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The Copenhagen Accord

COP15 reaches an accord

Ecogeneration, Australia: 21 December 2009

The United Nations Climate Change talks in Copenhagen have resulted in a political accord between a limited number of developing and developed nations, rather than a legally binding agreement.

The agreement, called the Copenhagen Accord, sets out that developed nations must have written emissions target plans before 31 January 2010, in a bid to limit the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius….

… “This accord cannot be everything that everyone hoped for, but it is an essential beginning,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

China and Indonesia welcome Copenhagen summit deal

BBC, UK, 20 December 2009

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says the accord looks unlikely to contain temperature rises to within the 2C (3.6F) threshold that UN scientists say is needed to avert serious climate change.

It includes a recognition to limit temperature rises to less than 2C and promises to deliver $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid for developing nations over the next three years.

The agreement outlines a goal of providing $100bn a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change.

Historic moment, historic gathering, historic COP out

Oxfam, International, 18 December 2009

The deal provides no confidence that catastrophic climate change will be averted or that poor countries will be given the money they need to adapt as temperatures rise. Leaders have also put off agreeing a legally binding deal until the end of 2010.

Charlie McConnell, Director, Schumacher College, Dartington: It is alarming that the Accord which resulted from Copenhagen Summit is neither binding nor necessarily likely to result in the temperature limits we need. It is disappointing that the negotiations whilst agreeing the need of the richer countries to assist the global south, did not agree firmer commitments by member states to tackle climate change and the impacts this will have upon many already vulnerable communities across the world.

We could spend time wishing the agreement was stronger and the process different. But now, more than ever, we need to direct our activities to do what our politicians influenced by powerful corporate interests, as well as much domestic public opinion, felt they could not – which is to address these shared concerns and find solutions locally as well as internationally. In March, at Schumacher College, we will be running After Copenhagen: Opportunities and challenges to reflect on what happened at COP15 and most importantly how we can move your work in this area forward as a matter of urgency. And in April we shall be partnering with Salzburg Global Seminars and the Centre for Democracy and Sustainable Development to run a leadership course on The challenges for democracies in addressing climate change. We hope you can join us for these important courses.

Dr Stephan Harding, Resident Ecologist & Co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science, Schumacher College: Two degrees – this number is much quoted as the ‘safe’ level of warming for the planet, but a holistic understanding of the Earth as a complex system makes it virtually certain that this degree of warming is too high: it would consign huge numbers of people to a miserable existence and would wipe out a significant portion of the planet’s biodiversity. So, we need to do all we can to keep the warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. The most urgent task now is to stop deforestation, stop burning coal, stop the exploitation of tar sand and find ways of safely extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The failure at Copenhagen should galvanise us all to work for these outcomes in new and creative ways.

Relevant links

After Copenhagen: Opportunities and challenges
1 – 19 March, 2010

MSc in Holistic Science
Next entry, September, 2010

Gaia and the Evolution of Consciousness
June 21 – July 2, 2010

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