No New Treaty Expected At COP15, But…

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As reported over at, UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boe has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t expect any new treaty to be agreed upon at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. Great. Another giant conference, which everyone in attendance will be spewing carbon emissions into the air to get to, will result in no new treaty to help save the planet. Sounds like a waste of time, but I hope he is wrong. I am hopeful that even if a new treaty is not signed by every country, the negotiators for each will come home with a new appreciation for what it is we are fighting for and just how important reductions are. We need to act now, not in 20 years.

I just finished reading a great article in GOOD magazine about the COP15, and their analysis of it pretty much says the same thing – while small changes might get agreed on, nothing major is going to change. They give a final grade of “B” for a predicted final compromise, but don’t give such good grades on other important points:

– On emission reductions, non-E.U. rich nations will balk at deep cuts & agree to a meager 10% by 2020 – 11 years from now.

– On financing of initiatives, there will only be vague market mechanisms put in place, with details to be worked out later.

– On reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, only a pencil sketch of a system will be drawn up followed by years of further negotiations.

– On adaptation to climate change issues, only a vague agreement to fund some measures will be discussed.

– On enforcement, well, it will remain unresolved and/or lax as it has been for the Kyoto Treaty.

As the climate change demonstrations the other day showed (, we are running out of time to change our behavior. Unfortunately, many believe that most of the industrialized nations showing up at COP15 will only be there for one thing, and that is to retain their standard of living and not make any drastic cuts in their emissions. Let’s hope we are all wrong and our leaders/negotiators can put aside the “me first” attitude that pervades our political spectrum and learn to work together for the future of all of us. After all, we are all in this together.

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