Time to pull the plug on the Copenhagen summit ?

copenhagen summit UPDATE: Earlier in the week we did say we would talk about this on air today, but the Thierry Henry football story continues to gather pace around the world. We’re hoping we’ll be able to go live with Copenhagen sometime next week.

It was meant to be the final chance to do something about global warming.

But it doesn’t look like there’ll be a deal at the Copenhagen summit next month: the politicians can’t agree.

President Obama has admitted there now isn’t time to secure a full treaty in time for the summit.

Some argue that the world can afford to wait another year maybe, just so long as a deal is done. But does that make Copenhagen redundant ?

The developing countries want money to help them switch from dirty to “clean” technology.

The developed countries don’t want to cut back their emissions so much they cripple their economies.

Copenhagen could now be a way of buying more time to get agreement NEXT year – but could the “mother of all negotiations” now be impossible to unravel?_46696039_maldives_big

The Maldives government is already preparing for the worst – so is it time to accept a future of climate change and get ready to deal with the consequences?

Or should we just accept that not enough of us care enough about the issue ?

46 Responses to “Time to pull the plug on the Copenhagen summit ?”

  1. 1 JanB
    November 16, 2009 at 13:12

    What if developed nations had just decided to give nothing to the third world and instead put a lot of money into covering the US, southern France, Italy, Greece and Spain with solar panels and solar collectors? Yeah, I know it’s not politically correct, but it would be a lot more effective, keep money out of the hands of mad dictators and stop their hypocrite bitching (yes, our factories produced more CO2, but it was our factories that produced your medicines and your consumer goods, using the oil you sold: I can assure you, without the export to the third world our industries would be producing a lot less CO2.)

    • 2 Ronald Almeida
      November 17, 2009 at 08:13

      The exports from the developing countries were unpolluting agro products that most western supermarkets are full of. Food not tinsel!

      • 3 Alan Ward
        November 22, 2009 at 10:47

        Most of the so called developing countries are trying to industrialise, if not already industrialised. Look at China, India, Taiwan to name but a few. Besides a lot of chemicals are used to grow agricultural products for export quality products.

  2. 4 Roberto
    November 16, 2009 at 13:32

    RE “” so is it time to accept a future of climate change and get ready to deal with the consequences? “”

    ——— We already have mankind induced climate change and have ineffectively dealt with the consequences.

    Mankind is genetically predisposed to disrupting their environment as any parent of a 2 yr old can testify. Political and business organizations historically create destructive wars to consolidate power and exploit natural resources including their own species to that end.

    Until mankind miraculously starts creating a better class of organization and humans, the degradation will continue unabated.

    That’s the underlying history in a nutshell, but for some reason that’s considered a cynic’s view. Save for peaceful rest periods to regenerate, destruction has always defined mankind’s future no matter how many sugar plum faeries they can come up with to sugar coat our history as a whole.

  3. 5 scmehta
    November 16, 2009 at 13:51

    The forthcoming Copenhagen Summit, on the issues of carbon-emission/climate- change, is not the final or the only chance; at least, we cannot afford to be that gullible to say that. But, yes of course, we certainly are fast losing out in our race against the terrible change. I think, we are not prepared to make much sacrifices or compromises on our ways of life and comforts/luxuries for the sake of the Earth or its climate; may be, we are listening more to those experts/scientists who are not prepared to admit to the alarming facts/projections on the climate change; it seems as if, it rather conveniences/suites us to remain complacent or neglectful or time-passing, than to embark upon this costly & pains-taking global action to stop/reduce doing any damage to the earth’s climate. And, I also seriously believe that we’re actually and mindfully awaiting some atmospheric/natural calamity to happen to assure us on the urgency of the issue.

  4. 6 gary
    November 16, 2009 at 14:47

    The Copenhagen Summit will cause no change in the US. The climate was lost years ago when the boomers took control. Their mantra was and still is, “I want it my way.” Half the US population is still making idiotic comments about “natural climate cycles,” spectacularly failing to understand easily measurable divergence from these very cycles provides principlal and irrefutable evidence for global warming. I suggest their ignorance out of kindness, and to hide my fears the real reason for their inexplicable behavior is they simple don’t give a damn.

