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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tackling Global Warming: From Kyoto to Copenhagen

Global Warming is defined as the increase of the average temperature on earth. As the earth is getting hotter, disasters like hurricanes, droughts and floods are getting more frequent. Over the last 100 years, the average temperature of the air near the earth´s surface has risen a little less than 1° Celsius. On first look, this does not seem all that much? However, the fact is that this little increase is responsible for the conspicuous increase in storms, floods and raging forest fires we have seen in the last ten years.

Data collected by the scientists shows that an increase of one degree Celsius makes the earth warmer now than it has been for at least a thousand years. Out of the 20 warmest years on record, 19 have occurred since 1980. The three hottest years ever observed have all occurred in the last ten years.

Besides, it is not only about how much the earth is warming, it is also about how fast it is warming. There have always been natural climate changes—Ice Ages and the warm intermediate times between them—but those evolved over periods of 50,000 to 100,000 years.

The earth is already showing many signs of worldwide climate change:
  • Average temperatures have climbed 0.8 degree Celsius around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
  • The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century's last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennia, according to a number of climate studies.
  • The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.
  • Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.
  • Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana's Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.
  • Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in response to stress—ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent. Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency and intensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise.
  • An upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves, and strong tropical storms, is also attributed in part to climate change by some experts.
Global warming is a reality and “very likely” human-induced. Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have increased since 1750 due to the consumption of fossil fuels, new forms of land use, and agriculture. While atmospheric pollution has had a cooling effect during the last centuries, the massive increase in greenhouse gases has lead to a rise of average temperatures.

Scientists have refined their simulations and now have a fairly good idea of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions. A doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, relates to a surface warming of some 3 degrees Celsius plus-minus one degree. Even if we manage to reduce carbon emissions to year 2000 levels, such a doubling of carbon dioxide is unpreventable.

With the melting of icecaps and glaciers, the annual rise has nearly doubled since 1993 to a rate of about 3.1 mm. Even if carbon dioxide emissions can be stabilized, sea levels will keep on rising for centuries until the temperature gain will have reached the deep oceans.

Findings also show that the atmosphere now holds more water vapour, one of the driving forces of tropical storms and floods. Since the 1960, Westerly winds have gained in strength all over the planet. The Atlantic was particularly affected by more frequent and severe tropical cyclones, a phenomenon in line with rising surface water temperatures.

Precipitation patterns, too, changed over the last century. There is significantly more rain in the eastern parts of North and South America, northern Europe and northern and central Asia. On the other hand, dry spells are more frequent in the Sahel, the Mediterranean, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia.

THE IPCC SCENARIOS
The world’s leading scientists have put together data and expertise available and devised seven climate scenarios for the 21st century. It all depends, they say, on the level of demographic and economic development, and how serious we are about the fight against global warming.

Level 2000: If we manage to stabilize our greenhouse gas emissions to the levels attained in the year 2000, we will still feel the heat, but the increase will be less than a degree over the next hundred years. Unfortunately, this option is not even considered a real scenario but rather a benchmark to compare with more realistic models.

Global Service Economy: This scenario provides the most optimistic outlook: by mid-century, global population will hit a peak and decline thereafter. Rapid economic changes will bring about a service and information economy based on clean and efficient technologies. The international community will unite around policy solutions—such as the Kyoto Protocol—for the reduction of greenhouse gases. While all this sounds promising, global warming will still occur, albeit not beyond a range of 1.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius.

Population Growth: This Scenario is less rosy: global population will constantly grow while climate change mitigation efforts have a regional focus. This translates into a temperature rise of some 1.4 to 3.8 degree Celsius. Sea levels will increase some 20 to 40 centimetres by 2100.

Rapid Economic Growth: This scenario has been split up in three sub-divisions. Each of them is based on rapidly growing economies and a growing number of people, albeit populations will decline towards the second half of the century.

