Copenhagen Climate Summit 2009: What is COP15?

If you haven't heard about Copenhagen 2009, listen up.

In December of this year, global minds will meet in Copenhagen to make an action plan to address climate change for when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. The conference will be the latest in the annual UN meetings that stem from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio; the original summit that coordinated international efforts to fight climate change.

What is COP15?
Known as COP15 (because it's the 15th in the series of conferences), the conference will attract the world's environment ministers as well as more than 15,000 officials, advisers, diplomats, campaigners and journalists to Denmark. For two weeks the world will be watching as global leaders carve out the new rules for climate change.

Kyoto Background
Adopted for use in 2005, The Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that established legally binding guidelines for the reduction of four greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and the gas groups of hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

Industrialized countries that ratified, or "agreed to", the protocol committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% over 1990's emission rate.  As of January 2009, there were 183 participating countries working to reduce their emissions. There was the potential for many more countries to ratify the protocol, but getting that many countries to agree to a set of guidelines governing pollution is challenging, to say the least. "This is the most complicated deal the world has ever tried to put together," says Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College and an adviser on climate change to the Foreign Office. "In effect, you're asking nearly 200 countries to align their energy policies – to create a common world energy policy. If you look at how hard it has been for the member states of the European Union to align their energy policies, you get an idea of the difficulty of attempting it with the whole world."

Kyoto and the US
The US rejected the 1997 Kyoto protocol. Former president George Bush argued that the 5% reduction required by Kyoto would "wreck [the American] economy" and made no demands on  (at the time) emerging economies like China and India. Thankfully, COP15's chances of success have been improved by President Barack Obama's agenda to achieve an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In April, secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the US was "determined to make up for lost time both at home and abroad". "The US is no longer absent without leave," she said.

What can you do?

In the countdown to Copenhagen, you can take action by demanding that world leaders attend the conference and address their country's obligations to fighting climate change. Send a letter to world leaders like President Obama, President Hu Jintao of China, French President Nicolas Sarcozy, among others.

In the months leading up to COP15, we'll keep updating you on the issues and ways you can take action.

Posted by himanshu on April 22,2010 at 5:06 AM

it was a very important and good step.

Posted by nilisha on January 10,2010 at 6:26 AM

hey dudes!! u need 2 du sumthig practical!!

things w'nt change if u keep taking nd sleeping!!

Posted by Artie on December 6,2009 at 10:54 PM

Peter what power stations are you promoting??? Maybe I am missing something, What kind of power(fuel) is going to run these "power stations""


Posted by Peter-Paul Aquilina on November 13,2009 at 5:02 AM

Peter Paul Aquilina

Please present this note to the world leaders at Copenhagen.

Do we really need to keep going in the same direction burning fossil for power generation, mining  uranium for power plants, or depending twenty-four hours a day 360 days a year for sunshine  or for  strong wind to produce electricity; only to face disasters one after another until we have no planet left?  As the world population keeps growing, so does the demand on these resources, which eventually, the cost will became so disproportioned to maintain a stable economic system;  many people will be suffering severe financial hardship. We will be seeing that soon, it is not far away; as the cost of electricity will double bringing an increase in the cost of electricity dependent products as well.

And how many more creatures are to be driven out of their habitats' and into reserves, so men can live the stylish life he wants to live?  We definitely need a change to restore the damage we have done upon our world, the environment; after all it is our only planet. I would estimate land acquired all over the world to built cities, highways and other structures such as dams, factories and so on, would most probably cover the size of Australia. In the next two hundred years as the world population increases so does the demand on this planet. If we are heading for a disaster now, what's going to happen in the future?   It is frustrating to think that far, not many do. And what is the critical world population that our world could support? We already have dry lakes and rivers that once upon a time no one would imagine they could dry up.    

No we do not really need fossil fuels to power electrical generators, or uranium for nuclear power plants, or wind turbine?  All of these, in my view are uneconomical, hazardous, and environmentally disastrous. Solar cells also have multiple drawbacks. It is not feasible to use such resources.    

The way to go is the way I had thought of for many years. Our world has the most safe, environmentally friendly, economically to produce and above all in great abundance of all, that don't need replenishments. Billions of kilowatts that could light up the whole Globe. These power stations could be built anywhere, in remote area as well as in urban area.  The potential is tremendous.

Yours truly

     Peter-P Aquilina

Posted by hi on September 8,2009 at 10:13 PM

It is a good idea

Posted by OCEAN PEOPLE on June 25,2009 at 8:33 PM

We need action, our island nations are suffereing, We dont need bandaid solutions......enough is enough. Kyoto, Bali and now........time is running out, i dont my people to forecd out of their homes,

We dont anymore agreement but people to make da change

Let us live

Posted by Barun on June 8,2009 at 5:08 AM

Good one ..............concise nad informative

I believe the ill effects of climate change stands as a devil on the door, we can no longer ignore or procrastinate it. Let's wake up as citizens of the earth and and return our due to the planet.

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