Bleached staghorn coral in northeast Australia, photo: Matt Kieffer via flickr
We've heard this one before, but ahead of the next round of climate negotiations heading up to COP16 it bears repeating: The emission reduction commitments made under the Copenhagen Accord are so weak that, should they not be strengthened, it sets us on a trajectory for 4.2°C temperature rise by 2100, virtually ensuring that coral reefs are doomed due to ocean acidification. That's not just me complaining; it's the word of a group of scientists writing in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters.The gist of their findings is that "even if nations would agree to a 50% reduction of emission levels by 2050--a target that strong international agreements would greatly facilitate--there would still only be a less than 50% chance to keep global warming below 2°C." (Science Codex)
The 'even' in that quote alludes to the fact that currently among high-emitting nations only Japan and Norway have committed to anything other than token reductions--and even in then Japan has pledged 25% below 1990 level reduction and Norway has committed to 30-40%.
The paper concludes:
It is clear from this analysis that higher ambitions for 2020 are necessary to keep the options for 2°C and 1.5°C [temperature rise] open without relying on potentially infeasible reduction rates after 2020. In addition, the absence of a mid-century emission goal--towards which parties as a whole can work and which serves as a yardstick of whether interim reductions by 2020 and 2030 are on the right track--is a critical deficit in the overall ambition level of the Copenhagen Accord.
Read the original journal article: Analysis of the Copenhagen Accord pledges and its global climatic impacts--a snapshot of dissonant ambition
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More on the Copenhagen Accord:
India Backs Copenhagen Accord - Last Major Emitter To Do So
What's Missing in the Copenhagen Accord?
RAN Names the Copenhagen Accord Its Greenwash of the Week (Video)
Keep Track of Nations' Copenhagen Accord Commitments with US Climate Action Network