Harvard Online Course post-Copenhagen


    The Harvard Extension School is offereing an online undergraduate and graduate-level course focusing on  the theme: “After Copenhagen, 2009″ in the forthcoming Spring semester.  This course is believed to be, in fact,  the first university course to focus specifically on what the world community needs to do about the changing global climate now that the Copenhagen meetings have concluded.  It will be accessible around the world through the Harvard Extension School’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Program.

    Supported by the research resources of the Cambridge Climate Research Associates (CCRA), this 15-week long course will offer 2 hours a week of online lectures and extensive online multi-media support and research documentation for all students.

    The course focuses on the latest science of climate change as well as upon the social impact and diplomacy of our evolving global circumstance.  Students, citizens and mid-career professionals with an enormous range of backgrounds have found this course to be very fruitful for their own work — whether they are journalists, school-teachers, government officials, military personnel, business leaders, city planners, public health officers, etc –  or, in fact, graduate or undergraduate students at other institutions who have enrolled in this course to supplement their own degree work.  

    This course is offered as part of a sequence of courses over the years of the “Climate Talks Project” (http://climate-talks.net/).  The syllabus from the courses in previous years is available online, but the key feature of this new course will be its focus specifically upon the post-Copenhagen moment in the evolution of global climate understanding and action.

    Enrollment online is possible until 24 January and beyond that in extenuating circumstances.


Prof. T. C. Weiskel

Harvard Extension School

Global Climate Change

Call for Papers: Climate Governance Conference


‘Democratizing Climate Governance’

15-16 July 2010

Australian National University


Dear Climate-L readers,

The ANU Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance invites paper proposals for the ‘Democratizing Climate Governance’ Conference, to be held 15-16 July 2010, at the Australian National University.

Climate change poses considerable challenges to democracy. Its global nature questions the traditional parameters of our political communities and moral responsibilities. Its complexity and urgency challenge the capacity of existing democratic procedures to produce effective outcomes. Transnational institutions and processes developed so far for mitigating and adapting to climate change often elude basic democratic values. Decisions on whether, where, and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are generally made by elites in spatially and temporally distant settings, thus undermining the legitimacy of such decisions. Meanwhile, those most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change tend also to be, in many cases, the most socially disadvantaged and democratically disempowered. In this context, a key concern for scholars and citizens alike is how to ensure that the people who will be affected by climate change and climate governance are represented in decision-making processes. More effective democracy is likely to be instrumental to climate justice.

The purpose of this conference is to examine these challenges and explore potential avenues for democratizing climate governance. We invite proposals that address issues of accountability, representation, participation, and legitimacy, as well as the appropriate roles of national and transnational institutions, civil society, scientists, scholars, communities, and citizens confronted with issue complexity. Climate governance manifests in various forms and at various levels, as such we invite papers concerned with public, private, and hybrid modes of governance at local, national, and/or global levels. Understanding and responding to the democratic challenges posed by climate change will require advances in theory as well as empirical research, and we welcome papers that fall into either or both of these categories. Papers that approach the challenge from a discursive or deliberative perspective are especially encouraged, however we welcome a range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

PLENARY SPEAKERS: Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard), Karin Bäckstrand (Lund), Ronnie Lipschutz (University of California, Santa Cruz), Robyn Eckersley (Melbourne).

FEES: Registration for the conference is free, and paper-givers from Australia can claim a $300 contribution to travel expenses.

DEADLINES: Deadline for paper proposals is 1 April 2010

SUBMISSIONS: If you would like to present a paper, please send a title and abstract (300 words) to Alessandra Pecci:

Please also find attached the conference flyer in pdf format for your reference, and for circulation to your networks.

Please visit http://deliberativedemocracy.anu.edu.au/ for conference-related updates and information.

We look forward to receiving your proposal and hope you will be able to join us in July in Canberra.

Kind regards,

Hayley Stevenson

Postdoctoral Fellow

Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

Research School of Social Sciences

The Australian National University


Ph. +61 2 6125 1723



Interesting article on China and Clean Tech

Green China: Friend Or Foe?
Date: 13-Jan-10
Country: US
Author: Greener World Media
Barely a week goes by without new evidence of the greening of China. This is great news for the planet — but some people say it’s bad for the U.S.

Are they right to worry?

