The nations of the world have convened the much anticipated
Two days in to the 12-day negotiating marathon, how do things look?
That depends on who you talk to. On the “Nopenhagen” side (those who don’t think
The Climate Action Tracker released this past Thursday by a group of European think-tanks, shows that all of the recent ‘bold’ climate commitments aren’t going to get us where we need to be. Emissions will continue rising to 2040, rather than peaking in the next 10 years. On this path, scientific opinion suggests that we will pass the 2 degrees Celsius mark, generally considered to be the crucial threshold for staving off the more catastrophic impacts of a wild climate.
On the “Hopenhagen” side (those who think Copenhagen can deliver an effective climate compact), Lord Nicholas Stern, author of perhaps the most widely referenced economic paper of the past decade (The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change), sounded a more optimistic note. He suggests that the major nations of the world are within stretching distance (72 per cent of the way) of bridging a deal that keeps temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius, provided that rich nations follow through on financing for things such as forest protection.
On a pecuniary note, the Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard showed while diplomats talk, money is walking — right into the green economy. Partly in anticipation of the ripples from
We won’t get a clearer idea as to whether
On the bright side, President Obama has opted to join the final pressure cooker part of the negotiations, and at least 111 other leaders have also confirmed their attendance—even, belatedly, our own Stephen Harper.
Leaders are not likely to come home from such gatherings empty-handed. At a minimum, there will be a compendium of commitments. The litmus test for whether these commitments are exercises in saving face or a legitimate pretext for redefining the DNA of our global economy will depend on the presence of credible mechanisms to back-up the lofty commitments.
For the climate’s sake, here’s to
(For anyone looking for a reliable summary debunking resurgent climate sceptics’ myths in the wake of some sloppy stolen e-mails from a UK University, check out this link.