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We may be only a third of the way through the Copenhagen climate change bonanza (Copyright Rob 2009) but you could be forgiven for thinking that most people had grown sick of it already.
Actually, this is not strictly true. Copenhagen has gripped the business world, and The Lobby is no exception. Indeed, we are proud to say we now know our baselines from our carbon intensity, our CCS from our BRICs. You want to know why the US is being sneaky by choosing 2005 rather than 1990 as its base year for emission reductions calculations? Just ask us.
Forget the global economic crisis. Forget bankers and risk speculation. Forget the Iraq War, the Afghanistan surge, forget Somali pirates, forget – yes, even this – the Lisbon Treaty. For the issue everyone is talking about now, from Brussels to Brunei, is Copenhagen.
It may not be true that more people know Kyoto for its climate change summit than its Shinto temples, but will the same be said of Copenhagen? Perhaps The Little Mermaid’s days of fame are numbered.
The public can be forgiven for being confused. One minute leaders are playing the Summit down (e.g. there will be no agreement), the next they big it up. One minute man-made climate change is portrayed as an unarguable fact, the next it is being torn to shreds by a biblical-sounding climate change “denier”.
Whatever does come out of Copenhagen – and something will, despite the attempts of the latter group – the actions of the individual look certain to be more scrutinised than ever before, particularly in the developed countries. In a nutshell, if you aren’t already aware of your carbon footprint, you soon will be.
We at The Lobby like to think of ourselves as being relatively carbon-neutral – the Editors own one car between us, but we sure as anything rack up the air miles. We also probably overheat our apartments. All victimless crimes, or so we may think, but Copenhagen looks set to change perceptions, as well as reality. Time to wake up and smell the carbon before it’s too late.
56 newspapers around the world published today the common editorial “Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation” calling for decisive action on climate change.
On the first day of the “largest and most important UN climate change conference in history”, the text reached readers in 45 countries in 20 different languages. Drafted by a team from the left-leaning UK newspaper The Guardian, the editorial pleads for a “fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty”.
The piece apparently took one month to prepare and is an unprecedented initiative. The news has already become viral, and The Lobby has already played its part by blogging and tweeting about it.
We are fairly certain that more than 56 blogs posts will be created on the subject, so let’s see if we can recreate the editorial’s success. Passing the torch now…
As happens in poker games, players often “check” before betting. Poker tactics and psychology seem to work as well in climate change negotiations. After a long silence, two major card sharks have finally announced their bet as the game truly begins.
The bets translate into a 17% reduction by 2020 for the US and a 40% reduction by 2020 for China. That doesn’t sound too bad except that there is a little footnote. The base year to calculate the reductions is 2005 for both countries. Compared to 1990 levels (the EU’s base year) this makes the figure look tiny. Even tinier for China which will reduce by 40% “per unit of GDP”, thereby linking efforts to economic growth – the devil, as The Lobby’s boss likes to say, is in the detail. Whilst welcoming both players to the game, the Swedish EU Presidency announced itself to be ‘disappointed’ and asked them to raise their bets. That’s however a good start according to many commentators and China even received support from Greenpeace – so it can’t be too bad!
The EU of course wants more – as in a poker game, the one who’s got the good hand always wants to raise the pot. Shuffle up and deal!