I am sure you have all heard about the commotion coming from the capital city of Denmark, where the the Copenhagen Climate Conference is taking place. This conference, and the role many hope that the United States will play in the potential passage of major, global climate change legislation, could finally help rein in greenhouse gas emissions. When he joins the conference in a few days, President Obama will propose to slash carbon dioxide emissions by about 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and pledge an 83 percent reduction by 2050 in the United States. Agreement on a global protocol on climate change will succeed those outlined in the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century has been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases – largely a result of human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
In 1997, the United States (and China) infamously refused to enter a legally binding agreement with other nations around the world to cut emissions at Kyoto. Only three dozen industrialized nations agreed to sign the Kyoto Protocol. In 2007, the Bali Road Map was born, to “chart the course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change, with the aim of completing this by 2009.” (Source) Well folks, it’s 2009, and now we’re in Copenhagen. Will the United States finally sign on?
Since Kyoto, there has been a strong push for the United States to become a more active participant in the fight against global warming – especially since we are responsible for so much of the world’s emissions – while the U.S composes only 4% of the earth’s population, we emit about 25% of the total global greenhouse gases – Not good. (Source)
Obama has had his work cut out for him since he entered office, and this is no exception. Much is expected of the President – in short, setting the stage for passage of a comprehensive international treaty to slow global warming. (Source)
The world is watching! Let’s hope that December 18th will begin a new chapter on climate change, as promised by President Obama.