The first sub-division represents “business-as-usual”—a world that still runs on coal and gas. It is here that predictions are most shocking: temperature gains of some 2.4 to 6.4 degrees are within reach. The sea would rise some 26 to 50 centimetres until the end of the century flooding large coastal cities and numerous islands.
Second sub-division, the most probable scenario given current trends, is also alarming. While fossil fuels are still widely used, they are part of a more balanced energy mix. Still, by the end of the century, temperatures will have risen some 1.7 to 4.4 degrees Celsius, with the oceans gaining some 21 to 48 centimetres. Rainfall is likely to decrease by some 20 percent in the subtropics, while more rain will fall in the northern and southern latitudes. The Gulf Stream will not stop, but it will lose about a quarter of its force.
Finally, the third sub-division is a world that has lived through a third industrial revolution—a widespread conversion to “green” energy sources. It is similar to second sub-division in the sense that temperatures and oceans will rise, but to an extent that experts call “manageable".

25 simple things that everyone can do in order to fight against and reduce the Global Warming phenomenon

  1. Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl). CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning.
  3. Move thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer. Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.
  4. Clean or replace filters of furnace and air conditioner. Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  5. Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most energy efficient products available.
  6. Do not leave appliances on standby. Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
  7. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50°C.
  8. Move your fridge and freezer. Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35ÂșC, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.
  9. Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly. Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
  10. Cover your pots while cooking. Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
  11. Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full. If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
  12. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible. You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.
  13. Be sure you’re recycling at home. You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates.
  14. Recycle your organic waste. Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem! Just make sure that you compost it properly, so it decomposes with sufficient oxygen, otherwise your compost will cause methane emissions and smell foul.
  15. Buy intelligently. One bottle of 1.5 litre requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5 litres. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.
  16. Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can. You will also cut down on waste production and energy use... another help against global warming.
  17. Reuse your shopping bag. When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.
  18. Plant a tree. A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%.
  19. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen. Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
  20. Seek out and support local farmers markets. They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. Seek farmer’s markets in your area, and go for them.
  21. Reduce the number of kilometres you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible. Avoiding just 10 km of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year!
  22. Keep your car tuned up. Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere.
  23. Drive carefully and do not waste fuel. You can reduce CO2 emissions by readjusting your driving style. Choose proper gears, do not abuse the gas pedal, use the engine brake instead of the pedal brake when possible and turn off your engine when your vehicle is motionless for more than one minute. By readjusting your driving style you can save money on both fuel and car maintenance.
  24. Protect and conserve forest worldwide. Forests play a critical role in global warming: they store carbon. When forests are burned or cut down, their stored carbon is release into the atmosphere—deforestation now accounts for about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Conservation International has more information on saving forests from global warming.
  25. Make sure your voice is heard! You must have a stronger commitment from your government in order to stop global warming and implement solutions and such a commitment won’t come without a dramatic increase in citizen lobbying for new laws with teeth. Make sure your voice is heard by voting!

MYTH & FACTS

That the science of global warming is too uncertain to act on is a
myth as there is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.

The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas) and cutting down forests. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called "the gold standard of objective scientific assessment," issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying "the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."

The only debate in the science community about global warming is about how much and how fast warming will continue as a result of heat-trapping emissions. Scientists have given a clear warning about global warming, and we have more than enough facts—about causes and fixes—to implement solutions right now.

Even if global warming is a problem, addressing it will hurt industry and workers is a myth. The fact is that a well designed trading program will harness ingenuity to decrease heat-trapping pollution cost-effectively, jump-starting a new carbon economy.

Claims that fighting global warming will cripple the economy and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs are unfounded. In fact, companies that are already reducing their heat-trapping emissions have discovered that cutting pollution can save money. The cost of a comprehensive national greenhouse gas reduction program will depend on the precise emissions targets, the timing for the reductions and the means of implementation. An independent MIT study found that a modest cap-and-trade system would cost less than $20 per household annually and have no negative impact on employment.

Experience has shown that properly designed emissions trading programs can reduce compliance costs significantly compared with other regulatory approaches. For example, the U.S. acid rain program reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by more than 30 percent from 1990 levels and cost industry a fraction of what the government originally estimated. A mandatory cap on emissions could spur technological innovation that could create jobs and wealth. Letting global warming continue until we are forced to address it on an emergency basis could disrupt and severely damage economy of various countries. It is far wiser and more cost-effective to act now.

