Friday, December 18, 2009

Document Leak

Andy Revkin of the NYTimes posted a copy of a leaked UN memo circulated among party nations here in Copenhagen that details the current commitments being offered by both Annex I and non-Annex I countries. The conclusions of the document highlight something John Kerry mentioned when he was here a few days ago, even if a binding agreement is reached here in Copenhagen it will not be ambitious enough to have greenhouse gas emissions peak by the year 2020. It is widely thought that in order to keep warming to a maximum of 2 degrees C, peak emissions have to occur by that time and then steadily tail off. According to Revkin, the UN does not dispute the existence of the document but declined to comment on it.

Even under the most ambitious scenarios being considered by the negotiators atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases is expected to continue up to or beyond 550 ppm. If this happens, it reduces the odds to "extremely unlikely" that warming will be capped at 2 degrees C and highly likely that warming will rise to 3 degrees C. It would be like giving someone a set of four dice and asking them to roll four ones. It is possible but the odds are tacked against you. In all likelihood, at least one of those dice will settle on a side that shows more than one dot - no matter how much money you have bet that you'll roll a four.

1 comment:

  1. John Kerry seem to show support for the people of who were holding up signs outside the door of the room he delivered his speech. He stopped on his way in to tell them that he supports there effort. They applauded him as he entered the door. 550 ppm is just too high.


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