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Post-Copenhagen: What Now?

With all the reports, controversy, and rumors that have been swirling over the past two weeks, it's been a challenge keeping up with and making sense of what really went down in Copenhagen. Various parties involved hold very contrasting views over how negotiations turned out. China, UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon and even the vulnerable country of Bangladesh took a positive outlook, while Sweden, Bolivia, Brazil and others felt the resolution was unacceptable and demanded much stronger regulations and emissions cuts than what the U.S.-brokered "Copenhagen Accord", reached Saturday, calls for. Nonetheless, here is an attempt to break down the accord, in terms of both potential pros and cons:

PROS: During negotiations major countries, including China, the U.S., India and Europe, agreed that the risks of climate change could not be left unchecked. Included in the final Copenhagen Accord was a goal to restrict global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. Another section of the accord covers the commitment to support climate change adaptation projects in developing countries through a collective international fund of $100 billion per year until 2020.

CONS: The non-legally binding Copenhagen Accord, however, was not adopted by the UN -- only "taken note of" -- and it was not supported by all countries represented at negotiations. The accord was labeled by the Sudanese Chairman of the G77, the largest developing country bloc represented at the COP15, as comparable to a "suicide pact" -- which he would not be entering into. Also, the accord's emissions targets do not fall in line with what science says is necessary to actually meet the goal of keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.

While this may be oversimplifying things, all in all it seems that though hopes for a global treaty were high prior to last week's summit (a potential climax of decades of debate), realistic expectations were probably quite a bit lower. Perhaps a more realistic goal for the close of Copenhagen was the laying of groundwork necessary to continue talks of a binding treaty into 2010. This goal may indeed have been realized, as historically speaking no preceding summit has reached such a consensus on the urgency of climate change. As stated by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, "We now have a package to work with and begin immediate action.” Only time will tell.

For more on the summit outcome via a first-hand account from the Mother Nature Network's blogger Karl Burkart, click here.

 
 

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Copenhagen Heats Up

As the final days of the climate talks in Copenhagen tick by, heads of state begin to arrive at the summit, and the energy in and around the Bella Center has reached an all-time high. Inside the Center, NGOs and possibly some delegates have walked out of talks. Outside, thousands of protestors marching for climate justice for developing countries are attempting to turn negotiations into a "people's assembly", chanting "Reclaim Power" --a term coined by the leaders of Climate Justice Action, a coalition of global climate justice groups. Police have arrested hundreds more today, and have even resorted to physical force, using batons and pepper spray to hold back crowds. Watch a full report on the protest scene from Democracy Now!

 

Accedited activists and NGOs, including Avaaz, Tck Tck Tck, and Friends of the Earth, have now been denied access to the conference center without stated cause, further inflaming protestors in the area, and resulting in a sit-in in the center lobby.

 

In other news, Conference of the Parties (COP 15) President Connie Hedegaard has resigned her position, to be replaced by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, reportedly because of the unprecedented number of heads of state and government who have begun to arrive at the conference.

Stay tuned for more updates from Copenhagen, and in the meantime, check out this Earth Focus interview with Oxfam's Gawain Kripke who has a firm grasp on the effects of climate change on developing countries, particularly as it pertains to food security:

 
 

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Global Action Kicks Off Week Two at Copenhagen

The weekend was anything but quiet around Copenhagen's Bella Center and in the world at large, with protestors and activists taking to the streets from Sydney to San Francisco demanding a real deal on climate change. The mass action, which prompted hundreds of arrests, included marches, vigils and church bell ringing by groups like Oxfam and 350.org.

 

At the negotiations, aggressive action took place as well. Tuvalu's negotiator reached out in an emotional plea to the UN, the U.S. Senate and President Obama, asserting that the survival of his country and other small island nations depends on decisions made this week. Meanwhile, Bolivia's UN Ambassador issued a bold response to the U.S. refusal to pay any "climate debt" by saying, "We are not assigning guilt, merely responsibility. As they say in the U.S., if you break it, you buy it."  And today, African countries of the G77 have walked out of negotiations, temporarily suspending talks, in a move to protect gains made through the Kyoto Protocol.

 

All of this and more, as always, is continuously covered on our LIVE page, Copenhagen 24/7, so stay tuned for more up-to-the-minute news straight from the source. I'll leave you with our latest spot from Link TV's Climate Change Hits Home series, which discusses the impending impacts of a warming world on recreation in the U.S. Some of America's favorite (and most prosperous!) pastimes are in danger of disappearing:

 

 
 

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Day Three at Copenhagen: Climate Change Controversy

It's only day three of negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and the climate change roller coaster is quickly gaining momentum, with new urgency to release a draft climate agreement before the weekend. On Monday, the U.S. took strides towards regulating emissions when the Environmental Protection Agency announced the dangers of greenhouse gases on human health -- an important step towards setting tougher national emissions standards. But shortly thereafter, the U.S. and others took a hit with the leak of the "Danish Text", a controversial proposal by several parties, such as Denmark, the U.S., and the U.K., that attempts to give regulatory control to rich nations instead of the UN in setting international emissions standards, and drastically reduces CO2 targets for rich countries. This has no doubt infuriated many developing countries who are seeking to hold these very countries accountable for the emissions they produce.

Africa, for example, is demanding reparations for the devastating impact of heavy-emitting countries on their continent's natural resources and environment. Learn more about this from the latest episode of Link's Global Pulse, Africa: Cash for Climate Change?, and then have your say on whether or not you agree. Also, we hear so much about the melting glaciers of the Arctic, but we rarely hear about the lives of the people there, and how they are being impacted by rising temperatures and changes to the environment. This week, Link TV is airing explore: Arctic - Change at the Top of the World for a look at one of the most fragile and remote parts of the world.

 

 

Watch more about the effects of global warming on developing countries on Link's Climate Change Video page. One video from the remote Republic of Kiribati, while dated by its title, holds particular relevance due to the emotional presence of tiny island nations making their plea during negotiations this week.

To follow along with the events of the summit in Copenhagen, don't forget to tune in LIVE with Copenhagen 24/7, Link's continuous streaming video of the conference. Get by-the-minute updates through interviews, press conferences, and full coverage of the protests and actions taken on site. Join the live chat, too!

 

 
 

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LIVE From Copenhagen!

LIVE from Copenhagen!Today, with the start of climate negotiations in Copehagen, Link TV has teamed up with OneClimate.net and Justin.tv to launch the pioneering Copenhagen 24/7, a live webstream of breaking news, press conferences, and pre-recorded crowd-sourced video, straight from the frontlines of the summit. Follow summit events as they unfold and participate in a live chat with the millions of other viewers expected to tune in December 7-19, 2009.

While up to 200 global leaders, officials, and ministers are expected to participate in the historic negotiations to determine parameters of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, many are skeptical that parties will actually be able to deliver a comprehensive international agreement, and protestors have already begun to mobilize. Many developing nations have even stated that they are prepared to walk out of negotiations if fair and binding terms, that address their needs specifically, are not reached. Adaptation funding, clean technology transfer, and emission reduction targets are just a few of the issues that will undoubtedly present challenges for both developed and developing countries to consent on.

Midway through negotiations, on December 12th, people all over the world will be taking action to ensure participating parties heading into the final days of negotiations are prepared to deliver a real deal that safeguards the future of citizens worldwide.

So be sure to tune in to Copenhagen 24/7 to follow these exciting events, and up-to-the-minute news straight from the source. And follow Link's Action Alerts on Twitter for more updates on Climate Change, and to find out what you can do!

 

 
 

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