Welcome to the blog from COP-15, the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen. Over the next fortnight, officials, ministers and heads of state will be here to hammer out a… hang on there, will it be a deal, accord, or agreement? And will it be a “legally binding”, “politically binding” or “operationally binding” deal/agreement/accord?

A SciDev.Net team will be keeping up with the discussions (and quibbling and squabbling) on key issues of concern to developing countries: financing and technology transfer issues related to mitigation and adaptation. And we’ll be making sense of something that looks like this:

A typical COP

As Tove Maria Ryding of Greenpeace , Denmark, observes, everyone in the hall wants to save the world and its climate. “But what else might they be working to achieve?” she asks. There are the spoken and unspoken interests of various actors – the governments of rich and poor countries, nongovernmental organisations, international donors – who will number 15,000 registered delegates by the weekend.

The year started amid high expectations and hype that the world will seal the deal in Copenhagen. So high were the hopes that the host city was even being referred to as ‘Hopenhagen’.

The Hopenhagen posters are still there. But sharp differences between developed and developing countries and the key issue – new targets for emission reductions after 2012 – have remained unresolved, mainly on targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by developed countries, and an adaptation fund for the most vulnerable countries.

Those in the know now expect an “accord” of some five or six pages that is politically binding with the bureaucrats left to translate it into a legally binding text sometime later.

As the IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri told the Indian media last week before leaving for Copenhagen, a good deal will need to deliver on the following three key issues: targets for emission reduction for developed countries, an adaptation fund, and a mechanism for transfer of climate friendly technologies to developing countries.

So how far will the talks go? And what exactly will they achieve? The next fortnight will tell.

T V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net.


7 Responses to COP-15

  1. kskarnic says:

    The developing countries should form a forum and persuade the developed countries to agree for funding projects aimed at reducing the global warming/green house emission. Secondly, it is the developing countries which are at risk and hence their role is extremely important in minimising the impact of climate change on the next generation. The young kids have already started questioning the parents and teachers why such a situation has been created and what would be their fate whether they have to live to undergo horrendous life for none of their fault. If the national leaders fail to rise to the occasion and act, once can expect series of suicides of young people out of sheer desperation

  2. Prosper YEPDI says:

    Our planet’s situation is a very serious one. But let us not be too optimistic about the outcome of COP 15. I am afraid selfish interests will once more prevail. As a matter of fact, how far have we gone with the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol? Besides, the scientific aspect negotiations is overshawowed by financial and political issues. Let us solve the scientific problems first and agree on a few principles.

  3. Aubrey Meyer says:

    December 9, 2009

    The ‘draft-document’ the Guardian, reported as ‘leaked’ to them yesterday, spoke of anger from Developing Countries.

    The story said this was because, “The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals . . . ” – [“Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes”].

    If that were true, Developing Countries with justification would be outraged.

    But this ‘interpretation’ is wrong and probably the result of [1] poor presentation by these authors and [2] a tendency for Developing Countries to remain blinded by anger as a result of the last twenty years of ‘poor performance’ all round . . .

    In fact, the words in the draft document * – when converted to numbers – mean that Developed Countries are offering Developing Countries a global-deal based on parity of emissions-limits/entitlements per capita globally by 2050. That is what a global cut of 50% by 2050 inside which an 80% cut by Developed Countries adds up to be. [Relevant text from draft below – relevant GCI material about C&C here: ].

    It has for years gone by the name of contraction and convergence [C&C] [contraction of emissions globally to stabilize the atmosphere concentration of ghg and convergence to the equal per capita sharing of that ‘contraction-event’ globally by a date to be agreed].

    The UK Government’s ‘Climate-Act’ is based on C&C and Chair of the Government’s Climate Change Committee [Lord Adair Turner] told Parliament in Februrary that C&C is the “only basis that is do-able and fair.” He also agreed that, “if, for reasons of urgency the rate of global contraction has to be accelerated, then for reasons of equity the rate of international convergence has to be accelerated relative to that.” [Global C&C examples at faster rates – scan-and-zoom pdf with numbers – can be sent on request].

    The situation created by the poor handling of this draft is a potential repeat-failure that can and must be avoided.

    We have repeatedly advised the UK Government to make their presentation strategy and advocacy of C&C more transparent and UNFCCC-friendly [democratic?] and to invite all Parties *in* by being less prescriptive of and more biddable on the chosen set of C&C rates.

    They have not yet – as this latest affair demonstrates – learned how to do this.

    two current links for our own networked news on this: –


    * Shared Vision for Long-Term Cooperative Action

    3 bullet point two: –

    “Support the goal of a reduction of global annual emissions in 2050 by at least 50 percent versus 1990 annual emissions, equivalent to at least 58 percent versus 2005 annual emissions. The Parties contributions towards the goal should take into account common but different responsibility and respective capabilities and a long term convergence of per capita emissions.”

    Shared Vision for Long-Term Cooperative Action

    7 bullet point one: –

    “The developed country Parties support a goal to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050 versus 1990.”

  4. samiur says:

    As the indigenous communities are depend on natural source such as forest, fish so that they need an extra importance of COP15.

  5. kskarnic says:

    The walkout bysome countries and the reservations expressed by the two gaints i.e. China and India has to deadlock in the ongoing negotiations. Developed countries are playing with the millions of lives living in developing and under developed countries. It would be crime against humanity if the negotions fails at this time.

  6. Aubrey Meyer says:

    Here is a C&C-scenario image with: –

    [1] numbers for fossil fuels only
    [2] for all-regions/all-years 2000-2050,
    [3] contracting globally to near-zero by 2050 and
    [4] converging to equal per capita globally by 2020 [it’ll be there for 28 days only]

    Use Acrobat ‘tools’ ’select and zoom’ then ‘pan and zoom’ to get big-picture and detailed numbers as-above simultaneously . . .

    C&C can be shown this way at any rates specified.

    It is my impression that something like this is now the next step.

  7. kskarnic says:

    After spending millions of rupees on the summit, the outcome should have been encouraging.Instead the most polluting countries have once again cheated the humanity by dragging their feet to agree for drastic cuts in emmision and imposing strict self restraint An opportunity is last for ever. The big brothers have granted themselves the freedom of polluting the world for few more years without any ones check. The entire humanity bow their head in shame.

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