Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Copenhagen climate - whats happening

It's a massive jamboree, with tempers on both sides of the issue running hot and no final deal in sight.

But even so, we had better pay care to what transpires here, the effect of action or inactivity may be massive.

Starting Monday, 15,000 people are expected in Copenhagen, Denmark. Through the next two weeks they're supposed to be hashing out a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, the world deal regulating greenhouse gases that expires in 2012.

Among them will be more than 100 world leaders, including President Obama and half his cabinet.

Hundreds of environmentalists are also expected, some protesting outside the massive convention center. With the world's best scientists saying world warming is provoked by humans and that swift action is needed to avoid devastating outcome, the environmentalists will be pushing for cuts in greenhouse gases that go far beyond what most nations are proposing.

They will question the science behind world warming, holding up recently hacked e-mails from prominent climate scientists. The e-mails apparently show the scientists, frustrated with a small but vocal group of world warming skeptics, trying to save dissenting opinions out of prominent journals and attempting to hide inconsistencies in the overall data.

Most independent analysts say the hacked e-mails do not modify the nature of the discussion - the e-mails, however irrelevant, do not undermine the assent of hundreds of scientists that have been studying this problem for many years.

Still, might there be strife among the believers and skeptics at the convention? "It's a good question," said Kyle Ash, a legislative representative for Greenpeace who's already in the city. "I'm excited to see what happens."


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