Copenhagen and Climate Change

World leaders gathered last week in Copenhagen at the UN Climate Summit to discuss climate change with the aim to set targets to reduce CO2 emissions. The scientific community stated that industrialized nations needed to cut emissions by 40% by 2020 to reduce the severity of climate change. Although climate change is a global problem, and will impact small island nations more than most, it was left largely to the USA and China to broker a political agreement. Although the agreement recognizes the scientific merit of limiting temperature rises to no more than 2 C (3.6 F), it does not set CO2 targets to achieve this. In that sense, the UN Climate Summit was a failure.

Due to weak leadership by all, our oceans will suffer affecting millions of people that rely on the sea and the coasts for food, protection and livelihood. Our oceans will warm, forcing some species to move to higher latitudes; become more acidic, affecting creatures with calcium carbonate skeletons; and will continue to rise, eroding coastlines and flooding some island-nations.

Considering the severity of Climate Change, and that our collective future is at stake, you would think that our leaders could have spent a few more days in Copenhagen discussing options and setting meaningful goals.

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