With the ice and glacier melting from the Arctic Ocean, flooding, droughts, intense storm raging in different part of the world. Debate on the cause of this problem has risen from different groups. Proponent of Global warming activists have argues that global warming is real and maybe the cause of this menace gravely affecting our planet today.
For them, Climate change has claimed a lot of lives and many more are still going to die as we are experiencing more decreased in food production, water scarcity and diseases which are rapidly extending in different neighborhood. Although still controversial topic, this climatic change arguably are supposedly claim to be man made catastrophe mostly caused by the United States and the western world greenhouse and gas emission activities since last centuries ago. In this paper. I will be running a probable prediction on the would-be outcome of the Copenhagen conference schedules to hold in December 2009 . Firstly, I will highlight the previous conference that produced the kyoto protocol and it’s failures and also discuss the major players in the forthcoming conferences, the difficulties they will encounter in the negotiation and finally what the outcome will turn out to be.
The Kyoto protocol and its shortcoming
In the recent years, some Environmentalists, Politicians, interest groups, Activists and world leaders are waging war against the change in climatic condition. For over two decades now, a lot of meetings, conferences, negotiations have taking place in different places to address the global warming problem. The most recent at hand is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in 2005. The Kyoto protocol is the major global warming treaty currently in force. Under the treaty, the nations of Europe as well as Japan, Canada, and most other developed countries committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide from fossil fuels — which are blamed for global warming. Generally, these nations are supposed to reduce emissions by 5 percent below 1990 baseline levels by 2012. The U.S. has not ratified the treaty. China, India, and other developing nations have ratified it, but are exempted from any obligation to reduce emissions. Notwithstanding questions about the seriousness of global warming, the Kyoto Protocol has failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has had no effect on global warming.
Because the Kyoto Protocol’s provisions will expire in 2012, Kyoto proponents have identified the Copenhagen conference as the critical meeting for extending and expanding the treaty’s targets and timetables beyond 2012. Copenhagen is also seen, especially by Europeans, as an opportunity to force the U.S. to join the other developed countries required to reduce emissions. Hopes of achieving this end rose considerably when President Barack Obama took office. It is believed that, the President will be under pressure to keep his promises to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, the outcome of the conferences in my judgment may not be augur well with the intended purpose, knowing fully well that developing countries like china, India and South Africa, and Nigeria may not commit to stifle their economic growth in a bid to clear the mess caused by United states and other developed countries. In this case, my guess will be that the negotiation will turn sour as United State would prefer to have a better idea of what major role the developing countries plan to play under the auspices of the Copenhagen conference before they sign off on any domestic emission restrictions. This calculated move will be a prerequisite to any negotiation to avoid harming their economy while the developing countries also will not be willing to sign any treaty that might jeopardize the trend of their economic growth unless they see a tangible move from the western nations. Therefore the conference in my prediction will only serve as a platform for a future debate and negotiation on a way forward but will not produce any tangibles.
Intended Objectives of Copenhagen Conference
The main objective of the Copenhagen conference is to expand the emissions reduction targets set in Kyoto. Most representatives who signed the protocol seek to make these stringent targets binding, verifiable, and enforceable and to apply them to the U.S. for the first time. They identified Copenhagen as crucial to the future of global warming policy. And hope to achieve more meaningful participation from the developing world. However, these goals will make it difficult for many individual nations to agree to any treaty in Copenhagen. Most American lawmakers have started cautions the U.S negotiator to stand firm in protecting American interests and not sign any treaty that is not signed by developing countries like India and china.
Who has more power in the Conferences and why? Will the intended objectives make any difference in solving Global warming?
