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U.N. is upbeat about Copenhagen negotiations

As talks begin in Copenhagen at the historic United Nations climate change gathering, the international body i...


As talks begin in Copenhagen at the historic United Nations climate change gathering, the international body is determined to be optimistic about what can be achieved. Over 100 heads of state intend to be present at the conference in the Danish capital, including Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama.  It will be the largest meeting on climate change to have been held.

Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “Never in 17 years of climate negotiations have so many different nations made so many firm pledges together. So whilst there will be more steps on the road to a safe climate future, Copenhagen is already a turning point in the international response to climate change.”

It is estimated that by 2020 the industrialized nations must cut between 24 and 40 per cent of their emissions compared to 1990 levels in order to avert the worst effects of climate change.

However, a recent UN-backed study by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the London School of Economics, suggests that the Copenhagen negotiations may be closer than we think to realizing the necessary emissions cuts. It said that annual emissions in 2020 must not exceed more than 44 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent to ward off a temperatrure rise of more than 2 degrees. However, the gap between this target and the most ambition cuts suggested by nations in recent months is just 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

The report says the gap could be bridged by additional reductions from deforestation, by slashing emissions from the aviation and shipping industries, as well as by having key developing countries go further to cut their emissions than they are currently proposing.