Copenhagen Roundup Dec. 18, 2009

Greentracker| Whatever the headlines might say, it doesn’t sound like much was accomplished in Copenhagen. As someone following events daily, the outcome appears to be less than the worst case scenario.

Bottom line, everyone agrees that climate change is a serious problem.’Everyone’ means the nations attending, not the US Congress. The stories are coming in now:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The White House official said developed and developing countries have agreed to listing their national actions and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There will be a mechanism to funnel money to help developing nations pay for technology and projects to cope with the affects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The agreement sets a target of two degrees Celsius for the increase in global temperatures. Countries are supposed to provide information on the implementation of actions to cut carbon dioxide emissions through national communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines, the official said.

Details of the language on verification of steps to curb greenhouse gases – which could be critical to political acceptance of the agreement in Congress – weren’t immediately available. The so-called transparency issue was a critical stumbling block in discussions between the U.S. and China. via Wall Street Journal

‘Meaningful’ deal reached at Copenhagen climate summit BBC News

The NYTimes reports that the ‘deal’ came after a dramatic moment in which President Obama ‘burst into’ the meeting of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, saying that he didn’t want them negotiating in secret. Because the US never signed the Kyoto agreement, these were Mr. Obama’s negotiating partners on this new treaty. The Europeans and many other countries have already signed Kyoto.


Obama’s speech to the Copenhagen climate summit text via Guardian UK

COP15: ‘Nothing new’ in Obama’s speech Richard Black BBC News

Copenhagen climate change summit-final day live blog Guardian UK

In Copenhagen

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt vowed to work to the end in trying to forge an effective deal in Copenhagen but said it’s really up to the United States and China.

Andreas Carlgren, the environment minister of EU president Sweden, said only the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States could unlock a deal.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived on Friday morning, and would meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines.

“Through the whole process the real problem has been on the one hand the United States, who are not able to deliver sufficiently (and) on the other hand China, and they delivered less. And they have been really blocking again and again in this process, followed by a group of oil states. That’s the real difference, the real confrontation behind this,” said Carlgren. via Reuters

In America

The Washington Post released a poll this morning showing that President Obama’s environmental approval levels have crumbled in the US, with widespread opposition to spending taxpayer money for green technology in developing countries.

In the wake of Climategate there’s rising public doubt about whether consensus actually exists about global warming.

A significant majority of Americans (66%) do still support the regulation of greenhouse gases from their sources, i.e. cars, power plants and factories, even if it increases monthly utility bills.

At the same time, there’s growing negativity toward the president’s handling of the broader global warming issue. Around the 100-day mark of Obama’s presidency, 61 percent approved of the way he was dealing with the issue. Approval slumped to 54 percent in June and to 45 percent in the new poll.

Scientists have also taken a plunge in the polls, with 4 out of 10 saying they have little or no trust in what scientists are saying. Read Washington Post’s On environment, Obama and scientists take hit in poll.