Global environmental challenges
from UK News:
While attending a meeting of prominent climate sceptics during the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December (an anti-COP15, if you will), I listened to each of the speakers put forward their theory on why conventional evidence on the primary causes of climate change should be dismissed as, for lack of a better phrase, complete hokum.
Among their denunciations of widely-accepted truths regarding global warming, greenhouse gases, melting glaciers and rising sea levels was the assertion that a change in attitude was afoot; the public may have been duped into believing the mainstream scientific assessment of climate change, but not for long.
There was something in the air, the sceptics said, and soon people would begin to question their trust in the majority view.
I’m no scientist and am in no position to comment on the validity of any of the evidence on show; as journalists we were there to make sure both sides of the argument were being heard. This group of climate outcasts were in every sense on the fringes of COP15, but after a series of controversies in recent weeks it seems they were right about one thing at least -- the public conviction about the threat of climate change is slipping.
(Updates with comments from Karen Alderman Harbert)
A key component of a prospective climate deal coming into Copenhagen has been the targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Targets would help put a “price” on carbon emissions that could then be bought and sold under a cap and trade scheme. (Click here for a related article.)
The talks were supposed to be over, “family photo” taken, and slaps on the back given all round.
So all the 193 countries and many RINGOS, BINGOS, YOUNGOS, banks and others who had set up temporary Copenhagen offices had been told to have them packed up by Friday evening.
from Mario Di Simine:
You go for walks, maybe stretch out on an open couch, perhaps stand in long lines for a luke-warm bite to eat. You make numerous trips to the vending machines, munch on biscuits, chat with colleagues. Life in the fast lane of the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen has slowed down to a crawl, and the waiting is most certainly the hardest part.
On the final day of the conference, the media -- and everyone else -- is looking forward to an outcome, any outcome of a two-week marathon that was supposed to lead to cuts in greenhouse gas emisions and a 2010 deadline for a legally binding treaty.
There are around 120 heads of government at the Copenhagen climate talks, so many that it’s hard to keep track of the exact number.
Their presence has been trumpeted as a sign of the world’s commitment to tackling climate change. But in return for showing up, they all want a chance to address the conference – and by extension the world.
The issues are global and urgent, but the bureaucracy can sometimes be mind-bogglingly slow and petty.
After a day of stalled talks, the 193 nations at UN-led climate talks finally met for a plenary to discuss one of the main drafts floating around the summit, just two days (and two hours) from the deadline for a deal.
Today we pose the question to our virtual panel of experts, “How far can we trust the science of climate change?”
Join the debate and leave your comments below.
Bjorn Lomborg, statistician and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist”:
The vast majority of climate scientists tell us that increases in carbon dioxide cause higher temperatures over time. We know that this will mean changes in rainfall, melting of snow and ice, a rise in sea level, and other impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans.
from UK News:
With the clock ticking for world leaders to clinch a climate deal in Copenhagen, the last place you want to be is stuck at the back of a long queue.
But for thousands of delegates meeting in the Danish capital, that is exactly where they have spent endless hours this week.
In the last few days it has seemed like the only thing everyone can agree on in Copenhagen is that time is running out.
The heads of state start arriving today and descend in full force on Thursday.
Negotiators say they don’t want their leaders arguing over the placement of a comma or a set of brackets, and so everything needs to be tied up by Friday morning.
from Mario Di Simine:
When you're one of thousands of people trying to get a message out at once, you need an edge.
In Copenhagen during the COP15 conference a plethora of nongovernmental organizations, environmental groups, country delegations and even businesses have gone to sometimes unusual lengths to get their word out, and hopefully into the newspapers, or onto the Web and television.