  5. 7 Peter Gizzi UK
    November 16, 2009 at 14:54

    I see these Summits as a lot of useless hot air that itself adds to global warming. How many of the delegates themselves live a greener life? You may depend they will stay in the best hotels eating the most expensive food while we the tax payers foot the bill.

    Before I believe any of them I would like them each to declare their own carbon footprints and then perhaps we’ll see who is causing the most pollution!

  6. 8 Guido Schloegel
    November 16, 2009 at 16:46

    I did not expect any substantial agreement. The reason is simple, it is very tempting to do nothing while the other countries cut emissions. This will be an advantage for the economy.

    Perhaps we should focus on the consequences of global warming. If managed carefully, the global warming will increase food production, but massive migration will take place (controlled or uncontrolled).

  7. 9 Gary Paudler
    November 16, 2009 at 16:52

    Don’t pull the plug on the COP15, but yes, we probably have lost the battle against climate change without a shot being fired. Famously and tragically opposed to any measures not endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, the US government is unfortunately and uncharacteristically only reflecting the attitudes of the majority of its people; we are not willing to compromise our hideously over-consumptive life style (it’s a joke to call it a life style) just so all the other species on the planet can survive past our own self-obsessed generation. We refuse to inform ourselves and credulously accept any unsubstantiated notion that somebody else will solve our problem (but there is no problem) with something that we can buy. Fortunately we are kind and charitable so will pull-together as neighbors when the manure hits the fan.

  8. 10 Bert
    November 16, 2009 at 17:00

    Why is it always about countries with hat in hand, expecting freebies? In this case, expecting freebies to introduce “green technologies.” It’s always the same story, once you go into the details.

    I just hope that we don’t need this silly “effecting climate change” fairytale to do the right thing, and conserve energy. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d be convinced that the whole “we can change the climate” campaign is just a transparent scare tactic to get people to act responsibly.

  9. 11 duckpocket
    November 16, 2009 at 17:34

    Is it unacceptable to mention that the main problem with our planet is that there are already many too many of us on it, and there will be more?

    As long as we are not prepared to rectify this situation, climate summits will be largely cosmetic, for when it comes to asserting more control on our own profligacy we are all nimbies.

  10. 12 Ronald Almeida
    November 16, 2009 at 18:36

    Every little step in the right direction helps to get to the destination.

  11. 13 Tom D Ford
    November 16, 2009 at 19:01

    The world needs to mobilize just like the massive mobilization of WW2 and get on with addressing this problem.

  12. 14 Tom K in Mpls
    November 16, 2009 at 19:15

    I think this is a result of the fact that no nation will jeopardize their economies to take aggressive actions on pollution. Personally I agree completely. And the current economic conditions, to me, have no bearing on this concept.

    All forms of pollution always need to be addressed, properly and promptly, as they are discovered. But it is wrong to destroy national and personal economic lives to do it. In many cases, the pollution is an inefficiency that costs the industry money ( as seen in much of the auto industry to date ). In this case they will work on it for the increase in marketability and profits. In some cases the waste is a resource for another industry to be collected and sold ( very prevalent in butchering ).

    In cases where waste is determined to be useless and harmful, we need to set limits on emissions per event. It should be done in a way to provide an economic incentive to discover new processes and technologies without destroying a useful industry. This will happen without any such summit.

  13. November 16, 2009 at 19:47

    Yet the power of Denmark ( its people, institutions and geography), as a good example of responsible collective action could still be influential.
    (Just demonstrating that you don’t need a nuclear weapons research lab to upgrade household insulation would alter consciousness.).

  14. 16 Tan Boon Tee
    November 17, 2009 at 04:17

    Politicians have been fond of agreeing to disagree at every forum, and Copenhagen will be no exception. Often their own vested interests and hidden agenda would supersede whatever global issues there may be.