Water vapour is the most important, abundant greenhouse gas. So if we’re going to control a greenhouse gas, why don’t we control it instead of carbon dioxide (CO2)? This is a myth. The fact is: although water vapour traps more heat than CO2, because of the relationships among CO2, water vapour and climate, to fight global warming nations must focus on controlling CO2.

Atmospheric levels of CO2 are determined by how much coal, natural gas and oil we burn and how many trees we cut down, as well as by natural processes like plant growth. Atmospheric levels of water vapour, on the other hand, cannot be directly controlled by people; rather, they are determined by temperatures. The warmer the atmosphere, the more water vapour it can hold. As a result, water vapour is part of an amplifying effect. Greenhouse gases like CO2 warm the air, which in turn adds to the stock of water vapour, which in turn traps more heat and accelerates warming. The best way to lower temperature and thus reduce water vapour levels is to reduce CO2 emissions.

Global warming and extra CO2 will actually be beneficial—they reduce cold-related deaths and stimulate crop growth. This is a myth. The fact is that any beneficial effects will be far outweighed by damage and disruption.

Even a warming in just the middle range of scientific projections would have devastating impacts on many sectors of the economy. Rising seas would inundate coastal communities, contaminate water supplies with salt and increase the risk of flooding by storm surge, affecting tens of millions of people globally. Moreover, extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts and floods, are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity, causing loss of lives and property and throwing agriculture into turmoil.

Even though higher levels of CO2 can act as a plant fertilizer under some conditions, scientists now think that the "CO2 fertilization" effect on crops has been overstated; in natural ecosystems, the fertilization effect can diminish after a few years as plants acclimate. Furthermore, increased CO2 may benefit undesirable, weedy species more than desirable species.

The notion that there will be regional “winners” and “losers” in global warming is based on a world-view from the 1950’s. We live in a global community. Never mind the moral implications—when an environmental catastrophe creates millions of refugees half-way around the world, everyone will be affected.

Global warming is just part of a natural cycle. The Arctic has warmed up in the past. This is a myth. The fact is that the global warming we are experiencing is not natural. People are causing it.

People are causing global warming by burning fossil fuels (like oil, coal and natural gas) and cutting down forests. Scientists have shown that these activities are pumping far more CO2 into the atmosphere than was ever released in hundreds of thousands of years. This build-up of CO2 is the biggest cause of global warming. Since 1895, scientists have known that CO2 and other greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the earth. As the warming has intensified over the past three decades, scientific scrutiny has increased along with it. Scientists have considered and ruled out other, natural explanations such as sunlight, volcanic eruptions and cosmic rays.

As for previous Arctic warming, it is true that there were stretches of warm periods over the Arctic earlier in the 20th century. The limited records available for that time period indicate that the warmth did not affect as many areas or persist from year to year as much as the current warmth. But that episode, however warm it was, is not relevant to the issue at hand, because a brief regional trend does not discount a longer global phenomenon.

We can adapt to climate change—civilization has survived droughts and temperature shifts before. This is again a myth. The fact is that although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, stretches of warmth and cold and more, entire societies have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.

The current warming of our climate will bring major hardships and economic dislocations—untold human suffering, especially for our children and grandchildren. We are already seeing significant costs from today's global warming which is caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Climate has changed in the past and human societies have survived, but today six billion people depend on interconnected ecosystems and complex technological infrastructure.

What's more, unless we limit the amount of heat-trapping gases we are putting into the atmosphere, we will face a warming trend unseen since human civilization began 10,000 years ago.

The consequences of continued warming at current rates are likely to be dire. Many densely populated areas, such as low-lying coastal regions, are highly vulnerable to climate shifts. A middle-of-the-range projection is that the homes of 13 to 88 million people around the world would be flooded by the sea each year in the 2080s. Poorer countries and small island nations will have the hardest time adapting.

