This December representatives from around the world will
meet in Copenhagen under U.N. auspices to hammer out a new
agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking
other measures to tackle climate change. The deal is expected to
include a commitment by developed countries to pay for measures
in developing states to adapt to the impact of climate change and
to cut emissions, as well as providing them with easy access to
If there is a deal, that is. In recent months, the prospects that
states will actually agree to anything in Copenhagen are starting
to look worse and worse. Although the Obama administration
initially raised hopes by reengaging in the negotiation process,
the U.S Congress has since emerged as a potential spoiler. While
the European Union has resolved to reduce emissions 20 percent
(from 1990 levels) by 2020, and Japan’s newly elected government
has set an even higher target of 25 percent.
All this matters because the effects of climate change are
very real. They are also diverse, and will likely hit hardest in the
most vulnerable and poorest regions of the world. These areas
can expect an increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration
of floods, droughts, heat waves, and extreme precipitation.
Agricultural yields will decline, with some countries in Africa
losing up to half of their farm output by 2020. Food security will
get worse, and malnutrition and hunger will grow.
(Newsweek, october 26, 2009. Adaptado)