‘Climategate’ At Centre Stage As Copenhagen Opens

  • Date: 07/12/09

The Times : The ‘Climategate’ row immediately took centre stage at the Copenhagen climate summit today when one of the opening speakers went out of his way to defend the scientific consensus on global warming from the attacks of climate change sceptics.

Some 15,000 delegates from 192 nations are gathering in Copenhagen for two weeks of negotiations on an agreement that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol and go far beyond it in scope. The political deal reached here could bring deep cuts in CO2 emissions from industrialised nations and a “cap-and-trade” programme which could see hundreds of billions of dollars paid to the developing world.

But the smooth run-up to the conference has been upset by a row over the publication of about a thousand e-mails sent by and to the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which appear to suggest a deliberate attempt to skew the science of global warming.

In his opening address to the conference, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mounted a passionate defence of the organisation’s integrity and and objectivity in the face of the Climategate assault.

That he mentioned the e-mails at all betrayed policymakers’ deep fears that the momentum is slipping away from them at the worst possible time.

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China Rules Out Binding Emission Cuts, International Verification

ANI News, 7 December 2009

Chinese officials have said that their country’s pledge to reduce its carbon emissions relative to the growth of its economy will not be binding or subject to international verification, thereby casting doubts on the effectiveness of any agreements expected to be reached this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

China, the leading global carbon emitter, will account for about 29 per cent of total global emissions by 2030, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

It had announced on November 26 that it would cut carbon emissions per unit of its gross domestic product by between 40 per cent and 45 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

The pledge, however, raised many questions about how the reductions would be verified, the Washington Times reports.

Xie Zhenhua, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning body, said China’s carbon-intensity goals would be subject to domestic accountability systems that he did not specify. He said the goals would not be internationally binding nor subject to foreign verification.

The carbon goals will be part of China’s next five-year plan but won’t go into effect officially until 2011, when that plan begins and likely will take time to implement.

China will “reduce the speed of our emissions rise,” but still needs to balance environmental and economic factors, Xie said.

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