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Five Days To Final Climate Count Down

By Marianne de Nazareth

14 December, 2009

Copenhagen: As the final week of the UN climate summit opens in Copenhagen, the world’s eyes are on world leaders to listen to the revelations of science and agree to a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate deal the world is waiting for. As we waited in a line which was massive, to get into the Bella Center in the cold, it is obvious the world is much more aware today of Climate Change than it ever was in Poznan last year. Posters like the one below show you that the world leaders have to be on their toes this time as the common man, NGO’s and activists are calling their bluff, at their combined weak posturing over the year. Posters such as the one below show their obvious disgust at the system.

The week also begins against a background of the vociferous weekend’s rallies around the world that saw hundreds of thousands people from 140 countries calling for climate justice. Never mind if a thousand people were arrested, and made to sit in the cold, in handcuffs for six hours, as the rumours go. People are aware of the warnings that we have just experienced the hottest decade in history, which was ratified by none other than the Secretary General of WMO Michel Jerraud.

“Will our leaders have the courage and vision to agree a real deal to save the climate, or will they continue to play poker with the planet? They cannot come to Copenhagen just to make grand statements which play to their domestic audiences while failing the planet,” said Martin Kaiser, Climate Policy Director for Greenpeace International. Around 120 heads of state will arrive with the task of agreeing a deal to avert catastrophic climate change. This week we will see history made - for good or for bad.”
Leaders to watch this week are Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and Obama, who will, it is speculated, will produce inadequate emission reduction targets and nothing significant in terms of the finance needed for the developing world.

There are three crunch issues that will make or break the summit, if one is to sit down calmly and assess the situation at hand.

• Developed country targets: the current aggregate target for developed countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions is a paltry 10-17% by 2020 based on 1990 levels. They need to be increased to 40%. Right now the meeting is discussing a range of 25-45% cuts, which are in line with the science.

• Finance: long term commitments of $140 billion a year needs to be made to pay for developing world climate action, for both adaptation and mitigation and an end to tropical deforestation by 2020.

• A legally binding treaty: there are proposals on the table that could lead to an amended Kyoto Protocol and a Copenhagen Protocol. A legally binding outcome is vital for the survival of millions of people.

At a meeting hundreds of youth of the world here in the Bella Center, the youth were concerned that Dr RK Pachauri along with other scientists played no role in the Climate change negotiations. “Science has already played its role,” he said, “ by putting out the 4th IPCC Assessment (AR4) report . We are here to help, but the negotiations are becoming solely political and science hardly plays a role in it all. Ideally there should be interaction between scientists and politicians but science seems to have been totally forgotten in the process. He urged the youth, “ Please do not rest when you go home. Whatever are the strengths of your beliefs, go home and spread it. It is in your hands to arrest climate change in each of your countries. ”

Monday and Tuesday will hopefully see the negotiators try to finalise text for an agreement that will be then passed on to the Environment Ministers. The ministers will then further negotiate the issues in that text and send it back to smaller drafting groups, who will finesse it, ready for the Heads of State section at the end of the week.

( The writer is a former Assistant Editor and a fellow with the UNFCCC)

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