The Pressure Builds in Copenhagen

The Pressure Builds in Copenhagen

Image CC licensed by america.gov. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4166850888/

The EU is struggling currently to reach € 3 billion in aid for developing countries for the fight against climate change, urging developing countries to do more for themselves whilst at the same time cutting the amount of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) that can be imported into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) by somewhere in the region of 30-80 percent.

This will mean that post-2012 access to this crucial market for developing countries will be reduced, which would seem to run contrary to the declared aim of helping them.

The EU is considering a 30 percent cut in emissions from 2012 ,which in theory signifies success at Copenhagen. However PriceWaterhouseCoopers has reported that the emissions cuts currently on the table are insufficient to even fall into the bottom range of the emissions cuts required to have a 50-50 chance of avoiding a greater than two degree rise in temperature.

There was a great deal of activity last week with the Bella Centre buzzing with the noise of thousands of people dashing to and from meetings. Unfortunately all of this activity has so far produced little demonstrable progress and with only four and a half days to go the pressure is really starting to pile on.

This is not alleviated by the rumors flying around the Bella Centre at the time of writing that members of the G77, the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the United Nations, have walked out over an issue related to forestry and that as a result Australia has called for a halt to the group working on targets for developed nations, arguing that without clarity on what mechanisms will or won't be available to help in meeting its target there is little point in continuing.

Forestry and land use are central issues to any post-2012 agreement. Any emissions cuts agreed will need to be in line with the measures to reduce emissions from deforestation, which is fast becoming one of the largest sources of emissions. To find out more about the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) debate at COP visit: http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop15/

This year saw an unprecedented number of preparatory meetings taking place around the world as nations geared up for Copenhagen. The world leaders will start arriving on Wednesday -- in itself, this is not highly significant for the technical progression of the talks, as they won't be leaping into the trenches to tackle the finer points of any agreement. However, it has huge significance for the "troops" on the ground, as the arriving "generals" will want to see progress, they will want to see a political deal and they will want it to be meaningful. The world has every right to expect nothing less.

Miles Austin is head of European Regulatory Affairs for EcoSecurities.

Click here for full coverage of COP15 from the GreenBiz.com and ClimateBiz.com teams, including posts from Copenhagen by Executive Editor Joel Makower and Senior Contributor Marc Gunther, and from dozens of guest contributors from the business world.

Image CC licensed by america.gov.