What is Copenhagen 2009 about?
The Kyoto Protocol to prevent climate change andglobal warming runs out in 2012. To keep the processon track, a new protocol is needed. At the conerencein Copenhagen 2009 the parties o the United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)meet or the last time beore the climate agreementneeds to be reviwed. Thereore, the Copenhagen coner-ence is vital to the uture o the world’s climate. It isexpected that a new Protocol to address global warm-ing and climate change will emerge
to have a large impact on the climate is the burning o ‘ossil uels’ such as coal, oil and gas. These uelscontain carbon. Burning them makes carbon dioxide.People burn ossil uels when they drive cars, usecoal-red electricity, fy in planes, or consume prod-ucts. Some o the gases released rom burning ossiluels are ‘greenhouse gases’, which act like a blanketaround the earth, trapping heat and warming theearth’s atmosphere. Industrialised countries havereleased huge amounts o greenhouse gases into theatmosphere.From 1906 to 2005, global average tempera-tures have increased by 0.74 °C (23 F). The rate o global warming has increased massively rom the1970s to the present. This has led to a rise in globalsea levels and a highly increased requency o extremeweather events such as heat waves, droughts, foodsand hurricanes.
It is now unequivocally accepted by the world’sscientic community that human activities intensiythe natural greenhouse eect by emitting heat-trappinggases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4)and nitrous oxide (N2O). Between 1970 and 2004,global greenhouse gas emissions have increased by70% due to human activity.By 2100, global temperature could increase by1.1 °C to 6.4 ° C, depending on the international com-munity’s ability and willingness to eectively mitigategreenhouse gas emissions. Never beore in humanhistory have we experienced a climate temperaturechange o this magnitude.Climate change has become a global issue a-ecting everyone on the planet. I people work togetherand take immediate action, they can stop dangerousclimate change. I it is to be halted, industrialisedcountries need to reduce greenhouse pollution by 20%by 2020, and by 80% by the middle o the century.Key ways to achieve this are:
Set legally binding targets to reduce climatechange pollution.
Switch to renewable energy sources, like solarand wind power, and move away rom dirtycoal.
Set energy eciency targets to ensure energy isused wisely.
Shit rom private cars to public transport.
Stop large-scale land clearance.
Scientists warn that destabilized ecosystems couldreact with unpredictable, abrupt and nonlinear eventswith catastrophic consequences or humans and theenvironment. These nonlinear changes are uelled by‘sel-regulating positive eed-back loops’ that acceler-ate the destabilization process.
Research suggests that these eedback loopshave already begun
: During 2007, the withdrawal o Arctic ice broke all previous records, reaching an alltime low o 4.13 million sq km and alling below theprevious record o 2005 by an area roughly the size o Texas and Caliornia combined. Due to eedback pro-cesses, scientists drastically reconsidered their previousestimates o an ice-ree Arctic projected or the latterhal o the 21st century and are now orecasting atotal disappearance o Arctic sea ice at a much earlierpoint in time.Climate change leads to a
massive meltdowno glaciers and inland ice
: According to the UnitedNations Environment Programme, Himalayan gla-ciers – the world’s largest store o water outside thepolar caps serving as a reshwater reserve or almost40% o the world’s population – are retreating at ratesbetween 10 to 60 meters per year. As glaciers retreat,lakes orm, which accumulate increasing amounts o water, putting downstream communities at risk o glacial lake fooding.Global warming has a
devastating impact onthe world’s ecosystems and biodiversity
: Around one-hal o the world’s coral rees have suered ‘bleaching’as a result o warming seas. For many species, climatesystems are changing more rapidly than they can adaptto. And according to the Millennium Ecosystem As-sessment, the current rate o extinction o species is upto 1,000 times higher than the ossil record indicates.
Climate change has a
disproportionate eect on theworld’s poor
. Their susceptibilty to climate change ishigher and their capacity or adaptation lower, becausethey lack the means to protect themselves rom ris-ing sea levels, increased natural hazards and changesin rainall patterns. The
betweenresponsibility or the causes o climate change andvulnerability to its impacts is one o the most urgentethical challenges posed by global warming.