The COP15 climate conferences kicked off this week and as predicted, several key points dominated the focus of the media’s coverage. The plan of attack for how rich countries and poorer countries will clean up their acts collaboratively took center stage, and the world continued to turn their gaze towards President Obama to see how low the U.S. can go (or high, in terms of emissions cuts percentages) in this global warming limbo to rehabilitate our country. Underlining the urgency of these talks, the New York Times has just announced that the past decade has been the warmest on modern record. Read on for our full update!
Danish Prime Minister speaking at COP15
Rich and poor nations work towards a climate deal
With every country looking to participate in mitigating climate change while still keeping their own best interests in mind, it wasn’t difficult to see why the most buzzworthy topic at COP15 was how rich and poor countries could work together in a fair way. As you can imagine, having tens of thousands of people speaking different languages with hundreds of pieces of paper circulating is a task that Martha Stewart would have trouble organizing tidily.
According to the NY Times, a 13-page (supposedly informal) document that was said to have been drafted by Denmark contained language opposed by poor countries even though it made provisions for delivering aid to them to help deal with the impact of climate change. Apparently, it isn’t the aid that the poor countries are opposed to per se, but the oversight by donor nations which would have to be put into place in order to implement such measures.
The world looks towards President Obama
Meanwhile, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping of Sudan, a negotiator for more than 130 developing countries including China called out richer nations, saying that they should be able to take their emissions cuts even further. Mr. Di-Aping mentioned President Obama in particular, saying that he should be willing to spend more money to limit climate dangers in the world’s most vulnerable regions.
No slowdown in global warming
With the world looking to the U.S., the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced their finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the need to impose federal limits on emissions of carbon dioxide. One European leader said that the finding by the EPA “shows that the United States can do more than they have put on the table.” The EPA’s announcement is thought to be a way to keep spirits high as those in Copenhagen await for Obama to show up on the final day of the talks. It is seen as a strategic move to counteract any negativity that may surround the fact that Congress is still at a standstill about legislation to curb global warming.
And as more eyes turn towards COP15, the concept of global warming, itself, continues to draw scrutiny. However, skeptics who unyieldingly place doubt on the fact that there is indeed a problem were faced with what Michel Jarraud, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, had to say at a news conference taking place in Copenhagen: The period from 2000 through 2009 has been “warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s, and so on.”