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Climate Change

Countdown to Copenhagen (part 1)

December 7 will mark the beginning of the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. As the implications of climate change impacts become increasingly well understood, the importance of making substantial strides toward a new and improved global effort to address climate change has never been more important. Getting something done at Copenhagen is crucial in that regard.

However, as we close in on the date, it appears as though we’re not quite ready to take the next crucial steps. There is a great deal of uncertainty in terms of who will agree to what. The United States is making efforts to play down its own inability to move climate legislation through Congress in time for the December meeting. China makes strides but also continues to pollute. Europeans continue to question whether anyone is as serious as they are about tackling the issue.

Will we make gains at Copenhagen? Will we usher in the post-Kyoto era with a new and more aggressive proposal of binding targets, effective funding mechanisms and a broader set of strategies to reduce GHG emissions and increase adaptation efforts?

Probably. Just don’t expect a treaty, says Yvo de Boer, the UNFCCC Secretary General responsible for overseeing the process. Lets call it a new and improved framework instead.

Is that such a bad thing? Well, if it is the difference between moving a treaty through that actually works as opposed to one that is merely on schedule, then no, its not such a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing, but there are worse. Consider a bad treaty, for example. Pushing something through that is half baked and without the necessary planning and buy-in from crucial stakeholders could potentially do more harm then good

That said, we can still make progress at Copenhagen, and set the stage for a new treaty that does work, even if that treaty is not ready until sometime next year. Albeit slowly, positive developments have started to take shape. Beyond the firm targets, there are some huge opportunities out there, and over the coming weeks, Project Groundswell will focus on some of these issue areas and how they could play a role in enhancing efforts to confront climate change.

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Scott MacKenzie

Scott works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he is the online community manager for Climate Interpreter, an online community focusing on climate change communication and education collaboration.

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One Response to “Countdown to Copenhagen (part 1)”
  1. I’ve been reading a few posts and really and enjoy your writing. I’m just starting up my own blog and only hope that I can write as well and give the reader so much insight.

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