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Copenhagen summit reaches weak agreement

After two weeks of talks on climate change in Copenhagen, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the agreemen...


After two weeks of talks on climate change in Copenhagen, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the agreement in principle that was forged at the last minute on December 19 just “an essential beginning.” The Copenhagen Accord was made between just five countries: U.S., China, India, Brazil and South Africa.  The other countries at the conference agreed to “take note” of the agreement.

Canada stuck to its long-term target of reducing emissions by 20% from 2006 levels by 2020 without change. The U.S. committed to reducing emissions by 17% below 2005 levels.

The UN Secretary-General said results were achieved on four of the benchmarks for success that he had laid out in a meeting running up to the Copenhagen summit.

“All countries have agreed to work towards a common long-term goal to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius; many governments have made important commitments to reduce or limit emissions; countries have achieved significant progress on preserving forests; and countries have agreed to provide comprehensive support to help the most vulnerable cope with climate change.”

Ban Ki-moon also noted that $30 billion in pledges had been made for adaptation and mitigation measures for poorer countries.  He said the so-called Copenhagen Green Climate Fund has to be launched as soon as possible so that it can start providing assistance to those in need and to kick-start clean energy projects.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of global warming, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020, and global emissions must be halved by 2050, otherwise “we will face serious consequences,” Ban Ki-moon said. “So while I am satisfied we have a deal here in Copenhagen, I am aware that it is just the beginning. It will take more than this to definitely tackle climate change, but it is a step in the right direction.