What got me thinking about this was a phone conversation the other day with Bill Gross, the brilliant and tireless entrepreneur who is the chief executive of eSolar and a founder of electric-car startup Aptera.

Bill was calling with great news for eSolar, a Pasadena, Ca-based firm that makes software and equipment for utility-scale solar thermal power plants. This weekend in Beijing, eSolar announced a deal with a Chinese electrical-power manufacturer to build at least 2 gigawatts (2,000 megawatts) of solar thermal power plants over the next 10 years, beginning with a 92-megawatt plant that will break ground this year.

“China is really moving fast to implement as many green technologies as they can, to become experts at them and to scale them up,” Bill told me. “It’s a statement that China is thinking about clean energy for the long term.”

I’m hearing this more and more. Tulsi Tanti, who runs a big Indian wind power company called Suzlon, told me last month in Copenhagen that China is his biggest market. My blogging colleague Jesse Jenkins (at The Energy Collective) has written about a report from the Breakthrough Institute, where he works, called Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant (available here as a PDF) that argues, among other things, that:

Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” — China, Japan, and South Korea — have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies, and over the next five years, the government’s of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors.

It also says:

If the United States hopes to compete for new clean energy industries it must close the widening gap between government investments in the United States and Asia’s clean tech tigers and provide more robust support for U.S. clean tech research and innovation, manufacturing, and domestic market demand.

The New Yorker just published a long story about clean tech China called Green Giant. And this week in The Times, Tom Friedman tackles the issue again, saying:

I’ve been stunned to learn about the sheer volume of wind, solar, mass transit, nuclear and more efficient coal-burning projects that have sprouted in China in just the last year.

We are either going to put in place a price on carbon and the right regulatory incentives to ensure that America is China’s main competitor/partner in the E.T. revolution, or we are going to gradually cede this industry to Beijing and the good jobs and energy security that would go with it.

Note Friedman’s use of “competitor/partner.” That’s the question, isn’t it: Is China a competitor or partner or both?

Obviously, that depends on precisely what China is doing; no single China investment in clean tech can be called typical. But let’s look at the question through the prism of this weekend’s eSolar deal. Interestingly, eSolar already manufactures in China — it buys its motors and gear boxes from a contract manufacturer in Shenzhen. The company is also supplying its solar thermal technology to India through a key partner, the Acme Group. So, like most any big company, eSolar has a global supply chain and a global customer base. Other clean tech startups like First Solar, which makes solar PV panels, and Coda Automotive, an electric car company, also manufacture in China. (For details, see Todd Woody’s story about First Solar and my blogpost about Coda.)

According to Bill Gross, eSolar’s most valuable asset, according to Bill Gross, is the software which enables its equipment — fields of mirrors known as heliostats — to efficiently focus the sun’s rays on water, creating an intense heat that vaporizes the water and creates steam to drive a conventional electricity-generating turbine. The company has been operating a plant in Lancaster, Ca., which impressed delegations of Chinese officials who came to visit last fall.

“They had been looking all over the world at every solar thermal technology, to find one they can bring into China,” Bill said. “We’ve been producing electricity for six months, so we have very reliable day by day data.”

Interestingly, China’s Penglai Electric made the deal with eSolar is less time than it is taking the U.S. Department of Energy to decide whether to provide loan guarantees for a similar plant that eSolar wants to build in New Mexico with NRG Energy, a firm power generation firm. One of the advantages that the Chinese have over the U.S. is that they can move fast.

Another is that the Chinese government can will things to happen. (“Not in my backyard” is not a cry often heard when the backyards are in Beijing or Shanghai.) Yet another advantage is China’s massive government subsidies, which some clean energy boosters in the U.S. use to argue that our government is not doing enough. See the following from Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, as quoted in The Times:

“In China, 80 percent of the entire cost of a factory and worker training is paid for by the government,” Mr. Resch said. “Malaysia will give you a 10- or 20-year tax holiday.”

He praised Mr. Obama’s $2.3 billion tax credit program, but said its 30 percent credits were not nearly as generous as China’s.

Think about that for a moment, though. If eSolar and First Solar and Coda Automotive do business in China, and get a piece of those subsidies, how is that bad for the United States? Doesn’t it mean that the Chinese government is subsidizing U.S. companies and U.S. jobs?