    Practically none of the leaders is a scientist or climatologist. So do not expect too much or anything substantively tangible from the shady outcome.

  15. 17 Maxine
    November 17, 2009 at 07:22

    It may be time to pull the plug on the Copenhagen Summit – I don’t know, however it is high time we all became more pro-active regarding the health of our planet/environment. and all do something – no matter how small- to improve our situation. Why do we think that Governments must do everything? We are not helpless. Do you live somewhere where you could plant a tree (or two)? Change the kind of light bulbs you use, walk or peddle to get around. Demand more public transport, etc etc. Use your imagination and get into action. It’s action that is needed not more talk.

  16. November 17, 2009 at 11:12

    The talks are a waste of time and ENERGY. Nothing will come of them. The “world” can’t come together because there is no way to enforce any agreements.

  17. November 17, 2009 at 12:05

    China should do more, because it is the world’s number 1 polluter. The United States is second only. But I doubt it if China will bow to international pressure, knowing its expansionist and nationalistic policies. It even regards the whole and entire South China Sea as its territory! The world should beware, because China has an expansionist policy. If we want to have a cleaner world, all the world must pressure the top polluters, China in particular, to curb carbon emissions. No pressure is needed towards the other democratic top polluters such as the United States and India because they are easy to talk to and are easily entreated by sound judgement and equity. But not China, so the world must unite to warn China about its polluting capacity, which will likely increase in the future.

  18. 20 T
    November 17, 2009 at 15:58

    This is no suprise. There “isnt enough time” because the big countries refuse to be dictated to by the smaller ones.

  19. 21 Tom K in Mpls
    November 17, 2009 at 17:27

    Another point, smaller countries aren’t happy with just benefiting from the technologies developed and paid for by the more industrially advanced nations. They also want to restrict any advantages they may have in the marketplace *and* have the industrialized nations pay for the limits.

    The `poor us and the planet’ angle is just marketing. Too bad so many people fall for it.

  20. November 18, 2009 at 03:02

    RE: Copenhagen Summit. Unfortunately this comes as no suprise and, given the stance of certain countries, has been largely expected.

    One of the problems (in industrialized countries) is that the average citizen is out of sync with the planned changes. e.g. the public outcry after the fuel tax hikes in Britain (even though they had been planned well in advance).

    There is very little incentive for advancement of green technologies. Fossil fuels still rule and this makes every other option ‘too expensive’.

    People are not onboard so governments are unable to wholeheartedly ‘go green’ (with realistic planning and investment). In turn, this is delaying / preventing development due to lack of commitment, funding and too much red tape. So we are stalling at a point where we are stuck with a higher priced / sometimes less reliable green option that few people will switchover to.

    Various governments seem to be vying for the title of ‘world leader in green innovation’ but none seem to want to take the leap to make it a reality.
    All successes will be copied and followed, so why not set the example and lead from the front?

  21. 23 T
    November 20, 2009 at 03:22

    It will still happen. The States won’t be there. They will argue and we’ll get various soundbites. And then nothing will happen.

  22. 24 Nick
    November 20, 2009 at 12:14

    I don’t think the message is getting through but it’s not the fault of the BBC it’s the fault of commercial media.
    MOST People don’t understand the difference between LEFT Wing and RIGHT Wing politics. Take a look at fox news. I’m not american but what is that? It’s completely garbage, biased and full of of lies. Yet it is this kind of media that fulfills our lives. In my opinion it’s the right wing republicans in america that have been voted in that hold the US congress upper house that are blocking climate change action and also health care reform. Why am I saying this I am not the reporter reporting on the subject I am just stating my opinion bluntly.The BBC news is a unbiased source of news. The issue is more subtle. We need to find out why people believe the lies of the biased commercial news that the majority of the world view. Whether it’s commercial television or even state propaganda channels. It’s not BBC journalists who are bad it IS OTHER JOURNALISTS. WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE TO CONSUME news from sources like the BBC if we truly want real action. However I just don’t know how to do it. It’s a challenge. A big challenge. People are just simply too foolish.