Scarcity of water and food could lead to major conflicts with broad ripple effects throughout the globe. Even if people find a way to adapt, the wildlife and plants on which we depend may be unable to adapt to rapid climate change. While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear.

Recent cold winters and cool summers don’t feel like global warming to me. This is a myth. The fact is: while different pockets of the world have experienced some cold winters here and there, the overall trend is warmer winters.

Measurements show that over the last century the earth’s climate has warmed overall, in all seasons, and in most regions. Climate sceptics mislead the public when they claim that the winter of 2003–2004 was the coldest ever in the north-eastern United States. That winter was only the 33rd coldest in the region since records began in 1896. Furthermore, a single year of cold weather in one region of the globe is not an indication of a trend in the global climate, which refers to a long-term average over the entire planet.

Global warming can’t be happening because some glaciers and ice sheets are growing, not shrinking. This is a myth. The fact is that in most parts of the world, the retreat of glaciers has been dramatic. The best available scientific data indicate that Greenland's massive ice sheet is shrinking.

Between 1961 and 1997, the world’s glaciers lost 890 cubic miles of ice. The consensus among scientists is that rising air temperatures are the most important factor behind the retreat of glaciers on a global scale over long time periods. Some glaciers in western Norway, Iceland and New Zealand have been expanding during the past few decades. That expansion is a result of regional increases in storm frequency and snowfall rather than colder temperatures—not at all incompatible with a global warming trend.

In Greenland, a NASA satellite that can measure the ice mass over the whole continent has found that although there is variation from month to month, over the longer term, the ice is disappearing. In fact, there are worrisome signs that melting is accelerating: glaciers are moving into the ocean twice as fast as a decade ago, and, over time, more and more glaciers have started to accelerate.

Accurate weather predictions a few days in advance are hard to come by. Why on earth should we have confidence in climate projections decades from now? This is a myth. The fact is that climate prediction is fundamentally different from weather prediction, just as climate is different from weather.

It is often more difficult to make an accurate weather forecast than a climate prediction. The accuracy of weather forecasting is critically dependent upon being able to exactly and comprehensively characterize the present state of the global atmosphere. Climate prediction relies on other, longer ranging factors. For instance, we might not know if it will be below freezing on a specific December day in New England, but we know from our understanding of the region's climate that the temperatures during the month will generally be low.

WHAT IS CLIMATEGATE?

In late November 2009, hackers unearthed hundreds of emails at the UK's University of East Anglia that exposed private conversations among top-level British and US climate scientists discussing whether certain data should be released to the public. The email exchanges also refer to statistical tricks used to illustrate climate change trends, and call climate sceptics idiots, according to the New York Times.

One such trick was used to create the well-known hockey-stick graph, which shows a sharp uptick in temperature increases during the 20th century. Former US Vice-President Al Gore relied heavily on the graph as evidence of human-caused climate change in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The data used for this graph came from two sources: thermostat readings and tree-ring samples. While thermostat readings have consistently shown a temperature rise over the past hundred years, tree-ring samples show temperature increases stalling around 1960.

On the hockey-stick graph, thermostat-only data is grafted onto data that incorporates both thermostat and tree-ring readings, essentially presenting a seamless picture of two different data sets, the hacked emails revealed.

But scientists argue that dropping the tree-ring data was no secret and has been written about in the scientific literature for years.

Climate change sceptics have heralded the emails as an attempt to fool the public, according to the Times.

Yet climate scientists maintain that these controversial points are small blips that are inevitable in scientific research, and that the evidence for human-induced climate change is much broader and still widely accepted.

KYOTO PROTOCOL

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.
The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. 184 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords.”

The Kyoto mechanisms
Under the Treaty, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms.

The Kyoto mechanisms are: 1. Emissions trading—known as “the carbon market". 2. Clean development mechanism (CDM). 3. Joint implementation (JI).

The mechanisms help stimulate green investment and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way.

Under the Protocol, countries’ actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of the trades carried out.

Registry systems track and record transactions by Parties. The UN Climate Change Secretariat, based in Bonn, Germany, keeps an international transaction log to verify that transactions are consistent with the rules of the Protocol.

