Climate Change: Road to Copenhagen I


copenhagen symbol

With this post I am initiating a periodic update of various landmarks along the road toward the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Known in UN jargon as the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the conference will convene in Denmark this coming December. Today's update features a new statement on climate change issued by the scientific academies of the world's 13 largest economies, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Among many other things, the statement declares:

…climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid. Feedbacks in the climate system might lead to much more rapid climate changes.

The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable. For example, limiting global warming to 2°C would require a very rapid worldwide implementation of all currently available low carbon technologies.

According to the science academies' statement, all governments should

…agree at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen to adopt a long-term global goal and near-term emission reduction targets that will deliver an approximately 50% reduction in global emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 …

Curiously, the statement doesn't talk about actual global temperature trends.

Read the whole statement here. Look for coming updates detailing various scientific and policy landmarks as the world wends its way toward Copenhagen in December.