  23. November 20, 2009 at 13:13

    why are african countries with their bureau of standards just sitting here and there instead of giving ideas as per their standards of taking care of the environment so that inventors in the west or east will make things that wont harm our environment in the long run?

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  24. 26 Gary Paudler
    November 20, 2009 at 16:55

    New subject:
    Is “Time to Pull the Plug on the Copenhagen Summit” the worst title for a show that has failed for a week?
    Bad Title or Are We Bad Journalists?
    Comment here unless there’s a ginned-up football controversy or you need to do your nails or whatever.
    “The Climate Can Probably Wait, It’s Too Cold in London Anyway”

  25. 27 Roberto
    November 20, 2009 at 17:20

    RE “” Copenhagen could now be a way of buying more time “”

    ———- More properly “Copenhagen” could scrap their useless carbon spewing FAT CAT summits and show some leadership by reducing the largess of their personal salaries and carbon imprints.

    They should be setting the standard with weekly video conferencing, infinitely cheaper to their taxpayers and environmentally friendlier to the earth.

    Otherwise, “Copenhagen” looks to be going the way of the Dodo bird in that there will no longer be functioning nation states to pay for this GRANDE malfeasance of dignitaries.

  26. 28 Klem
    November 20, 2009 at 17:25

    The Copehagen treaty is about managing the price of carbon. Carbon is an economic control knob, just like interest rates. When the price of carbon rises, the economy slows, when it falls the economy picks up. If the treaty is signed by enough economies of the world, everyone must sign just ot try to maintain some control of their own economy. Ths is is not about avoiding some ecological disaster, it’s about trying to have some control over one’s own economy before someone else does. That’s why we must sign the treaty, we need to be at the bargaining table every year, because if we’re not we’ll be left at the economic mercy of others. So wake up folks, this is about our own economic control.

  27. 29 Anya
    November 20, 2009 at 18:18

    To reverse the trend of global warming our cultures need to be changed, our values, our thinking, every aspect of our lives. When I first came to the US I was astonished to see how wasteful American society was. And later I realized that the US is not the only one to blame. Other cultures aspire to live American lifestyle, for example, Indians & Chinese would live driving cars if they could afford it. A small percentage of a population is concerned about the environment, but there is not enough of us to influence our governments to take meaningful action.

  28. 30 Elias
    November 20, 2009 at 19:00

    A lot of talk, good suggestions and intentions but nothing will be agreed. The usual formalities, “nice to meet you again” .

  29. 31 Tom K in Mpls
    November 20, 2009 at 19:14

    If there is anyone that has any proof that human pollution is causing anything significant, please post it. I have seen that we do release ‘deep carbons’ at what would seem to be a high and increasing rate. But I have also seen that while the pollution has been increasing over the last decade, global temperatures are dropping. Can someone explain this? Also, how long will it be until Greenland is green again? All that plant life will do a lot to absorb carbons.

    • November 22, 2009 at 08:46

      Hi Tom,

      IMO…Global cooling is a bit of a red herring.

      In the short term, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, variations in the earth’s orbit and solar activity etc. all have a bearing on perceived cooling of localized temperatures. But the long term trend is still on the rise.

      Check out these articles:



      If we look at it another way, we inherited nature’s own version of CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) = fossils fuels. Humans are solely responsible for now releasing this at a rapid rate. Yes, there are other more potent greenhouse gases e.g. methane, but we are at the top of the food chain and again have to take blame for our burgeoning population / needs that have contributed to this.

      We live in a closed system. Matter is not created it is merely changed from one form to another. So why should we start caring about what form carbon takes – because it is the difference between a planet that is inhabitable and one that is not.