In the case of eSolar, the China deal will enable the company to become profitable almost immediately, Bill told me. In fact, there’s a chance that if the company does more deals, it won’t need a loan guarantee from the U.S. government to go forward in New Mexico. That’s good for American taxpayers.

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I have to say that I wonder about the whole “global competitiveness” argument around clean technology. For one thing, without massive government subsidies, the U.S. is unlikely to become a center of “green manufacturing” for products that can be shipped easily from place to place. (Huge and heavy products like wind turbines are another matter.) What’s more, is it really such a bad thing if China or India are able to generate “green jobs” faster than we are. There’s no question that they need the jobs more-per capita income in China is about $3,000, and in India it’s about $1,000.

I asked Bill Gross by email: “Should Americans be worried about the rise of clean tech in China? Do you view China as a partner to the U.S. or a competitor or both?” He replied:

I think China doing this is a great thing for us. First of all, as a California-based company, this creates jobs in the United States. Second, this is one earth, so a project anywhere that is renewable is a great project. But finally, we need bold leadership across the planet to take renewable energy seriously, and if China does that, and we all emulate that, that’s not just a good thing, that’s a great thing.

Maybe we need the trumped-up equivalent of a “space race” with China to motivate Congress to get moving and put a price on carbon. But we shouldn’t. As Bill says, this is one earth.

Climate Photos Available

I am happy to announce the beginning of a new feature on World View of Global Warming’s website — “CLIMATE PHOTO of the WEEK

Each Monday we will post an image relating to, illustrating and expanding on climate science and events, including new photos from our continuing coverage of climate change.   http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org 

We hope these will be enlightening and that you might also consider how the archive of photographs can enrich your work and outreach.  Images are available on a sliding scale of fees, ranging from open access for individual teacher and student use  to  regular commercial fees for national and international publications.

The images and documentation from this project are the source of the book Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World (“Essential reading.”  – Al Gore)  and How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate ( for middle schools; winner of 15 science writing awards 2008-2009).  Please see http://www.earthunderfire.com

Another take on Copenhagen

On the Copenhagen Discord

Posted by: “TotoPurz”   rebohan

Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:53 am (PST)

Notes from Bernarditas Muller, a Coordinator of G77+China in the Climate Negotiations

The conspiracy

began in Bali, where, after a two-year long-term dialogue for cooperative action which was agreed not to result in negotiations, the Bali Action Plan was hatched by a selected group of countries. The only new thing in climate negotiations under the Bali Action Plan was the provision on « nationally-appropri ate mitigation actions » for developing countries, subsequently to be known as NAMAs. The rest simply watered down commitments of developed countries under the Convention. Drama marked the last day of the Bali session, when the lines were drawn. The final plenary meeting clarified the developing countries’ understanding of NAMAs, and the United States was shamed into joining the consensus.

The waiting game

was played over two years, when endless debates were held clarifying positions, wrestling with procedures that could prejudge the outcome, even trying to understand what this outcome would be, finally giving birth to a « negotiating text ». But contrary to normal growth, the text first grew and then was pared down to a « manageable » size. In Barcelona, in November, the text appeared to take shape. This spurred developed countries to intensify their efforts, began even before Bali, to influence and pressure developing countries which in turn began to show increasing signs of cohesiveness.

In the meanwhile,

everybody waited to see which way the US would go. The whole process was put on slow motion until the new US administration took over early in 2009, and then hope was revived that the US would now engage in the process. They did, but only to make more interventions in the negotiations, dampening hopes for a US target of emissions reductions, promising recycled financing, most of it to be spent domestically, and above all, warning that everything depended on US congressional approval. This ensured that nothing would happen until mid- to late 2010.

The developed countries were busy

spending time and money to divide and influence developing countries. Bribing where they can, promising the same recycled financing and maybe more to come if countries are amenable, bullying where they cannot bribe. They financed workshops in selected vulnerable countries, deploying climate envoys, in particular one on Climate Security for Vulnerable Countries, who in so many words, told « intransigent » negotiators that they are putting up a group of vulnerable countries in order to pressure the major developing countries into taking on emissions reductions commitments.

Small « circles of commitment » were formed: the G8 summits came out with double declarations that contained conflicting declarations from the developed countries and a group of « major developing economies »; G20 documents were denounced by G20 members themselves; and meetings with selected developing countries, including bilateral ones, were intensively pursued.

