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Posted on Saturday, December 5th, 2009.

cop151This coming week the Copenhagen summit will be going on, from December 7-18.  The goal of this summit is to follow up on the work done during the Kyoto agreements, and to try and limit global warming.

The stakes are incredibly high.  Pressure, slander and huge amounts of money and disinformation are being thrown in the way of any binding agreements, as oil companies and their allies try again to introduce doubt into the debate (hacking into scientists’ private email and distorting what they said is just part of it).

The science is clear, settled, and overwhelming. If drastic cuts are not made in global emissions of CO2 and other gasses that contribute to global warming, we are headed towards a global catastrophe. We are already seeing massive changes due to anthropogenic climate change, and it is only going to get worse.  Feedback loops in climate are making even the worst case scenarios of only a couple of years look like underestimates of how bad it can get.  And it will get very very bad.

If we can get back to 350 ppm CO2 (we’re around 384 now), there is hope.  It will be a benefit to our economies to move away from oil, and the opportunity for business for clean and renewable energy and technologies are huge.

But the challenge is significant.

I’ve included here a tracker showing real time what the negotiations are working towards. Below that are some good links to learn more.

Let’s hope history is made in the next few days, or future generations will point to this time as an opportunity lost.

Homepage for the conference:

One of our students coming in the spring, Taylor Cantril, is at Copenhagen.  He mentioned in the comments several blogs worth noting, especially and

Good summary and detailed current report on the state of the science and current situation: Copenhagen Diagnosis

The best online discussion of the science is at Real Climate.  This includes links to basic science information (see these lectures which are particularly good).

The best discussion of the politics around climate change from the perspective of an engaged and passionate scientist is at Climate Progress.

One Response to “Copenhagen”

  1. Taylor wrote:

    Just arrived in Copenhagen today with two other university students. The climate ads hit you right as you walk off the plane. Corporations, NGOs, and even the Danish government are fighting hard to get their messages out to the 20,000 people registered to attend the conference. There’s even a separate line at customs for COP-15 participants. This city is taking climate seriously.

    If anyone is getting climate depression–as Paul Hawken suggests, it’s not hard if you’re looking at the science–then I’d encourage you to check out youth climate bloggers over the next two weeks to hear about the exciting actions happening here in Copenhagen. Thousands of youth are converging on the city from all over the world to voice their concerns through clever demonstrations.


    U.S. classes going to the COP-15 (more academic/analytical): (shameless self-promotion!) (more of it)

    With hope,

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