Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Energy in Copenhagen

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Copenhagen for the U.N. negotiations on climate change. Some 30,000 individuals are expected to descend on Copenhagen to negotiate, observe, protest, and advocate for the world’s next climate change regime, which could include meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the world’s largest emitters (U.S., China and India) and equitable means for developing countries to participate in an international carbon market.

In the weeks leading up to Copenhagen, there was a growing sense that no agreement would be reached by the close of negotiations, largely due to the reluctance of the largest emitters to arrive at the negotiating table with meaningful emission reduction targets. I too was becoming doubtful. Upon my arrival however, I was met with a renewed sense of confidence. Although significant uncertainty exists concerning critical parts of an agreement, we can expect the negotiators to burn the midnight oil (or something greener, let’s hope) in the days ahead. The pressure is on, with almost 100 heads-of-state, including U.S President Barack Obama, expected to arrive in Copenhagen by the end of next week. In the week ahead, we will likely feel hope and doubt many times about whether an agreement will in fact emerge. But one thing is certain – our world leaders aren’t coming to talk about a failed negotiation; they will want to speak about something they can applaud. Stay tuned…

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