COP15: Day 1

Two of our star interns, Alicia Neubauer and Kelly Gulbrandson, will skim the web and bring you written highlights each day from the Copenhagen Climate Conference.
By Alicia Neubauer, UpTake intern.

Today was the first day of the conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, affectionately named COP15 (named for the fifteenth “Conference of the Parties”).  If you haven’t heard of it, you may want to get out from under your rock, because it will be going on for two more weeks.

 

Delegates from a total of 192 countries have shown up to Copenhagen to take action against global warming and climate change.  The talks will last until Dec. 18, when President Obama will make an appearance along with other world leaders.

 

“The clock has ticked down to zero,” said Yvo de Boer, the United Nations’ climate chief. “After two years of negotiation, the time has come to deliver.” 

 

Inside Copenhagen’s Bella Center, new goals for lessening emissions were announced by several countries, including China, Brazil, India, the United States, and South Africa.

 

The conference’s kickoff had a cautiously optimistic feel.  Union of Concerned Scientists climate policy director Alden Meyer said he thought the conference has gotten more reluctant countries to join in on the effort to reduce emissions.

 

“It has focused attention and gotten all the major players to put their initial offers on the table,” Meyer said. “I think that’s good news.”

 

 

EPA Announces Greenhouse Gases a Danger

 

In COP15-related-but-not-actually-in-Denmark news, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced on behalf of the Obama administration today that greenhouse gases and other pollution are a danger to the general public’s health and welfare and should be regulated, according to The Washington Post   The announcement finally caps off the “endangerment findings” by the government, first released in April.

 

Jackson spoke at EPA headquarters, saying that greenhouse gases are “disrupting the natural balance in our atmosphere and changing our climate . . . the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence shows the threat is real.”

 

Jackson didn’t reveal when the EPA will release a detailed plan to cut greenhouse gases.  She also said that the EPA was not trying to push Congress into creating legislation with the findings.

 

“There are no more excuses for delay,” Jackson added. “This administration will not ignore science and the law any longer.”   Jackson will also be speaking at the climate conference in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

 

 

Demonstrations

 

Upwards of 50,000 protesters took to the streets in London today to literally take a stand against climate change.  The group, called The Wave, was organized by Christian Aid and Stop Climate Loss Coalition, reports the Huffington Post. 

 

The Wave said they hoped to send a message to lawmakers that the COP15 talks must bring about a deal to help stop global warming. “The UK government must fight for a comprehensive, fair and binding deal at Copenhagen,” said Chris Jones of Oxfam Cymru.  

 

The Wave didn’t just take over London; the group also held protests in Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin, according to BBC News.

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