Reporting is done by Parties by way of submitting annual emission inventories and national reports under the Protocol at regular intervals.

A compliance system ensures that Parties are meeting their commitments and helps them to meet their commitments if they have problems doing so.

The Kyoto Protocol, like the Convention, is also designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. It facilitates the development and deployment of techniques that can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Fund is financed mainly with a share of proceeds from CDM project activities.

COPENHAGEN ACCORD

The Copenhagen Accord, the first global agreement of the 21st century to comprehensively influence the flow and share of natural resources, was agreed upon by 26 most influential countries in the wee hours of December 19, 2009, in the capital of Denmark. The US led the pack of architects with the BASIC four—China, India, Brazil and South Africa (in that order)—working as sometimes reluctant and sometimes willing, but always key partners in framing the agreement.

The accord demands that increase in global temperatures be kept below 2 degrees on the basis of equity. It requires global emissions as well as all national emissions to peak at a certain time but is mindful of concerns of economic development. It asks industrialized countries, except the US, to take emission cuts in future, but not necessarily under the Kyoto Protocol. It lays out up to $30 billion of quick-start finance and $100 billion starting 2020, using all the routes of transfer possible. It requires mitigation actions from developing countries for the first time to be listed in an international agreement.

The rules of multilateral engagement got re-written as new alignments created a coterie of the powerful that brokered deals in closed rooms: each working at the end to preserve, if not improve its immediate economic status.

The pact they forged did cause heartburn as less powerful economies felt left out. Tuvalu and Sudan said it was too weak, while Venezuela and Bolivia were upset because it had not been negotiated in the open by all the 192 countries attending the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference. The low-ambition deal was seen as a triumph of the US which defied estimates to influence the outcome. But the negotiations also saw the Chinese leveraging their clout in the resource-rich African continent, at a multilateral forum.

For India though, the Accord came out of hard bargaining lasting almost 20 hours among Heads of governments of some of the most influential countries in the world. At the end of the day, when the battle was over, India appeared to have ceded ground on some issues but blocked intrusion on other redlines.

With stakes too high and the rich countries making abjectly clear that they were not playing to the rules, but to change the rules altogether, the four emerging economies decided to instead scratch up a low-ambition deal—a pact that would lower the pressure on them by lowering the demands off the rich countries in parallel.

Finally the Copenhagen Accord took a morphed form of the US-backed schedules approach of ‘pledge and review’. The Copenhagen Accord is not what the US or Europe would have wanted it to be, but it still contains some elements India would have to, at best, fight to defend again in coming years or those that could be titled a lost battle by the end of the talks.

India, along with the other three emerging countries, fought hard and won the battle to retain the reference principle of common but differentiated responsibility which creates the firewall between the commitments of the rich countries and the actions of rest. India was also able to wrest the creation of a green climate fund as well as fight back the attempt to force emission cuts through the backdoor.

But, fighting a defencive battle, evidently wanting not to be labelled obstructionist by the US, India, along with the other three partners loosened up its stance on some key issues. This loosening of stance may not hit home immediately but it left the window open for growing inequitable burden falling on India’s head to prevent climate change.

Major Highlights
  • The final draft after the Copenhagen summit has agreed to cuts in emissions and hold increase in global temp below 2°C
  • A proposal attached to the accord calls for a legally binding treaty by the end-2010
  • Developed countries to provide adequate financial resources and technology to support developing countries. A goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries has been set.
  • Details of mitigation plans are included in separate annexure, one for developed countries and one for voluntary pledges from developing countries. These are not binding, and describe the current status of pledges—ranging from ‘under consideration’ for the United States to ‘adopted by legislation’ for the European Union.
  • Emerging economies have been asked to monitor their efforts and report the results to the United Nations every two years, with some international checks to meet transparency concerns of West but ‘ensure that national sovereignty is respected’.
  • The accord agrees to provide positive incentives to fund afforestation with financial resources from developed world
  • Carbon Markets are mentioned in the accord, but not in detail. The deal promises to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets to enhance the cost-effectiveness and promote mitigations actions.

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