Their efforts partly paid off, as a couple of these « vulnerable » countries stoutly defended the Copenhagen Accord which came out of the woodwork in Copenhagen. One even claimed to represent the African Group, whereas it was clear that the African Group, led by another African country, was among the most cohesive within the group of 132 developing countries called the Group of 77.

Not all were fooled, however, and Tuvalu, a strong defender among truly vulnerable small island developing countries, likened the Accord’s US$30 billion financing provisions to the biblical « 30 pieces of silver ».

What really occurred in Copenhagen

was the culmination of all the frustrations of many developing countries in the total lack of transparency and inclusiveness in the process.

Rumours of a Danish text were circulating weeks before Copenhagen. When confronted with these rumours, the Danish presidency firmly denied the existence of a text. The secretariat also affirmed before a G77 pre-sessional meeting that only one Danish Chairman would be elected. Two days before the final plenary, a second Danish president was named. At the same time, it was announced that Danes would come up with not one, but two texts.

Before that, new procedures were introduced that delayed negotiations for at least two days. The G77 was blamed for these delays, as developed countries stalled at closed negotiating rooms, continually bracketing texts, coming out with new proposals, clarifying former ones, drawing out developing countries anxious to come to textual agreements, restating positions, biding for time until the Danes get the high-level officials into a climate « green room » of exclusive negotiations.

And to the world press, the message continued to be that « the G77 is blocking negotiations. » At the same time, the message was reinforced that separate bilateral deals were being signed elsewhere.

At the last minute, after a parody of the Danish presidency of putting up the negotiating groups once again at the insistence of the G77, three main issues were taken out of the negotiators’ hands, the same three issues which resurfaced later in the Copenhagen Accord reflecting developed countries’ positions. These issues were the long-term global goal », the controversial market mechanisms and trade discussions, and most of all, financing.

We were to have reconvened again to continue negotiations, but we never did.

What took place behind closed doors

was the backroom wheeling and dealing. I took part in the first meetings, where the big G77 countries were trying to revise the text presented by the Chairman. Small gains were made, but largely the revisions suggested by developing countries were ignored.

The Accord mainly reflects developed countries’ positions on most issues. In particular, financing is to continue to be channelled through the failed delivery systems of the past, through « international institutions », « public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance,” without acknowledging the legal obligations to provide financial resources under the governance of Parties.

The final plenary

broke out in confusion when the Danish Prime Minister, now Chairman, marched in after making the delegations wait for nearly five hours without any explanation, took the microphone to announce that a deal was done, called the Copenhagen Accord, as secretariat personnel frantically distributed the text, and instructed the rest of the meeting to break out in « regional groups » and to take one hour to decide on their future.

He then closed the session precipitately without following normal procedures of soliciting views of Parties and proceeded to march out again when pandemonium broke out as Parties demanded to be heard. The only way to be given the floor was to ask for points of order, which were not heeded until nameplates were banged on the table. During the interventions, the Chairman looked on, glaring at the proceedings, turning now and then to consult the secretariat. No courtesy or proper attention was accorded to the speakers which included ministers and ambassadors heading delegations.

The claim that only three or four countries spoke against the Accord and the procedures followed is false, as proven by subsequent interventions, punctuated by applause, from other developing countries or their supporters. Developed countries and their followers also applauded their own spokesmen and followers.

Interventions of developed countries focused on a threat that the paragraphs concerning financing would not be “made operational” unless countries signed up to the Accord.

Sad to say, pledges of financing have a way of evaporating over time, and financing done through existing institutions are unpredictable, difficult to access, conditional, and selective. Any governance system set up outside of the Convention itself is just another layer of bureaucracy, and equal representation of developed and developing countries outside of the UN system is unbalanced.

What happens now ?

The Parties decided to continue with the ongoing process of negotiations, while taking note of the Accord which, on many of its provisions, undermines the developing countries’ positions in these negotiations. Parties took note of the Accord which would be open to participation by Parties, if they wish to avail of the promised financing, the terms of which are still to be determined by continued negotiations.

What mainly happened is the complete breakdown of trust among Parties. To build it up again, under the shadow of an Accord that would be pursued at all costs, is immensely challenging.