      In any case we have to realise the way we are living at present is not sustainable. Even if people don’t care (or believe the ‘hype’) about temperature increases or sea level rise; what will happen when the fossil fuels run out? Were we too busy arguing about whether or not we were to blame instead of preparing for our future?

      Also, I appreciate your point, but if Greenland becomes green, will that be enough to counter the increase in the amount of crop land (in other parts of the world – prone to drought / salinization) that will be turned into a ‘dustbowl’? or even the increase in the number and intensity of forest fires (in other regions that enjoy rich carbon dioxide levels)?

  30. 33 Stephanie
    November 20, 2009 at 19:20

    Since there is “no time left” to make a deal, they are starting to downplay expectations. Will it ever happen? http://www.newsy.com/videos/copenhagen_climate_summit_lowered_expectations_or_impossible_task

  31. 34 Timothy
    November 20, 2009 at 20:16

    Should there be a deal in Copenhagen? I should hope that a deal would be based on real, not contaminated science. There is just too much riding on these conversations and treaties for this to be made in haste, although alarmists would have you believe that we need to do something NOW! However, the climate change community got shaken up yesterday, even though you may not have heard about it.

    What do I mean? Much of the pro-AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) science may have been recently discredited. A rather large story that is, for the moment, being ignored by AP, Reuters, and others, has been leaked to the blogosphere. Much of the data used by the IPCC and other bodies may have been basically fabricated out of whole cloth by certain scientists.

    For more information about this, please visit http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/19/breaking-news-story-hadley-cru-has-apparently-been-hacked-hundreds-of-files-released/
    and consider the ramifications carefully

  32. 35 William Rojas in Chile
    November 21, 2009 at 03:55

    I think that many of us -including me- don’t pay much attention to what is approaching. Although everybody seems to know the consequences, it seems at the same time that we aren’t intelligent enough to stop it, or at least to do sth about it. A treaty is needed!, our planet can’t afford to wait another year for a deal.

    How can be this possible?
    How can’t politicians agree on something so important like the continuity of our lives?

  33. November 21, 2009 at 14:36

    Of course the Copenhagen summit must go ahead. To close eyes while the planet drifts into becoming Venus 11 is always to be condemned.

  34. 37 Tom D Ford
    November 21, 2009 at 20:28

    Apparently China is using the Trillions of US dollars that they have accumulated over the years from the consumerist West since Nixon “opened China” , to make massive investments in Wind Turbines, and in technology research and development parks, so it looks like they are way ahead of the eight ball.

    It looks like Reagan really screwed up when he took the solar panels off the White House and now our lack of ambition, research, and investment has let China take the lead bit and our money and I suspect the leadership in Energy conversion to clean Energy. Conservative Republicanism is biting us in the butt, and we see that it was a great mistake to allow them to run things into the ground.

    We ought to keep trying summit after summit, eventually we will get things turned around.

  35. 38 T
    November 22, 2009 at 00:49

    Be on the lookout. The anti-climate change lobby hacked into a climate scientist’s email and leaked it all. They say that this PROVES that global warming is a scam to make politicians rich. Anybody heard of this?

  36. 39 Ann
    November 22, 2009 at 00:57

    Yes, please don’t follow the lead of the rest of the BBC and mainstream media (except the Daily Telegraph) and block the news about the University of East Anglia’s Climate Change department being hacked. The world really needs to know what these people have been saying TO EACH OTHER to understand that the climate change / global warming campaign was just a giant political hoax, designed to get nations to surrender their sovereignty to global governance – as the Copenhagen Treaty would have achieved.

    I find it astounding that something that big emerges – not hearsay or wishful thinking, but hard evidence – and ONLY ONE of the national news organisations has the courage to stand against the herd and broadcast it. If I’m wrong about this, please put me right – but I could only find the story on blogging sites other than the Telegraph.

    This story is far more important and has far greater implications than a story about a football match!!!

