Saturday, December 19, 2009

Not so wonderful Copenhagen (but it's a start)

So. Then. The Copenhagen Accord.
Summary (from Circle of Blue Water):

* A commitment by developed nations to invest $30 billion over the next three years to help developing nations adapt to climate change and pursue clean energy development.

* A provisional commitment by developed nations to develop a long-term $100 billion global fund by 2020 to assist developing nations in responding to climate change and become part of the clean energy economic transition.

* A goal to pursue emissions reductions that are sufficient to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.

* Pledges by nations to commit to concrete emissions reductions, though the specific levels of reduction were not set.

* A general goal to subject participating countries to international review of their progress under the accord.

* Diplomatic space for the United States and China to work together to solve climate change.

* A commitment to complete an assessment of the effectiveness of the accord in reducing emissions by the end of 2015.

As Ban Ky Moon says, it is a beginning. Something to be built upon.

I am not disappointed, as I had no expectations. Getting an agreement on something like this is a major challenge, and it was clear that confusion set in. There are a huge number of threads to be pulled together, environmental, economic, and political.

In confusion, it is best to start with what is certain.
In this case, it is the goal of less than 2*C rise.
To achieve that, we need a progressive reduction in CO2 emissions worldwide.
A carbon budget can be calculated.
We need to aid poor countries, who have done least to cause global warming, and will suffer most.
So, put that lot together, and we have Contraction and Convergence as the best fit.

How do we get agreement on this?

Simultaneous Policy is the way to get past the nightmare tangle of negotiations. Here, negotiating parties nail their colours to the mast. The mast that gets most colours attracts more support, and an agreement emerges.

Finally, how do we control carbon. Here the field is wide open, from Carbon Taxes, Cap and Share, Cap and Trade, and a bewildering variety of other schemes.

I am going to try to sort these out later. Right now I need some food.


Anonymous said...

Joss Garman in the Independent has a more realistic take on the outcome at Copenhagen:

“…it has all the meaning and authority of a bus ticket…”

“This "deal" is beyond bad.”

“…a historic failure that will live in infamy.”


Anonymous said...

A Start: -

Here is a C&C-scenario image with: –

[1] numbers for fossil fuels only
[2] for all-regions/all-years 2000-2050,
[3] contracting globally to near-zero by 2050 and
[4] converging to equal per capita globally by 2020 [it'll be there for 28 days only]

Use Acrobat ‘tools’ ’select and zoom’ then ‘pan and zoom’ to get big-picture and detailed numbers as-above simultaneously . . .

C&C can be shown this way at any rates specified.

It is my impression that something like this is now the next step.

DocRichard said...

Joss Garman's glass is half empty. Understandable, as he has been campaigning for a definitive success. For me it is half full, because I have been campaigning against the skeptics and those in a state of denial.

This is an opportunity for civil society to get our act together, and hammer aout a cast iron (or should that be green oak) structure to inform the next developments, as Anonymous II rightly suggests, based on the scientific and ethical framework implicit in Contraction and Convergence.

Chris Halpin said...

It is a start but I read some interesting comment in the times by Jonathan Porritt yesterday about how many believe a weak accord is even worse than nothing at all, as it gives other nations a tactic to stall on affirming any tangible targets - instead it being left on a voluntary basis. Is this accord which fails to be politically binding, just going to water down future negotiations? No wonder the G77 wanted the Kyoto Protocol to stick. One can't help but feel a tad disappointed with the whole affair, and unfortunately its glass half full for me I think.

DocRichard said...

If the glass is half full, then that OK. It's when it's half empty that we should worry. Though I suppose that all depends on what is in it. Maybe we should be thinking in terms of bottles, not glasses.

Whatever, we have to keep on keeping on. The amazing thing is that our agenda, the one we have been pushing for three decades, is now mainstream, and our opponents the free market fundamentalists are the ones who are shouting from the sidelines.