There are not only the legal obligations, but the moral and ethical considerations for developed countries to assume responsibilities to developing countries which did little to contribute to the problem of climate change, and which suffer most from its adverse effects. Economic interests should not prevail over the lives and survival of the poorest and most vulnerable populations.

The holidays might provide time for reflection, and the firm resolve of the New Year in all these should be to work together to address climate change and its adverse effects, for the present and future generations, and the good of humankind.

Bernarditas C. Muller
Geneva, 7 January 2010

China’s Take on Copenhagen

China Says Achieved Goal In Copenhagen Climate Deal

Date: 11-Jan-10
Country: CHINA
Author: Zhou Xin and Simon Rabinovitch

BEIJING – Chinese negotiators achieved their goal at Copenhagen climate talks in ensuring financial aid for developing nations was not linked to external reviews of China’s environmental plans, its top climate envoy said on Saturday.

Britain, Sweden and other countries have accused China of obstructing the climate summit, which ended last month with a non-binding accord that set a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius but was scant on details.

China would never accept outside checks of its plans to slow greenhouse gas emissions and could only make a promise of “increasing transparency,” Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission, said at a forum.

Developed nations’ promise of $100 billion in financial aid by 2020 to help poorer countries adapt to climate change offered a good stepping stone for negotiations, he said.

“Next time, we can talk about when will they pay the money and how much each country will pay,” he said.

Xie also said that China was well on track to meeting its goal of cutting energy intensity — or the amount of energy consumed to produce each dollar of national income — by 20 percent over the five years through 2010.

It had already made a 16 percent cut as of the end of last year, he said.

“As long as we continue to make efforts, we are likely to achieve the targeted 20 percent cut this year,” he said.

Xie added that China was drafting tough guidelines for reducing the carbon intensity of its growth in its next five-year plan for economic development, which will cover the 2011-2015 period.

China has pledged to cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each unit of economic growth by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

(Editing by Alex Richardson)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

Farm Group Opposition to Climate Bill

FYI; this is certainly not helpful in terms of the prospects for U.S. climate change legislation; the heated rhetoric below also is a good way to remind students that this issue is often viewed through ideological lenses that make it even more difficult to get legislation passed.


Largest U.S. farm group rallies against climate bill

Charles Abbott


Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:42pm EST

SEATTLE (Reuters) – The largest U.S. farm group will oppose aggressively “misguided” climate legislation pending in Congress and fight animal rights activists, said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman on Sunday.

U.S. | Green Business | COP15

In a speech opening the four-day AFBF convention, Stallman said American farmers and ranchers “must aggressively respond to extremists” and “misguided, activist-driven regulation … The days of their elitist power grabs are over.”

Stallman’s remarks held a sharper edge than usual for the 6 million-member AFBF, the largest U.S. farm group and often described as the most influential. Its convention opens a string of wintertime meetings where farm groups take positions on public issues.

Climate legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives aims for a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. Senators are expected to draft a similar bill this year. Both envision a cap-and-trade system to curb emissions from factories and power plants and to allow the purchase of offsets.

Vast amounts of farmland could become carbon-capturing woodlands under cap-and-trade, “eliminating about 130,000 farms and ranches,” said Stallman. One federal analysis says 8 percent of crop and pasture land could be turned into trees by 2050 because trees would be more profitable than crops.

Four dozen climate scientists wrote Stallman last week to argue AFBF divorce itself from “climate change deniers.” AFBF opposed the House bill.

Animal rights activists would “destroy our ability to produce the meat that Americans want to eat,” Stallman said, by barring modern production methods.

The Ohio Farm Bureau led a successful referendum last fall to create a 13-member state board, with strong farm representation, to set livestock handling rules. The vote pre-empted an expected drive this year to ban practices that activists regard as cruel.

Seven states have moved to ban sow gestation crates, including Michigan in 2009. Action against the cages began in Florida with a referendum in 2002. Five states have acted against veal crates and two bar “battery” cages for hens.

“Ohio’s Ballot Issue 2 was a big win and one we must duplicate far and wide,” said Stallman.

