7 Dec 2009

Copenhagen, a no nonsense guide

Climate change is probably the greatest challenge humanity faces. It is encouraging that the US is now supporting efforts to tackle climate change. However Copenhagen even if it does succeed is unlikely to agree on targets of 350ppm of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, thus temperatures are likely to rise above 4c by the end of the century with serious results.

Even more threatening is the fact that the entire global framework for 'tackling' climate change is based on emissions trading. Because of poor design, cheating and opt outs emissions trading has so far failed to reduce emissions at all! Companies and countries can buy additional permits to keep on polluting. Such permits in theory would reduce CO2 but there is widespread cheating.

Carbon trading like carbon offset has done nothing to cut emissions but has made bankers billions in profit.

'Solutions' such as biofuels accelerate environmental damage and injustice, nuclear power is dangerous and polluting.

A real solution demands actual cuts in emissions via a green new deal that would reduce emissions and create '1 million new jobs', affordable public transport, promotion of more economic localisation (for example more local businesses mean less commuting), insulation, organic agriculture (factory farming and non organic is very energy intensive), war is very energy intensive as well, so policies for peace reduce emissions more than low energy light bulbs.

In short Copenhagen (though this very unlikely) needs to shift from carbon trading to practical policies to promote renewables, etc and needs to be based on climate justice with wealthy countries cutting emissions more.

The cuts need are likely to be 80% but far from being sacrifices they would improve life and strenghten the economy, for example, by reducing our dependancy on oil. It is also vitally important that rainforests that act as carbon sinks are preserved this should mean leaving them in the hands of indigenous and other local people not privatising them.

Electing Green MPs and supporting non violent direct action are both essential to achieving change.

Background articles
This is good and specific on Copenhagen http://www.redpepper.org.uk/What-s-at-stake-in-Copenhagen
on climate sceptics this from the BBC is handy http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8376286.stm

Danial Tanuro from the USFI does some very good work and is friends with a number of climate scientists, he also has a scientific background so has a good hold on the issues http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1755

This is on indigenous issues (but unfortunately includes typing errors) http://www.greenparty.org.uk/mediacentre/releases/09-11-09-Derek-Wall-Derek-Wall-Copenhagen-climate-change-and-indigeneous-peoples.html