The day of reckoning for humankind

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                            The day of reckoning for humankind
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                      I n December 2009, Copenhagen will
                        be the host city to one of the most
                      important conferences in the history of the
                      world. Representatives from 200 countries
                      will gather to attend the United Nations
                      Climate Convention meeting and deliberate
                      on how humankind will be able to avert the
                      global warming crisis. They will discuss a    the atmosphere over an extended period,
                      new climate change framework that will        whilst developing countries have only been
                      succeed the Kyoto Protocol.                   doing so for a limited period. Furthermore
                                                                    people in developed countries enjoy high
                      The existing framework known as the           standards of living, while most people in
                      Kyoto Protocol was hammered out in Kyoto,     developing countries live in poverty.          the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
                      Japan in 1997 after a long and heated                                                        Change (IPCC) released in 2007 suggests
                      process. Subsequently, it has been ratified   Therefore, developing countries should         that, if the world wishes to limit global
                      by 184 countries including South Africa.      be entitled to build their economies so        warming to not more than 2.4°C, which
                      The main feature of the protocol is that it   as to improve the living conditions of         is thought to be the highest ‘safe’ level, it
                      sets binding targets for 37 industrialised    their people before they begin seriously       would have to stabilise CO2 concentrations
                      countries for reducing greenhouse gas         cutting back on emissions. This argument,      in the atmosphere at between 445 and
                      (GHG) emissions to an average of 5%           underpinned why the punitive measures in       490 parts per million. This would require
                      below 1990 levels by 2012. Developing         The Kyoto Protocol, will only apply to the     the world to reach its peak CO2 emissions
                      countries, including China, India, Mexico,    37 industrialised countries. The USA never     by around 2015, and then reduce them
                      Brazil and South Africa, have no binding      opposed this view, and therefore did not       steadily.
                      commitments; however, they did undertake      ratify the Kyoto Proto
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: In December 2009, representatives from 200 countries will gather to attend the United Nations Climate Convention meeting and deliberate on how humankind will be able to avert the global warming crisis. The issue of emissions reductions is fraught with political challenges, since it affects the trading competitiveness of countries and hence their economies. The main stumbling block is that developing countries such as India and China will try to negotiate for far less stringent targets for themselves than for their counterparts in the developed world. developing countries should be entitled to build their economies so as to improve the living conditions of their people before they begin seriously cutting back on emissions. This argument, underpinned why the punitive measures in The Kyoto Protocol, will only apply to the 37 industrialized countries. The USA never opposed this view, and therefore did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. To exacerbate the situation, China recently overtook the USA as the world's worst polluter. Therefore, what is to come out of the Copenhagen meeting is far from certain.
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