Monday, 19 October 2009

Flash Gordon saves the World?

Gordon Brown has come a long way since being accused of blocking environmental legislation as Chancellor. Now, ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, he's warning that negotiators have 50 days to save the world from global warming, claiming that the UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change. Whilst a recent report by Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum found the UK was one of 12 nations least likely to be affected by climate impacts, the impact of climate change on some of the World's poorest people should not be under-estimated.

In December, the United Nations summit in Copenhagen will aim to establish a deal to replace the 1997 Kyoto treaty. This is necessary because its targets for reducing emissions only apply to a small number of countries and expire in 2012. It's generally accepted that once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. However, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been reported as saying "the prospects that states will actually agree to anything in Copenhagen are starting to look worse and worse" and in recent days there have been a number of warnings that progress is stalling.

Speaking at the Major Economies Forum in London, which brings together 17 of the world's biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries, Mr Brown warned that negotiators were not reaching agreement quickly enough. He went on to say that the Copenhagen summit was a "profound moment" for the world involving "momentous choice" and that (in the words of M&S, this time) there was "no plan B".  But can we rely on Flash Gordon to save the World, when he doesn't appear to be able to save himself?

1 comment:

Canada Guy said...

The conference in Copenhagen is likely to be a very important one historically. This might well be our last chance to turn things around.