Climate change - Copenhagen 2009

Climate change - Copenhagen 2009

The countdown to the Copenhagen meeting on climate change begins

We have a few days.
A few days to guarantee the future of our planet.

(Let's make a deal and put it into action)

The climate conference will be held in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December 2009 which will have to set the new terms for the reduction of greenhouse gases to replace the Kyoto protocol adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005 and ratified by 184 countries (among the most sensational exceptions the United States as the Bush administration had not ratified it and Australia which ratified it only at the end of 2007)

An important date. A milestone. Practically:

we have a few days. A few days to guarantee the future of our planet.

Generally speaking, it can be said that the Kyoto has set as binding targets for industrialized countries, a reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) by no less than 5% compared to the values ​​compared to 1990 levels, in the five-year period 2008 - 2012. The protocol recognizes industrialized countries as the mainly responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere as a result of over 150 years of industrial activity, imposing a greater burden on them based on the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities".

The procedures for implementing the protocol as well as being carried out through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; hydrofluorocarbons; perfluorocarbons; sulfur hexafluoride) also provides other possibilities to achieve the objectives set, the so-called "flexible mechanisms ":

a) Emissions Trading known as "the Carbon Market": Article 17 of the Protocol allows countries that have spare emission units (so called allowed but unused emissions) to sell this capacity in excess to countries that request it. This practice has taken the current name of "carbon market" since carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, carbon is now monitored and treated like any commodity;

b) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM - Clean Development Mechanism): referred to in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol which allows a country to carry out projects to reduce gas emissions in developing countries. This will make it possible to acquire credits (each equivalent to one ton of CO2) which can be counted towards the achievement of the Kyoto protocol objectives. In practice, environmental investments are rewarded (to understand, if a solar panel electrification system is built that brings electricity to a village, it buys credits). This mechanism started in 2006 and has already registered 1,650 projects to date;

c) Joint Implementation (JI - Joint Implementation): referred to in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows companies in countries with emission restrictions to carry out projects in countries that also have emission restrictions. The difference between the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted with the implementation of the project and that which would have been emitted without the implementation of the project is considered an avoided emission and is credited in the form of credits (ERUs).

In fact, the Kyoto Protocol is considered a first step important towards a global regime to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provides a basis on which to work for future international agreements on climate change.

The first deadline of the Kyoto Protocol is 2012 and already, for example, Italy has been fined by the EU for 555 million euros as it has exceeded the emission levels granted thanks to the assignment of emission quotas to new electrical plants (consequently there is therefore a great deal with respect to the the fact that electricity bills will be more expensive in 2010 since obviously we consumers will pay but nothing is said about the greater pollution we are causing but the following statements by Undersecretary for Economic Development Stefano Saglia can be read on economic TGCOM "compared to other European countries, which have greater margins than ours to reduce CO2 emissions, our industrial and thermoelectric system is particularly efficient. For this reason it is impossible to respect the commitments undertaken by Pecoraro Scanio, who only wanted to boast of an agreement that actually penalizes Italy a lot. By 2012, Italy risks having to purchase the emission rights by paying 840 million euros, which will be borne by the State or directly by the companies "... words that are creepy for me as you are only looking for a scapegoat and you do not think about the damage that is being done to the environment).

2009 is a particularly challenging year in addressing the problems associated with climate change. The UNFCCC (United Nations for Climate Change) has been holding meetings with representatives of various governments since the beginning of the year to negotiate a new protocol capable of providing stricter emission reductions based on the indications of experts on climate change. then in Copenhagen obviously with all the cards already on the table.

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations at the World Environment Forum held in Incheon (Republic of Korea) on 11 August 2009, among other things stated (here are some passages translated from English):

«(...) Climate change, (...) is the fundamental threat to humanity. All the problems we face are aggravating: poverty, disease, hunger and insecurity that impede progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The food and energy crisis deepens. This is the harsh reality. But there is a positive side: if we want to fight climate change and make it sustainable (...) we can promote a green economy and green growth. We are able to fight hunger and poverty while protecting the environment. The downside is equally dramatic. If we fail to act, droughts, floods and other natural disasters will intensify. Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large areas of the developing world. Tensions will be destined to worsen. The damage to national economies will be enormous. Human suffering will be incalculable. We have the power to change course. But we have to do it now (...)».

We are in the third millennium, our future is today. Should the interests of a few prevail?

We have the technology. Will there be political will?

In the recent G8 held in July 2009 in L'Aquila (Italy) it was decided to limit the increase in global temperature by two degrees Celsius by 2050. But this is not enough (considering among other things that it is not an operational plan was drawn up and there was no talk of investments) as has been amply highlighted: all too generic. Among other things, we need intermediate goals (for 2020), as science suggests or there will be no future for our planet.

We have a few days. A few days to guarantee the future of our planet.

Ban Ki-moon highlights four key points to have concrete results without which Copenhagen will be nothing:

  • in the first place, the industrialized countries will have to set an example by committing to binding medium-term reduction targets in the order of 25% to 40% compared to 1990;
  • secondly, developing countries will have to, at the national level, adopt the appropriate strategies to reduce the growth of their emissions far below current values. Their actions must be measurable, notifiable and verifiable;
  • thirdly, developed countries will need to provide financial and technological support to developing countries to enable them to continue their efforts towards green growth;
  • fourthly, there will be a need for a fair and responsible mechanism for the distribution of financial and technological resources, taking into account the views of all countries in the decision-making process.

Ban Ki-moon's concerns are basically the same as Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) who, in an interview with TV E & ETV on May 3, 2009, stated that it is essential to know with certainty how much industrialized countries are willing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and how much developing countries such as China and India are important (and willing to reduce their emissions) (exonerated from the obligations of the protocol because they are considered not responsible for the current situation due to industrialization). In the same interview he also states that it is essential to know what kind of aid you intend to give to developing countries and to know how much money will be invested and how it will be managed.

Achieving all this requires having planetary interests at heart: how much will the powerful of nations allow us to still have a home? One thing gives hope: if today's political wills fail to achieve the necessary objectives, we think that: "political will is a renewable resource"(Al Gore An uncomfortable truth) and it is we, the common people, who have the power to renew it and therefore to decide!

Let's see this video that shows us how and what we are going towards.

I invite those who have websites, blogs or anything else on the net to adopt the slogan proposed by Ban Ki-moon "Seal the deal" (let's sign an agreement), to which I want to add

(Let's make a deal and put it into action).

Read also the article: A song for Copenhagen

Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli

September 3, 2009

Online bibliographic sources

  • (various) The United Nations
  • (es) UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
  • (various) COP18 COPENHAGEN (United Nations Climate Change Conference DEC 7 - DEC 18 2009)
  • (es) IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
  • (en) European Commission
  • (ex) CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) UnfCCC
  • (es) EU ETS - Emission Trading System European Commission
  • (es) JI (Joint Implementation) UnfCCC
  • (en) International protection of the environment
  1. All the images in the article are taken from "The New De Agostini Geographic Atlas - For the family", De Agostini Geographic Institute, Novara, 1986
  2. From the html of this page you can copy and paste the countdown on your site

Video: Climate Conference, Copenhagen 2009, part 1