiations underway in Copenhagen the Kyoto Protocol is the only one which includes a mechanism for legally binding emissions reductions by rich countries." - Huffington Post [link]

Now an ambitious deal seems unlikely

"The UN and the chair of the conference, Denmark, tried hurriedly to repair the rifts as ministers began to arrive in Copenhagen for the high level political section of the talks. But after the talks were suspended for two hours, observers said that it looked increasingly unlikely that an ambitious deal would now be negotiated by Friday. - Guardian [link]

Perhaps Blair spoke to soon (from Sunday)

"Speaking in Copenhagen ahead of crucial talks between leaders this week: "There can be a deal at Copenhagen. There should be a deal. It will not be all that everyone wants. But it was never going to be. We should not make the best the enemy of the good.'" - HMGovernment website [link]

Twitter currently running at approx 4-6 #cop15 tweets per minute -TwitterSearch [link]

9 December 2009

Copenhagen Day 3

Okay, I'm back on the case today.

So, major splits appearing between developing and developed nations:

"Small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol... Tuvalu's negotiator Ian Fry made clear that his country could accept nothing less than full discussion of its proposal for a new legal protocol, which was submitted to the UN climate convention six months ago... The call was backed by other members of the Association of Small Island States..." - BBC [link]

"...Fry demanded the meeting consider creating a legally binding Copenhagen Protocol that would enforce developing nation emission reductions and run alongside the Kyoto Protocol's demands on rich countries. China, India and Saudi Arabia opposed the move because they don't want to be legally bound to meet their emission reduction promises." - The Australian [link]

The EPA will regulate greenhouse gases without approval from congress:

"The EPA determined Monday that scientific evidence clearly shows they are endangering the health of Americans, and that the pollutants... should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. That means the EPA could regulate those gases without the approval of Congress. The EPA decision was welcomed by other nations in Copenhagen that have called on the U.S. to boost its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, because it seemed President Barack Obama could act more quickly and bypass legislation slowly working through Congress." - Associated Press [link]

Denmark has a "Plan B":

"The Danish government is at the centre of a row over a draft document which some activists are claiming could be one of the default declarations for the Copenhagen summit... The Danish government have been discussing the draft, which it calls The Copenhagen Agreement, privately with a number of countries... It is Denmark's insurance policy - their Plan B - in case the main talks fail. Even so, some developing countries are angry it is being considered at all." - Channel 4 News [link]

China in row with US:

"President Obama's top climate change negotiator arrived in Copenhagen Wednesday swinging back at Chinese demands for the United States to increase its emission reduction goals... Chinese officials have said they will spring to action if the United States contributes significantly to a proposed $10 billion a year fund to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change policies... Stern dismissed the idea that U.S. taxpayer money would eventually end up in China, which currently holds nearly $800 billion in U.S. debt." - FOXNews [link]

Copenhagen Day 2

Um. I've completely failed you. Already. But, hey, how about a picture of the recent zombie apocalypse in Bristol instead?

P.S. This is possibly more relevant than any of us know. There's just no accounting for what will happen if we go over the 2C barrier.

7 December 2009

Copenhagen Day 1

Right. I'm going to be writing a feature on the Copenhagen climate talks over the Christmas break and will be doing my best to keep abreast of events over the next couple of weeks. So this is what I'm going to do: each evening, I will post any useful links I've found to the day's highlights on this blog. This way, I can keep track of what's happened and you lot can access a nice simple daily digest.

In return, it'd be good if people would post links to the most useful and interesting sources they have come across on their travels around the interwebs.

Day One:

(Including some more general resources to get us started).

Day one reflections from the HMGovernment website:

"The White House said that the President would arrive for the final day of official negotiations on 18 December rather this Wednesday, 9 December, as originally planned.

The Financial Times said the news had 'dramatically raised' the prospects of a global deal on climate change...

The Economic Times of India said that Mr Obama's decision showed 'commitment' by the US." [link]

"The [UK] Prime Minister said that Copenhagen must achieve a comprehensive and global agreement that is then converted to an internationally legally binding treaty 'in no more than six months'." [link]

From the BBC:

"...on the first day of the summit, divisions were evident between various blocs, with small island states indicating they would not accept anything less than a legally binding deal including deep cuts in emissions.

In July, the G8 bloc of industrialised countries and some major developing countries adopted a target of keeping the global average temperature rise since pre-industrial times to 2C.

However, small island states think this would cause serious climate impacts from rising sea levels, and have been arguing for a lower target of 1.5C. A number of African nations also back the lower target." [link]

From the Guardian:

A whole section devoted to Copenhagen [link]

An interactive guide to Copenhagen [link]


"Individuals should not wait for world leaders to agree on measures to fight climate change, but should start taking actions themselves, the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for economics said on Monday." [link]

From the UNFCCC website:

A speeches archive, including opening address from Denmark's PM [link]

Live webcasts of proceedings [link]


The Guardian's list of important Copenhagen tweeters [link]

#cop15 (currently about 1 tweet every 2-3 seconds when I last looked) [link]

So those are my links as of 19:46 on Day One. Let me know what else you find!