Environment Forum

The “Copenhagen Protocol” on global warming?

Red paint is seen on The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen May 15, 2007. The statue was damaged by vandalsWhat’s in a name? 

Will the next international deal for combating climate change be called the “Copenhagen Protocol”, consigning the “Kyoto Protocol” to history?

Who would want the name of their favourite city linked to a treaty about global warming? It may be a momentous step towards a clean energy future but, if Kyoto is anything to go by, will also be hated by many. The poor “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen harbour already suffers enough from protests, like red paint thrown by vandals last year (right).

A new U.N. pact for fighting global warming is meant to be agreed at the end of 2009 at a conference in the Danish capital and, by normal international practice, it would then be called the “Copenhagen Protocol”. 

Denmark has been adamant that a baby shouldn’t be named before it is born so I was surprised this week when Polish Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki, on a visit to Oslo, spoke repeatedly about the planned “Copenhagen Protocol” as if it were already decided.

The name “Kyoto” is badly tarnished by years of disputes between U.S. President George W. Bush, who dismissed the pact as “fatally flawed”, and his industrial allies who are implementing Kyoto’s curbs on greenhouse gas emissions running to 2012.

Planet not dim to turn off the lights?

skyline1.jpgPerhaps 50 million people took part in a global Earth Hour campaign to turn out the lights for an hour at 8 p.m. on Saturday to put attention on global warming, organisers said. Did you?

    In Australia, one survey showed that more than half the adults turned off the lights, they said. Bangkok saved 73.3 megawatts, or the equivalent of switching off 2 million fluorescent lights, and organisers said electricity use dropped 8.7 percent in Toronto, Canada.

    You don’t have to be a tree-hugging socialist to see that it makes sense to turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, although it obviously only makes sense if you do so all the time and not as a gimmick one Saturday night a year.