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Copenhagen Climate Talks Still Retains Hope

The much-talked about United Nations Climate Change Conference opened this Monday to the tune of 15,000 negotiators, activists, and journalists. Taking place in Copenhagen, where the weather is gloomy but the 爱上海论坛官网

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mood still hopeful, COP15 – as the climate change conference is officially known – has been billed as the most important conference of its kind to date.

During the opening plenary, held in a room of delegates representing 192 countries, the Danish environment minister and head of COP15, Connie Hedegaard, urged countries towards an agreement on the political disciplines that will guide further negotiations towards a legally binding text meant to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the only existing environment treaty in town.

It is widely accepted that the Copenhagen summit will have to accomplish the following so as to be deemed a success: an agreement for ambitious emissions reductions by the developed countries, followed by a commitment by the developing countries to limit development that contributes to climate change. Also needed are ambitious mid-term goals that will direct the world towards a collective low emissions future.

Minister Hedegaard’s impassioned plea was echoed by UN climate chief Yvo de Boer, who insisted that now be the time for bold action. Prefacing his speech with a story of a boy who had been separated from his family in a cyclone, he commented that “it is repetitions of this that the world is here to prevent.”

The next two weeks will witness around-the-clock negotiations to hammer out a deal meant to proceed the soon to expire Kyoto. Though hopes for a legally binding treaty have been dashed when Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen argued for a “political ambitious” agreement in lieu of hard caps at the Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Singapore a little over two weeks ago, many still voice optimism at the possibility of ambitious outcomes.

Though how the negotiators will achieve these goals still remains to be seen, what is clear is the amount of good will that has gone into preparing for the conference. This is the first year that the UNFCCC is accrediting bloggers – a commendable feat by an institution often criticized for its bureaucratic operation. The Danish Ministry of Foreign 梧桐别院

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Affairs even banded with Sony Ericsson, a Scandinavian enterprise, to provide free phone rentals to international participants. Public transit is available to all conference goers. Over two thirds of the food served on center’s premises are organic. Free bicycles abound. Bottled waters have been banned on center premises. Needlessly to say, much thought has gone into the preparation of the conference.

Copenhagen as a host city adds to a sense cautious optimism. Prime Minister Rasmussen was eager to point out that instead of a Little Mermaid figurine – such kitschy souvenirs are mainstay of UN conferences – Denmark opted to fund 11 students on a climate scholarship for post-graduate studies. Mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregard, followed up by mentioning the fact that the harbours that hug the Copenhagen peninsular is clean enough to swim in (though perhaps not warm enough), and that over 60 per cent of Danish citizens are ardent cyclists – riding the bicycle to work despite the at-times unfavourable weather.

The negotiators will spend this coming week negotiating on the new climate deal, in preparation for the arrival of ministers and heads of states to put the finishing touches – or the pressures – the week following. Though fourteen days seem like a short time to deliberate over the fate of the world, many are still optimistic that perhaps finally, in this fog-ridden Danish capital, a fifteen year ordeal of a process will finally deliver on its promises.