<a href="https://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/jumpycrawl#">Postcards from Copenhagen</a>

Postcards from Copenhagen

John Pickrell, on the ground at the Copenhagen Conference

COP15 offers not enough


Current offers at Copenhagen won't stop dangerous warming: all hopes now rest on US President Barack Obama, who arrived in a snowy Copenhagen this morning.

Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

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We found out here, late Thursday local time, that a leaked text from the UNFCCC (the UN's climate change body) reveals worrying figures. These show that pledges for reducing emissions, which were laid out by nations prior to Copenhagen, will not be enough to prevent catastrophic warming of our planet.

That leaked text, which you can read for yourself here (PDF), suggests that offers made in the run up to the meeting by developed nations - most of which have agreed to reduce emissions by between 10 and 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 - fall far short of what is required to keep temperature rises below the dangerous 2 °C level.

The UN document notes that emissions would have to peak at 44 gigatonnes of CO2 a year at around 2015, according to predictions by scientists, but the paltry offers from nations mean total emissions would miss that target by up to 4.2 gigatonnes.

"This is the single most important piece of paper in the world today. It shows in stark terms that the climate deal on the table in Copenhagen would put at risk the very viability of our civilisation on Earth," said Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International. "A three degree rise in temperatures means devastation for Africa and the possible collapse of the eco-systems that billions of humans rely on."

"The stark message for world leaders at Copenhagen is that the proposals... especially from industrialised countries - fall far short of what the world needs," added Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK. "In one sense this is no secret — we've been saying it for months. But it is powerful to have the UN confirming its own insincerity," said Bill McKibben, at 350.org.

Both British economist Nicholas Stern, and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have laid out some of the frightening consequences of a 3°C rise - read about them here.

"This document is the smoking gun," concluded Naidoo. "It puts world leaders on notice. They have one day left to step up, otherwise they will be remembered forever as the people who consigned the world to chaos." Everyone at Copenhagen's Bella Centre venue are now waiting to see if the leaked text will prompt stronger action today, on the final day of negotiations, from world leaders.