Day 1 in Copenhagen

Updated On
Copenhagen, Denmark

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An admission, a challenge, and an unnamed diplomatic source, sounds like the beginning of good mystery novel.

The UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen wrapped up its first day of talks with a some interesting developments.

The Admission

The Environmental Protection Agency, of the United States, came out of the closet and finally admitted carbon dioxide as a threat to human health. And while most of us know that breathing from an exhaust pipe is probably not good for you, this admission does have some strength behind it. With this admission, should the U.S. Senate fail to adopt legislation (on emissions) the E.P.A. now has the authority to regulate.

The Challenge

The European Union was beating its chest yesterday, suggesting they will raise their emission reductions from the 20% they have already adopted to 30% if “other major players (read United States and China) undertake ‘comparable commitments’”, however, the statement does not specify what would qualify as being “comparable”. Most agree this move is only meant to keep pressure on the United States and China. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to bully our political leaders?

Unnamed Diplomatic Source

Financial Times Deutschland is reporting the European Union is ready to put money on the table as a sign of good faith. The money will be earmarked for climate change mitigation and adaption in vulnerable third world countries over the next three years. In a draft obtained by news agency AFP, the amount is just noted as “X billion euros for the years 2010 to 2012”, however according to the unnamed source the X will be replaced by a figure in the range of one to three.

Time Magazine has a great read on the “Five Things to Watch for at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

1. “Will the U.S. lead?” The second Bush administration seemed to enjoy playing the spoiler, often “gumming” up the works on carbon emissions. And we all remember when they walked out during the middle of negotiations at the Montreal summit in 2005.

2. “Will China and India Follow?” While the U.S. is the globe’s largest carbon emitter, China and India are not too far behind. And while they have a lower per capita emissions ratio, under the Kyoto Protocol, they haven’t been required to take any verifiable actions to control emissions.

3. “The Two Step Tango” In 2007 leaders laid out the “Bali road map” a series of steps towards replacing the Kyoto Protocol. Well, the international community got a bit delayed in implementing those measures.

4. “Seeing REDD on deforestation” The loss of tropical forests plays a major role in climate change, contributing to 15% of global greenhouse gases. Slowing the rate of deforestation has a double benefit, but presently there’s no mechanism for developing countries to earn carbon funding by keeping their trees.

5. “Financial Adaption” It’s not all about the smoke, Global warming is coming even if we do act fast. For a long time no one could agree on how much money would need to spent, the numbers range from $10 to $100 billion, its time to nail that number down.

Read the entire article at

Lets hope day two is just as interesting.

  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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