Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Final Thought: Copenhagen 2009

The recent negotiations in Copenhagen to strategize a global treaty to mitigate global climate change can be seen as a success or a failure, depending on one's expectations. If the outcome of Copenhagen is any indicator, the world is evidently not going to come together to create the kinds of controls that would be necessary to get to the goal fo 350 parts per thousand of atmospheric CO2 by 2050. (That is the level that climate scientists such as James Hansen have suggested is necessary to maintain the existing climate system to which humanity has become culturally adapted.) The current process of international cooperative action is simply to slow for that.

On the other hand, though talk does not equal action, leaders across the world, including the U.S. and China, agreed to a system of verifications and aid to poorer countries dealing with climate change. Few countries are willing to be the first to accept limits that would impact their economic success, and limits are meaningless unless the largest emitters of CO2 participate and unless emissions can be verified. As slow as the international process may be, these steps forward were essential before we can expect action from most nations. From this perspective, the rest of the Copenhagen negotiations was not what it may do directly for decreasing emissions, but for the role it may play in future agreements to take action -- it is a building block of the foundation of international cooperation.

--Dr. Rob Ross, Associate Director for Outreach at the Paleontological Research Instiution


Anonymous said...

Yes, in due time to answer, it is important

Anonymous said...

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