Previous treaty signed by western countries ignored the developing countries largely in part because they contributed little to the cause of global warming. But recently the developing countries are seemed now as key players in the debate. Countries like China and India are among the major players without whom United States may not participate in the signing of the treaty. So China and India now are seen as the main negotiators in this Copenhagen conference because their argument will set the tone of the negotiation either positively or negatively. However, I do not think this conference will achieve its objectives because of many reason. During the seminar, one of the speakers said that even if we reduce the emission of the gas or whatever we try to do for global warming that it will not change the emerging effect of global warming and climate change. Even aside from the growing doubts about the seriousness of the global warming threat — the previous Kyoto Protocol or any other putative global warming solution will only be a solution to the extent that a genuine problem exists in the first place — the Kyoto Protocol actually failed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  For instance emissions are increasing in several signatory nations. In several more countries, emissions are declining more slowly than emissions in the U.S., which ironically is not a party to Kyoto. For example, according to U.N. data, the U.S. reduced emissions by 3 percent from 2000 to 2006, while the 27 European signatories increased their emissions by 0.1 percent. Germany’s emissions declined by only 1.7 percent, while Canada’s emissions rose 21.3 percent. European Environmental Agency data show that emissions increased in Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in the decade after the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
One key reason for compliance difficulties in Europe has been the tremendous cost of reducing emissions, estimated at $67.75 billion to $170.84 billion through 2008. Despite these high costs for their inadequate efforts to reduce emissions, these European nations claim to want to enact much tougher targets in Copenhagen. Further, Kyoto’s exemption for developing nations has proven a far greater oversight than originally believed because these emissions, especially from China, have increased far faster than had been anticipated in 1997.
What are the consequences of Copenhagen conference if the treaty is signed and how will the decision will made affect the main negotiators in the conferences?
If the conference in Copenhagen becomes successful, that is if they agree to sign to reduce carbon emissions as planned. The treaty must ensure that it has independent body to have an oversight on the monitoring the treaty. Unlike the Kyoto protocol that has no international enforcement mechanism with any real teeth: Nothing has happened or will happen to the developed nations that are not in compliance, and developing nations have no obligations. However, that decision will affect other countries heavily, some countries laws like the U.S. law is unique in that a ratified treaty can have the same status as domestic legislation. Thus, unlike the rest of the world, if signed, American businesses would probably be forced to comply with U.S. obligations on the treaty. In my opinion, to actually reduce emissions, any successor treaty coming out of Copenhagen would need an effective enforcement mechanics.
Will there be any change in the environment after this conference?
No. First, there are growing doubts about whether global warming really is the crisis it was claimed to be heading into the 1997 Kyoto negotiations. For example, global temperatures have leveled off since then. However, putting the scientific doubts aside for a moment, the Kyoto approach seems unlikely to slow global warming effectively. One scientific study estimated that, even if the treaty reached its targeted emissions reductions, it would reduce the earth’s future temperature by about 0.07 degree Celsius by 2050 — an amount too small to make any difference and impossible to verify because natural variability is far greater. Obviously, more stringent targets at Copenhagen would reduce the temperature more, but not by much, especially if developing nations were still exempt from emissions reductions.
What Do China and Other Developing Nations Want from Copenhagen?
Led by China, the developing world clearly prefers the Kyoto approach, particularly the exemption from emissions reductions. Developing nations recognize the tradeoff between economic development and emissions reductions, and they have chosen economic development. These nations want any agreement in Copenhagen to continue Kyoto beyond 2012. While insisting on continued exemptions, the developing world is demanding that the developed nations undertake stringent new emissions reductions beyond Kyoto and provide massive aid to assist poor countries in voluntarily reducing emissions.
What are my prediction for this Copenhagen conference?
The Copenhagen conference has been billed as the next major global warming deal, with strong new emissions reduction targets that are binding and enforceable. Yet despite the buildup for more than a year, political and economic realities will likely influence its outcome for the better.
The rift between the developed and developing world is still wide. For the most part, developed nations have recognized that the whole process is futile without meaningful involvement by major developing nations, but China, India, and others have refused to agree to such provisions. The prospect for massive aid packages from the developed world is also proving to be a nonstarter among the nations expected to pay the bill.
There is also the growing realization that the Kyoto Protocol is a failure and therefore not a good model for Copenhagen. Finally, the obvious harm of imposing such costly measures in the midst of a global recession has also slowed momentum. Thus, Copenhagen presents an opportunity to change the direction of the post-Kyoto debate.