Whatever the outcome of the final hours of wrangling at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, the odds are that the leaders of some of the world's richest countries will earnestly declare that they are working hard to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 parts per million (ppm) and ensure that global average temperatures don't exceed 2 degrees centigrade.
Copenhagen, Out of the Frying Pan, Pt. 7
In a final end-game bid, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Australia are frantically trying to shoe-horn support for the experimental Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology into a final agreement from the COP15 conference in Copenhagen. By the end of the first week of negotiations, promoters of the technology failed to win support from one of the major committees of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
But just two days later, draft text prepared by the chair of one of the two 'tracks' of UNFCCC negotiations threw a lifeline to the coal and power generation industries by flagging that whether or not to include CCS in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as one of the most important issues requiring resolution. Including CCS projects in the CDM would provide a massive financial incentive for the development of trial CCS projects, most of which would be attached to massive new coal-fired power stations in developing countries. And this is just what groups such as the World Coal Institute and the International Emissions Trading Association have been lobbying for.
The approach the world has taken to tobacco control holds many lessons for the COP-15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. A newly-published article in The Lancet (available with free registration) summarizes the many similarities between tobacco control and climate policy, and how the lessons learned from tobacco control can be applied to the way countries approach climate policy.
World Nuclear News, a pro-nuclear website run by the World Nuclear Association, is upbeat about the draft "Danish text" climate change agreement. The text, which was secretly drafted by the governments of the U.K., the U.S., Denmark and Australia, has provoked uproar at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen.
If a captain fell asleep at the helm of an oil tanker traversing dangerous waters, the ship owners and the public would demand that they never be put in command of a ship again. But, despite 12 years of being asleep at the wheel, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized United Nations agency responsible for international shipping, is demanding that it be re-appointed to have sole responsibility for addressing the rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector.
James E. Hansen, one of the leading scientists researching global warming, would prefer that the COP15 climate change talks in Copenhagen collapse than result in a fatally flawed deal. "If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that means," he said. Hansen argues that cutting greenhouse gas emission is not compatible with crafting political compromises.