Copenhagen, Day Five: Negotiations Move Slowly Forward

The Wonk Room is reporting and tweeting on the scene from Copenhagen during the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Fossil of the Day

Blame Canada

The mayor of Toronto, Canada, David Miller, accepted the top two Fossil of the Day awards from the International Climate Action Network on behalf of Canada. The climate organizations and Miller criticized Canada’s conservative government for its weak targets and obstructionist approach to the international negotiations. “I’m embarrassed as a Canadian,” Miller said.

Baby Steps For A Post-Kyoto Framework

The first official draft text for a post-Kyoto international agreement has been released, from the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA). There is another group working on an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, but the “LCA” track is the one which has the participation of the United States. The LCA draft “states that emissions should be halved worldwide by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, but it also suggests 80 percent and 95 percent reductions by that year as possible alternative options.”

Halving emissions by 2050 is estimated by scientists to have roughly a 70 percent chance of limiting global warming to two degrees C above pre-industrial levels. An 80 percent cut would increase the likelihood of staying below the two-degree threshold to 85 percent. However, small island nations and many African nations believe the science shows that warming needs to be limited to 1.5 ° C to ensure their survival.

The draft text is replete with brackets enclosing unresolved language, from emissions and warming targets to financing and adaptation.

Stern Said, He Said

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei “lashed out today at U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern,” calling “extremely irresponsible” his recent pronouncement that no American climate change funding would go to China. “I think he lacks common sense when he made such a comment vis-à-vis China. He either lacks common sense or is extremely irresponsible.”

At a later briefing, Stern said his comments about the public funding issue and China were “a bit unfortunate.”

However, both the Chinese and American diplomats agreed that whatever climate financing mechanism there is, the funds should go to the least developed countries and small island nations first, because, China’s He said, “they are the most vulnerable.” “Nobody has more legitimate concerns than they do,” Stern said.

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