  37. 40 Ken
    November 22, 2009 at 02:14

    All I have seen is ways of trading carbon credits and making money out of the situation, if anybody were really concearned about it they would be finding a way to stop most of the new babies being born and burning of fuel, the third world is in a better position for handling the situation as they have never had all the excesses that west has been squandering, the only way I can see any control global warming is to put the price of fuel to the point where nobody can afford it.

    • 41 Alan Ward
      November 24, 2009 at 10:59

      Many years ago here in Australia we had a system of import licences to import many products that could otherwise be made in Australia. A licence would be granted to say import 10.000 shirts during the year. If the importer decided only 7,000 will be imported on that licence he could trade or sell his licence for the remaining 3,000 shirts. I was reminded of this when I read about the system of the so called “carbon credits” which surprise, surprise can also be sold or traded with other industries. Now we know why many sectors of industry are all in favour of this scheme. It is just another way of making huge amounts of money from pieces of paper.

  38. November 22, 2009 at 15:19

    Copenhagen is going to happen, so the question is moot.

    I just hope its enviROI ends up positive, with the results to GHGs of what is agreed not outweighed by those of holding the thing (35 BBC journos alone) and the self-interested horse-trading carried out in the name of green.

    The credulity of the public can only stretch so far.

  39. 43 Miriam
    November 22, 2009 at 22:38

    Why is it eco-extortion when Equador wants money to preserve its rain forest when Brazil is getting it, b-deshis have gotten it in billions, and now the Africans are demanding it in hundreds of billions??

    Climate debt is due to Mumbaikars – they suffer floods every monsoon, and other big city dwellers on coasts of all nations, pacific islanders, caribbean islanders, etc etc.

  40. 44 Linda from Italy
    November 23, 2009 at 11:56

    To quote myself (ego trip?) on your “bad journalists” spin-off topic:

    “I think the root of the problem is that we all feel so powerless to do anything while self-seeking politicians bicker with the sole aim of not upsetting their own particular audience and thus keeping them in power.”

    I see absolutely no point in more talk about what is effectively a pointless talking shop, all that extra hot air (politicians) and blogging energy waste (us) is just adding to global warming 😉

    Until the people decide to revolt, unlikely as this is perceived by most as likely to disturb some of their comfort, or some real visionary whose hands aren’t tied by political expediency comes along, nothing remotely useful will be done, then it will be too late and bye-bye human race.

  41. 45 Alan Ward
    November 24, 2009 at 10:47

    Personally I believe there are not enough concentrations of people to actually directly change the worlds temperatures. We can influence it in a minor way, the air temperature in large densely populated cities, like London is warmer than the surrounding countryside. But that does not actually have a long term effect on global air temperature. The real effect is caused by the sea temperature of the worlds oceans. Can anyone seriously believe that with something like 70% of the surface of the planet covered by water, mankind is causing substantial influences on the air temperature. Of the remaining 30% of the world’s surface being land, only 5% of this is actually urbanised. The rest is either farm land or or land used in some other way, or even left largely untouched. Again I fail to understand how man occupying 5% of the land surface of the Earth is causing all the temperature variations of not only Land but sea as well. There has to be more than man made influences that are causing the so called global warming. Not enough has been done to see what influence the water has on air temperatures and even less on what the sun has had. Just think during the long winter nights, why is it colder in winter than summer? It is because the sunlight has further to travel through the atmosphere to the surface. Urbanisation has very little effect on the warming power of sunlight. Man made pollution may be causing the sunlight to be diluted on it’s way to the earth’s surface through the atmosphere. But this should cool not warm the surface. So I am not convinced that public money is being well spent on this talk fest in Copenhagen.

  42. December 7, 2009 at 12:55

    The Copenhagen conference is an importnat conference since it deals with climatic issues which afect lives of the innocent and guilty people. This climatic change is being brought about by the emission of gases in to the artmosphere due to development especially in the developed countries in Europe & Middle East and not only the that but also manufacturing of Nuclear weapons by the western countries. Bravo to the Obama Administration and the countries which are particitating in this significant Conference, may it yield a fruitful results to save our lives?

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