Copenhagen 2009 Archives - State of the Planet

Denmark’s New Mark: Fossil-free by 2050

Last Monday, October 11th, Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Consulate General of Denmark co-hosted “The Climate Challenge: Revitalizing the Debate”. The daylong symposium included three panel sessions, in which experts from academia, the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations discussed the effects and implications of global climate change as well as steps –both taken… read more

by |October 18, 2010

Deutsche Bank and Columbia Climate Center Enhance Global Climate Change Policy Tracker

The Earth Institute, Columbia University is pleased to announce that Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA) of Deutsche Asset Management will continue work with Columbia Climate Center (CCC) researchers to update and enhance their Global Climate Change Policy Tracker. The Policy Tracker is a computer model that estimates the impact of policies on greenhouse gas… read more

by |September 1, 2010

Copenhagen: The False “Victory”

Two years of climate change negotiations have now ended in a farce in Copenhagen. Rather than grappling with complex issues, President Barack Obama decided instead to declare victory with a vague statement of principles agreed with four other countries. The remaining 187 were handed a fait accompli , which some accepted and others denounced. After the fact, the United Nations has argued that the document was generally accepted, though for most on a take-it-or-leave-it basis […]

by |December 22, 2009

Whole-Earth Management

The issues that emerged at the Copenhagen climate conference serve to remind us of the difficulty of solving complicated cross-national environmental problems. Ever since Rachel Carson and Barry Commoner first popularized the idea of a single interconnected biosphere, it’s been obvious that national sovereignty would make it difficult to solve some global environmental problems. The climate problem is […]

by |December 22, 2009

There Was No Big Bang, and There Won’t Be

The three pages of text that emerged after years of preparation and two weeks of intense negotiation in Copenhagen signally fail to address what the document correctly calls “one of the greatest challenges of our time” – global climate change. To many, the Copenhagen Accord will seem a setback; actually, it is a continuation of a long history of failure. The essential problem lies with the strategy of addressing this complex issue […]

by |December 22, 2009

Cities Are Moving Ahead

Although critics have given harsh assessments of from the international summit at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, most probably would have concurred with the positive message flowing out of Copenhagen City Hall, the site of the Climate Summit for Mayors. The mayors’ summit emphasized local action to address climate change […]

by |December 22, 2009

The (Welcome) End of Unanimity

The most common reaction to Copenhagen is dismay at the failure to reach binding emission reduction targets. But Copenhagen actually represents a major success.

Why? It signals, finally, the abandonment of an experiment in hyper-multilateralism that never had much chance of success. From the early days of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the dominant view was that any agreement had to be negotiated among […]

by |December 21, 2009

The Many Fights Ahead

Last week ended with high drama and muddled results. As Friday’s workday began, Danish television was trained on the convoy of vehicles that would take President Obama to the Bella Center as soon as Air Force One landed. The landing took place around 9 a.m., and the president was immediately taken to a meeting of world leaders. Notably absent was Premier Wen Jiabao of China, the country that arguably was holding […]

by |December 21, 2009

What Does the Science Say?

The negotiations in Copenhagen have been handled by politicians and policy makers. But there would be no climate negotiations if climate scientists had not identified evidence that humans could disrupt the natural carbon cycle, and affect the climate system. The fact that some 50,000 people and the heads of most nations have come together indicates that, if nothing else, scientists have been quite successful in engaging society […]

by |December 18, 2009

Complex Models, Simple Solutions

Everyone knows that climate change is complex. The multitude of potential impacts, the uncertainties in projections, the intersection of historical responsibilities and current political realities all make negotiations fiendishly difficult. But can the very complexity of the subject be helpful in finding solutions? The answer might be […]

by |December 18, 2009