Following are developments from today’s events at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen:
- In a press conference at COP15 today, scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography called attention to the gap between reported and actual greenhouse gas emissions. “There is overwhelming evidence that actual global greenhouse gas emissions often bear little resemblance to reported ones,” said Ray Weiss, a professor of geochemistry and an expert on trace gases. “We cannot hope to regulate greenhouse gas emissions effectively if we don’t know what those emissions actually are.”
- Reuters reports that two groups of experts both warn that China’s greenhouse gas emissions could grow so much by 2020 they could exceed the combined reductions of both the US and the EU up to four times over.
- The Kremlin announced today that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will attend COP15 on 17 – 18 December.
- More than 100 nations represented at Copenhagen, including 43 small island states, are calling for a goal to limit the global temperature to 1.5 degrees C or less above pre-industrial levels. Most developed nations continue to press for a limit of 2 degrees C, considered to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change. Sudan’s Lumumba Di-Aping, lead negotiator for the G77, said the 2 degree target was “condemning Africa to death.”
- A team of scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science today announced a new website that enables better monitoring of rainforest destruction and the resulting impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Met Office today announced it has gathered over 1,700 signatures from scientists across the UK in just four days backing the validity of current climate science. “This tremendous response affirms our confidence in the science, and reinforces the immediacy of the challenge and the critical nature of the discussions at Copenhagen,” write John Hirst, chief executive of the Met Office, and Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office.
- In response to President Barack Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize today, Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth – International, stated, “President Obama has been rewarded the Nobel Prize in large part due to his vision for a better future and his ability to inspire hope that bold change is possible. We congratulate him on this honour, but he has not kept true to the vision he articulated during his campaign. President Obama pledged to solve climate change, but the United States is now playing a harmful role on the global stage. At climate negotiations in Copenhagen, US delegates are working to undermine existing agreements and shirk their country’s responsibilities as the world’s largest historical polluter. They are working to protect the interests of rich nations that caused the climate crisis, instead of heeding developing countries’ call for a strong and fair treaty. President Obama’s legacy will not be determined by an award; it will be determined by his accomplishments. We urge President Obama to find in his award the inspiration necessary to re-think his administration’s approach. He must commit the United States to partner with the world’s poorest nations to solve climate change in a just and equitable way, with far larger emissions reductions and much more money on the table than he is currently proposing.”
- Carbon finance services firm IDEAcarbon is providing ongoing commentary on events in Copenhagen on its website. The organisation writes today, “A series of small but perhaps significant disputes is highlighting the lack of progress in the first week of the COP-15 negotiations. While none appear on the surface to represent major stumbling blocks to longer-term progress, they illustrate the growing tension in Copenhagen as negotiators struggle to come up with formulations that will allow their ministers and heads of state to reach a political agreement by the end of next week.”IDEAcarbon considers that this disagreement and others reflect the degree to which trust in the Copenhagen process has broken down. The widespread publication on Tuesday of the so-called ‘Danish text’ has incensed small developing countries, even though some of them were reportedly consulted in the preparation of the document.”The first week of COP is normally a time when Parties can hold a hard line, before the politicians arrive and the pressure builds for consensus and agreement. But with the stakes so much higher at this COP than it has been in recent years, it may take longer for the tensions to ebb and for minds to refocus on the desired political outcome on December 18.”