The Reasoned Review

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Copenhagen Finale

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Well, the Copenhagen Climate Conference is just about over, and the amount of “binding agreements” which have so far been enacted would cause an impassioned observer to weep. The airplanes used by the delegates to get to Denmark probably emitted far more carbon than their collective agreement will cut.

Furthermore, a memo intercepted by (you guessed it) The Guardian expresses in stark detail just how far the goalposts have moved.

As they say:

The draft says countries “ought” to limit global warming to 2C, but does not bind them to do so. Rises of 2C and above are the levels scientists say would result in catastrophic consequences in many parts of the world.

It does not give specific targets for emissions cuts or a peak year for global emissions but says only that “deep cuts” are required and that emissions should peak “as soon as possible”. However, the text makes it clear that this subject is still under negotiation.

The text, drafted by a select group of 28 leaders – including UK prime minister, Gordon Brown – in the early hours of this morning, proposes extending negotiations for another year until the next scheduled UN meeting on climate change in Mexico City in December 2010.

So the world went (in three short days) from demanding that global temperatures rise only 2 degrees C to making that number “more of a guideline”. No binding emissions cuts have been agreed upon, and the world has decided, in essence, to procrastinate yet another year.

I have always thought that if our leaders weren’t so implacably old, we would have gotten on climate change much more vigorously. After all, if one is older than 50, greenhouse gases, emissions cuts, and sea-level rises don’t really mean that much. Those over 50 will be dead long before the effects of climate change make themselves known. Those between 10 and 35 years old, however, will have a front row seat for the havoc our short-sighted leaders will wreak. I, for instance, at age 22, will be quite alive during the doomsday year of 2050, and will likely see the sea levels rise, the deserts encroach, the rains dry up, the ice caps melt. The ones making these decisions, however, can rest assured that, after having lived a fruitful and extravagant life, they will sleep the great sleep before things become too hairy.

No wonder they don’t care!

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Written by pavanvan

December 18, 2009 at 7:17 pm

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