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News, opinion and analysis from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

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Debatewise: If things don’t change, they’ll stay the same.

Posted by Copenhagen
  • Friday, 18 December 2009 at 11:07 am
We’ve finally reached the last day of the climate change conference in Copenhagen, and so far no agreement has been reached. The latest proposal is unlikely to see a drop in the rise of global temperatures below 3C. Despite the general target for most of the developed countries being 2C, and the poorer countries 1.5C, and fears that a 3C limit won’t really make the necessary difference. There has been much talk today of last minute deals, and hastily-arranged meetings, even ‘fresh momentum’ when President Obama arrives later.

But why put so much effort into the last 24 hours? Everybody involved in the Copenhagen summit talks will be seasoned conference negotiators. There are senior representatives from just about every country present, all of whom would have known what was on the table even before the conference began. Surely the amount of effort being put in during this last day should have been invested into every day of the conference?

Today sees the final sprint to the finishing line to secure a deal. But it’s more a case now of saving face, rather than saving the planet. Which is why there are fears that any agreement will do in order to declare the conference a success.

But this isn’t about the success of the conference. It’s about global warming, emissions, deforestation, drought, floods, homelessness, displacement, global security, life and death.

The rumoured option is to call it quits for this year, and pick it all up again in Mexico in 2010. The reasoning being that it’s better to have a good deal then, rather than a bad deal now. But, as discussed in an earlier blog, these aren’t simply a random collection of international officials involved in abstract discussions. They are our representatives negotiating on behalf of all of us. They are making decisions that will affect our lives and environment, and even if not ours, then our children’s. So is it good enough that they can’t reach an agreement? Is it right that they should take a breather until next year, then pick it all up again?

You have to ask what good a deferral will do anyway: If a deal can’t be agreed in Copenhagen, then why should we presume that Mexico will be any different. And if an agreement can be reached in Mexico, why can’t that same deal be done now?

How about another option: The great and the good at Copenhagen have chosen, or been chosen, to work on our behalf and come up with a solution that will ensure the best possible future for our planet. So why not make them all stay where they are until they’ve done exactly that, regardless of whether it takes another day, another month or more. After all, what else could they have to do that’s more important?

Al Gore and Gordon Brown are among those to suggest that if the right deal can’t be reached in Copenhagen, then COP16 in Mexico should be brought forward to summer 2010. But what do the Debatewise Global Youth Panel think? Here you have young people, many from the world’s poorest countries, who are likely to be most affected by the outcomes of Copenhagen. We asked them ‘ Is bringing forward COP16 in Mexico is a better option than a poor deal?’ So far in this ongoing debate, 70% think it isn’t a better option, with comments including: “We need some action now… better to deal with it and make a start today than leave it for later. We can always use COP16 and later conferences to review if required. If a deal somehow happens, I hope it allows for some flexibility as we learn more.”

Throughout the UN climate change summit, everyone on the Debatewise Global Youth Panel has remained balanced, open-minded, considerate, concerned and intelligent – perfect qualities for negotiators if there is a COP16 in Mexico.

The Global Youth Panel.


Debatewise: If things don’t change, they’ll stay the same.
swanandprasad wrote:
Friday, 18 December 2009 at 12:56 pm (UTC)

You guys should take over!
I like the idea..
itsthemechanic wrote:
Friday, 18 December 2009 at 04:11 pm (UTC)
..of keeping them locked inside the Bella Centre until they come up with a deal that will keep the global temperature increase under 2C.

No coke, no hookers, no sleep. GO!
No Good Deal
denhanc88 wrote:
Saturday, 19 December 2009 at 03:35 am (UTC)
Why don't we at least first get 100% buy in that humans really do have any significant impact and that our behavioral change can really sway the Sun, Earth and all the other natural effectors. If the "science" were really there then it would not have to be forced on anybody and it could be "easily" explained to all regardless of their scientific knowledge level.
As it is there will be a huge cost to all the "haves" on behalf of all the "have nots" (read blackmail) and we'll have essentially accomplished a wealth transfer and no appreciable dent on any global temperature fluctuation.


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