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Copenhagen report VII
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-15 07:30:48
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Final talks begin in Copenhagen Climate conference

More than 90 ministers had met informally on December 13, on their day off from official negotiations between 190 nations, to try to break an impasse between rich and poor over who is responsible for emissions cuts, how deep they should be, and who should pay, according to Reuters. There was a positive atmosphere, but the talks apparently achieved little beyond a consensus that time is running out. "Everyone realizes the urgency of what we are undertaking but we need to move faster," said British Energy Minister Ed Miliband, as the same source reports. Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said he had not expected solutions on Sunday. "We have defined to each other where our absolute limits are," he told reporters. Countries like China and India say the industrialized world must make bigger cuts in emissions and help poor nations to fund a shift to greener growth and adapt to a warmer world. Richer countries say the developing world's carbon emissions are growing so fast it must sign up for curbs in emissions to prevent dangerous levels of warming.
A draft agreement distributed last week to the 192-nation conference set no firm figures on financing or on cutting greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, AP informs. It said all countries together should reduce emissions by 50 percent to 95 percent by 2050, and rich countries should cut emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020, in both cases using 1990 as the baseline year. So far, industrial nations' pledges to cut emissions have amounted to far less than the minimum, according to the same source. What negotiators and climate scientists do agree on is that global warming will lead to dramatic changes that mean more widespread drought, greater flooding along coastlines, stronger storms and the extinction of some species. "There are still issues of substance and process to be overcome in the coming days," Miliband told a press conference. "Leaders are practically on their way," said Miliband, who is secretary of state for energy and climate change. "Leaders always have a very important role in this. But frankly it's also up to negotiators and ministers not leave everything up to the leaders, but to get our act together."
Delegates hope for a deal on Friday that will ensure temperatures do not rise by more than 2C, and that hundreds of billions of pounds is pledged to help poor countries adapt to climate change, Guardian reports. But tonight it appeared that many did not want to risk being pressured into signing an agreement they believe would be against their national interests. "The industrialised countries want to hammer out a large part of the deal on the last day, when the heads of state arrive," one senior African negotiator told the Guardian on the condition of anonymity. "It's a ploy to slip through provisions that are not amenable to developing country efforts. It's playing dirty." One added: "It is as serious a situation as it ever has been. It is more than probable many heads of state will not come if the negotiations are not complete. Why should a head of state come to sign an agreement that is basically a non-agreement?"  

Meanwhile, police were on the lookout for new protests in the city centre, where more than 1,200 people were detained this weekend. Almost all of them were released after questioning. About a dozen were arraigned on preliminary charges of assaulting police officers or carrying box-cutters or other sharp objects, according to the same source. There were sporadic reports of vandalism across the city overnight Monday.


Talks Resume After 130 Nations Temporarily Walk Out

Representatives of some 130 nations temporarily walked out of the Copenhagen climate talks, but the talks have resumed after the three-hour delay, which cantered on the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The entire round of talks were “suspended” Dec. 13 after the G77 developing nations withdrew their support, reports BBC News. The main opposition came from China and oil-rich nations in the Middle East and South America, when the G77 suspended formal talks and went so far as to refuse participation in even an informal meeting of the 50 ministers at the Copenhagen conference, reports the Sydney Morning Herald and Reuters.

Delegates remain worried that the conflict could again escalate, prompting a second walkout, according to the Bloomberg article. Before the walkout, delegates had made some progress on technology transfer to developing nations and promoting the use of forests as carbon sinks. But delegates are still worlds apart on two key issues: emission cuts and financial support for poor nations. China and developing nations have not budged on their demands for only rich countries to have legally binding targets, while some developed countries including the U.S. are calling for enforceable reductions for poor countries, reports Bloomberg News. Japan and Australia joined the U.S. in criticizing a draft pact that says major developing nations must curb greenhouse gases, but only if they receive financing, reports Business Day.

According to a new report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, countries’ pledges so far will reduce annual emissions to about 49 billion tons in 2020, above the 40 billion tons maximum needed to achieve the 2-degree temperature target, reports Bloomberg News. According to the Vancouver Sun, tens of thousands of protesters over the weekend (Dec. 12-13) demanded that world leaders take action on climate change. The draft climate pact distributed to the 192-nations on Friday did not contain firm figures on financing or on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and there still is no decision on whether the draft is a legal document or political declaration, reports CCTV.

Delegates are still split on issues such as raising funds for poor countries and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions curbs, as the tiny island of Tuvalu still calls for a new treaty with deeper cuts in greenhouse gases, reports Reuters. The United Nations wants to raise $10 billion a year from 2010-12 to help developing countries deal with global warming and move away from fossil fuels, but estimates that it will cost about $300 billion a year from 2020 to fight global warming due to impacts such as droughts and flooding, reports Reuters.


A 'damn clever' climate stunt

Canada is red-faced at the Copenhagen climate-change conference as a result of a spoof news release purporting to be from Environment Canada announcing Canada was bringing in bold new emissions reduction targets. The authentic-looking release, which was announced on a fake Jim Prentice Twitter account, caught many observers off guard and a fake story about it landed on a fake Wall Street Journal website - all an elaborate ruse to embarrass Canada, which is being considered the "dirty-old man" of the conference for its intransigence on negotiating better targets.

“In a major development coming three days before the final round of UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, and responding to the recent concerns expressed by the G77 bloc of countries, Canada’s Attaché for Environment and Planning announced today an ambitious plan for a new climate change framework that answers vital concerns voiced by developing nations,” says the fake release. It says that Canada plans to bring in new targets of 40 per cent below 1990 by 2020 - way more ambitious than what the real Mr. Prentice has come to Copenhagen with.

The prank continued with another legitimate-looking statement from Environment Canada attempting to contain the damage: “One hour ago, a spoof press release targeted Canada in order to generate hurtful rumours and mislead the Conference of Parties on Canada’s positions on climate change, and to damage Canada’s standing with the international business community,” it says. It says that the spoof was “unfortunately” reported in major international outlets. It says the targets and all statements in the release are “unequivocally false.”

But that statement, too, proved to be a fake. The elaborate and damaging spoof comes just a week after Greenpeace activists embarrassed the government by climbing the roof of Parliament buildings to protest Canada’s leadership on his issue.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-15 15:11:22
And while Rome burns the practical jokers twiddle and fiddle. The ultimate joke will be the extinction of humankind lamented by nobody since "god is dead" in any case.

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