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Copenhagen Climate Change Countdown News

The Copenhagen Challenge - 28 Nov 2009  

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A climate deal at Copenhagen is in sight. US President Barack Obama’s decision to attend the international meet next month has given a new hope for a global agreement on reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The news has literally buoyed environmentalists working to save the world from catastrophic affects of climate change. Obama’s Asian diplomacy, perhaps, had prompted Washington to get soft on the issue, and also bring on board China and India, whose participation is seen as crucial to any successful negotiations. Now is the time to ink a legally binding treaty, and help overcome the differences over carbon emissions blamed for global warming.


The US president had earlier put cold water on expectations when he said that a final package could not be completed in Copenhagen. America and the West, who are major carbon emitting nations, will have to do some critical balancing act to satisfy the international demand for action to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions limits on 37 industrial countries. Moreover, it would be naive to hope for concessions from the developing countries, nursing grievances with manufacturing powerhouses that built vast riches over 200 years, while spewing toxic gases into the atmosphere. Notwithstanding political exigencies, Copenhagen provides an opportunity to transform the prevalent developmental and energy pattern with one that is pro-nature in essence. The Copenhagen meet should not be another ceremonial get-together. It is seized of an issue that is vital to the future of planet Earth and the very survival of human race. The menace of global warming is already taking a heavy toll, and low-lying countries such as Maldives and Bangladesh are on the brink owing to rising sea levels. Similarly, glaciers are melting worldwide, rapidly turning the ice continent of Antarctica into an uninhabited barren landmass. The environmental catastrophe needs to be thwarted — the sooner the better.

World leaders cannot afford the luxury to sit back and indulge in intricate discourses. Rather they should get down to freeze the climate change instantly, if not reverse it altogether. And in doing so the US cannot abdicate its role. Not only Obama has to forge a consensus on carbon emissions on behalf of the industrial northern hemisphere, but also see to it that wealthy countries came up with generous monetary contributions to build the required infrastructure for the poor countries. Experts say a staggering $150 billion a year will be required to meet the task.
How Copenhagen construes political, technical and financial compulsions of climate change is anybody’s guess. But one thing is for sure: the global meltdown cannot be stalled through declarations. It’s time for action. Copenhagen is in need of firm commitments.


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Source: Khaleej Times