Category Archives: Copenhagen (COP-15)

December 2009

Recommended Reading: Good Op-Ed About Copenhagen

If you're following the Copenhagen climate talks and you're looking for some interesting reading, we recommend Paul Krugman's latest op-ed in the New York Times, "An Affordable Truth". In Krugman's words:

If things go well in Copenhagen, the usual suspects will go wild. We’ll hear cries … that climate-change policies will destroy jobs and growth.  The truth, however, is that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is affordable as well as essential.

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Copenhagen Opens: What We Expect

I've just landed in Copenhagen, where I'll join other EDF staffers and thousands of people from around the globe who are working for an international solution to climate change. It's a very exciting moment, and hopes are high for a successful summit.

But what, exactly, would a "successful summit" be? I can tell you how we at Environmental Defense Fund would define it. Here's what we'd like to see:

We want a final treaty — in 2010 — that is effective, measurable, inclusive, and adequately financed.

We know two weeks in Copenhagen won't be enough to achieve all this, but that doesn't mean Copenhagen won't be a success — it can still move us closer to a successful treaty next year. One that will reduce global carbon pollution in time to avoid the worst effects of climate change and drive investment in clean energy and jobs around the world.

The real test for Copenhagen is whether we can move forward toward these objectives, setting the stage for a final, legally binding agreement in 2010, after the U.S. enacts domestic climate legislation.

So what are the building blocks we need in Copenhagen to move toward a treaty that is effective, measurable, inclusive and adequately financed?

First we need to reduce emissions far enough and fast enough to keep warming below 2°C. An effective treaty must ensure carbon emissions decline across the globe, and that means we need a plan for all major emitters to implement pollution caps so global carbon emissions start declining during the next decade. Developed countries need to impose caps as soon as possible and major developing countries need to phase in caps in the near future, the sooner the better.

Second we need to know whether we're winning or losing the fight against climate change. That means we need a verification system everyone can believe in — a standardized and credible system for measuring, reporting, and verifying national emissions using a common and meaningful yardstick. All countries must measure their pollution reductions, report them in a way that allows "apples to apples" comparisons, and submit them for independent substantiation. Countries need to be held accountable for compliance.

Third, we need to establish paths for emerging economies to join the effort. Any climate change treaty must provide ways for emerging economies to enter carbon markets to speed their transition to low-carbon economic growth. Different nations will require different timelines for reducing their emissions under a new treaty. And one of these paths must be the creation of incentives to reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation.

And fourth, we need significant and sustainable financing and, since the bulk of international climate finance will flow through the private sector, it's crucial that carbon markets work. If no one knows what they're buying or selling, markets for emissions reduction credits won't work, and funding for developing countries will suffer.

That sums up what we're working for in Copenhagen; now we'll have to see how we do. Stay tuned. We'll be updating this blog throughout the talks.

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44 Gt figure misses the point, the turn is key

The lead-up to Copenhagen has seen a welcome flurry of target announcements. President Barack Obama has promised emissions reductions "in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020," in line with the climate bill that has passed the U.S. House and is now in the Senate. China, India and others have followed suit. Opinions differ how these targets stack up.
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New Date for Obama's Copenhagen Trip

The White House just announced an updated schedule for President Obama's trip to the international climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The President will now go to Copenhagen on December 18th. That means he'll be there for the final day of negotiations – and will have a chance to ensure the talks make progress toward an effective treaty that can be negotiated and adopted after Senate action on a bill to cap U.S. carbon pollution.

AP says the President is:

.. hoping to capitalize on steps by India and China and build a more meaningful political accord.

The Chicago Tribune's The Swamp, meanwhile, says the White House decision:

… immediately raises expectations anew for some type of climate agreement to result from the talks.

Here's the official White House statement in full.

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Giving thanks for President Obama's commitment to Copenhagen

After months of speculation as to whether he would or would not go, the White House announced today that President Obama will be attending the Copenhagen climate talks.

During his time there on December 9, he will also be announcing a U.S. emissions reduction goal "in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020 and ultimately in line with final U.S. energy and climate legislation."  This range is consistent with the targets being debated in the U.S. Congress.

We are happy to see that the Obama administration is on the same page as Congress. This bodes well for U.S. leadership in 2010.

Earlier today, EDF's Managing Director of International Policy and Negotiations Jennifer Haverkamp had this to say:

President Obama's decision to attend climate talks in Copenhagen is good news for the planet, and a great Thanksgiving gift for America. President Obama's personal involvement in this historic event shows the U.S. is serious about protecting the climate and creating a clean energy future for the world. With the President attending, the odds of Copenhagen producing real progress leading to a final, effective agreement in the coming months just shot up. This strong support for international efforts to fight climate change, along with efforts to pass clean energy legislation at home, will ensure America's place as a global leader in the 21st century clean energy economy.

The EDF team will be on the ground in Copenhagen in just over a week.  In the meantime, check out our policy positions and keep checking this blog for real-time updates.

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Bangkok is on 'full negotiation mode'-the fireworks begin on Day one

Yesterday the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, formally launched the 2 week Bangkok climate negotiations. The morning speakers included Yvo De Boer, head of the UNFCCC, and Connie Hedegaard from Denmark, who will chair the Copenhagen meeting in December. The speakers agreed that time was running out to get a global deal in place by December and this meeting was now 100% on 'full negotiation mode'. Read More »

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Climate Week Gives Momentum to the Bangkok Negotiations-Hard Work Starts Now

Climate Week is wrapping up but the political signal that was sent is clear: the world’s political leaders are serious about getting a deal in Copenhagen. Read More »

Also posted in Bangkok, Deforestation, UN negotiations| 2 Responses