The Fossil's Revenge

A few of the biggest stories to come out of day 5 at Cop15

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On Day 5 of Cop15 in Copenhagen, here are some of the most interesting developments emerging:

Small Island States Want More
Tuvalu stopped the show on Tuesday when it demanded a legally binding agreement for everyone. The very rich countries and very poor countries were divided. The big poor countries like India, China, and Indonesia were opposed, and probably appalled.

Yesterday, Tuvalu teamed up with the Alliance of Small Island States to release a proposal for a two-protocol, legally binding outcome. That proposal would amend and extend Kyoto until 2017 (it is currently set to expire in 2012).

At the same time, a new Copenhagen Protocol would be created to include all parties, even those not part of Kyoto (cough, U-S-A!, cough), and set reductions targets for developed nations at 45 percent below 1990 levels—-a massively upgraded commitment over Kyoto. The Copenhagen Protocol would also outdo Kyoto in that it would be legally, rather than just politically, binding. In other words, there would actually be penalties for failure to meet targets.

To appease the large developing countries, the proposal calls for aid from rich countries (up to a full percent of their GDPs) to help them meet their targets. (The current UN target for aid dollars is 0.7 percent of GDP, but very few countries meet that target.)

Naturally, Canada opposes the proposal, and it seems unlikely at this point that a legally binding deal will come out of Copenhagen.

First Climate Deal Draft
However, the first official six-page climate deal draft was completed today and it does have an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goal of 50 percent by 2050 (over baseline 1990 levels). Such a goal is still below what climate scientists say is necessary to keep humanity going. The draft does suggest, however, that more is possible—-reductions of up to 95 percent globally, in fact.

The draft also mentions keeping the global temperature increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius as a “possible alternative goal,” according to the Cop15 official website.

The draft makes no mention of making these targets legally binding, and the massive ranges of possible targets would have to be narrowed down. At the same time, the targets are high enough to potentially dissuade large emitters like the United States and China.

The Fossil’s Revenge
Canada continues to extend its record number of Fossil Awards, collecting two more today from the Climate Action Network. Toronto Mayor David Miller was on hand to accept first and second place on our nation’s behalf. We won for lying and saying our measly targets were science-based, when in fact we’d have to cut emissions eight to 13 times more than we say we will to meet science-based targets. Also, Environment Minister Jim Prentice continues to obstruct the negotiation processes, saying quite bluntly that he is doing what he feels is in Canada’s best interests, getting rid of the Kyoto Protocol.

Prentice fired back with a prize of his own invention, the Hot Air of the Day Award, which he gave to the Canadian Climate Action Network.

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