JELP: Call for Submissions

The Journal of Environmental Law and Policy (JELP) at the UCLA School of Law requests Post-Copenhagen law & policy submissions for our Spring 2010 issue. JELP is a premiere legal journal covering a variety of timely environmental policy and legal issues. Our Spring 2009 issue focused on US state climate policy and included articles from leading policy-makers in the field. In light of the world’s attention to Copenhagen and the uncertain impacts and opportunities resulting from the conference, we would like to open the forum for thoughtful examination of the challenges, failures, successes and future direction of climate policy. Articles should be between 20-40 pages in length and include footnotes, but we are open to a variety of disciplines and formats.

Please submit your article to [email protected] with the subject “Post-Copenhagen” and include your contact information and CV if possible.


Alexa Engelman & Maya Kuttan

Chief Articles Editors

[email protected]

Journal of Environmental Law & Policy

UCLA School of Law

New Article on the EU and the Copenhagen Accord

Christian Egenhofer & Anton Georgiev have published an interesting commentary on the European Union’s take on the Copenhagen Accord in the Centre for European Policy Studies Commentaries series, The Copenhagen Accord – A first stab at deciphering the implications for the EU (Dec. 2009).

The paper argues initially that the Accord is viewed more favorably in the United States than the EU, which the authors maintains is a function of different expectations and perspectives. In terms of expectations, the authors argue that the EU exuded excessive optimism in believing that the presence of an unprecedented numbers of heads of state would break the logjam in the negotiations, despite the fact that these very same leaders had been encouraging negotiators to maintain inflexible positions, and had telegraphed for months in advance that a binding agreement was not likely at COP15. Second, the authors make the interesting observation that the negotiations were probably far too complex for heads of state to conclude, necessarily raising issues associated with trade, intellectual property rights, technology transfer and tranformation on the macroeconomic level.

In terms of perspectives, the authors set forth a stark contrast between the developing countries view of climate change mitigation as largely as damper on economic growth, and the EU and some other industrialized countries narrative that climate change policy can promote economic growth and green jobs (the same framing that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have employed in supporting climate change legislation in the United States). Second, while the UNFCCC emphasizes historical responsibilities in terms of framing mitigation options, many developing countries maintain there is a developed country “carbon debt,” which needs to be payed back before developing countries should be required to take action. As the report points out, this position is problematic, since goals reducing emissions by 50% by 2050 cannot be effectuated without active participation by developing countries. The authors also indicate that many developing countries and economies in transition frame the the issue primarily in the context of adapation.

While the Copenhagen meeting might ostensibly be judged a failure because the Parties failed to establish an international successor agreeement, the Coenry suggests that there were several positive developments, including the pledge by developed countries to seek to mobilize $100 billion 2020 to address climate change in developing  countries; progress in developing a mechanism to act on forest degradation and deforestation; and a commitment by developing countries to address adaptation more effectively. Also, the recognition of the need to limit temperature increases to 2C is cited as a positive development, but “falls short of providing a credible pathway for reaching this objective.”

In the most interesting section of the Commentary, 

of the report, the authors argue that the Copenhagen Accord may constitute a transformative architecture for international climate change policy, moving away from the “top-down” Kyoto-style “targets and timetable” approach to a “portfolio approach,” whereby States establish unilateral pledges. The authors of the Commentary argue that this could scrap the original objective of “vacating and redistributing the remaining carbon space,” (i.e. the remaining carbon emissions that can occur without exceeding critical temperature thresholds).

As a consequence, those countries currently occupying the carbon budget will continue to do so in the future. The authors estimate that under the pledges of the Parties made at Copenhagen Annex I countries will used at least 25-30% of the remaining carbon budget, up to 36-43% for less stringent commitments. Coupled with emissions growth of emerging economies such as China, Brazil, Mexico, Korea or South Africa, the authors conclude that countries e.g. India and Indonesia could potentially have their economic growth ambitions compromised.

The Commentary also emphasizes that the pledges of Annex I parties, and India and China could consign the globe to a 3.2C increase by 2100 at best, with such level of emissions increasing the likelihood exceeding 2 to roughly 70%.

Finally, the Commentary speculates that Copenhagen may represent a new world order in terms of climate change, with negotiations largely limited to the United States and China, with most other countries left on the sidelines. The Commentary presents some interesting options for the European Union to ensure its relevance in future negotiations, including developing its own distinct positions, with an emphasis on historical responsibility and finance issues, or by pursuing a global pricing of carbon, including through legally controversial approaches such as the imposition of import tariffs against States not pursuing meaningful reductions in emissions.