Climate Hope, Climate Fear

It’s the last scheduled day of international UN climate talks in Copenhagen, and it looks as though the hopes of the world for a strong, fair, ambitious deal to halt the climate crisis are fading. Although world leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, are staying beyond the end of the scheduled talks this evening, it doesn’t look like a legally binding document will be the outcome of these last-ditch negotiations.

Draft text of the proposed Copenhagen Accord sets a base year of 1990 for emissions reductions with a goal of 50% reduction by 2050 – developed nations should aim for an 80% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions. These targets should limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, which would avoid the most severe impacts of global warming.

However, none of these targets are legally binding – that agreement is left to November 2010.

The Copenhagen summit was supposed to bring hope for a brighter climate future; instead it has ended with fear and uncertainty as to what rising global temperatures will mean for our planet.