Posted by: Tony Carson | 30 October, 2009

5 Things you need to know about Copenhagen

A really useful primmer on December’s Copenhagen Conference (Cop15) that deals with green house gases that are causing climate change.

5 Things You Need to Know About the Big Climate Meeting in Copenhagen from Tara Lohan on Huffington Post. The key points:

1. What the heck is it? COP15 is the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, the highest body of the United Nations Climate Change Convention, and it will take place this year Dec. 7-18. There will be 192 countries participating and a whole bunch of nongovernmental organizations, as well. The event will be in Copenhagen and is hosted by the Danish government. COP14 was in Poland last year. One of the most well-known COP meetings was COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, which resulted in the Kyoto Protocol, a document now signed by over 180 countries and put into action in February 2005.

2. What are they trying to accomplish? The goal of the COP15 is to get as many countries as possible (and particularly big emitters like the U.S.) to enter into a binding agreement to reduce GHG emissions enough to prevent catastrophic results from climate change.

3. Why does the future of the world depend on it? This is really serious stuff. The best science tells us that we need immediate action on climate change to prevent catastrophic results. This month the U.N. Environment Program released an updated report following the groundbreaking findings in 2007 by the International Panel on Climate Change that basically said thing are are going to be as bad as the IPCC predicted or worse.

4. Will the U.S. screw it up for everyone again? Of course that’s always a possibility, but there’s ample reason to be hopeful that things will turn out differently this year. For one, we’ve got a president who actually understands the science and appreciates the seriousness of the issue. We’ve also got Congress lumbering away on a climate bill, although just how effective that bill may end up being is still in question. It’s looking more and more likely that the U.S. won’t have passed a comprehensive climate bill before Copenhagen, which is bad news, but does not necessarily spell disaster for the negotiations.

5. What can I do? While world leaders will get to make some big decisions behind the negotiating table, that doesn’t mean the rest of us should sit idly by. There are a bunch of waysto get involved:

  • Call your senator and ask him or her to pass a strong, comprehensive climate bill. With the U.S. committed to cutting GHG emissions, global talks will be off to a much better start.
  • People joined together from all over the world on Oct. 24 for the global day of climate action sponsored by Bill McKibben and But it isn’t over yet. Sign up with, and you’ll get reminders about future actions, science updates and news about how things are going on the climate-change front.
  • Join Tck Tck Tck, the largest mobilization demanding action on a climate-change agreement in Copenhagen. The group is bringing together individuals, big NGOs, and local and national groups ranging from the Global Campaign Against Poverty to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Team up with Tck Tck Tck and help to spread the word about what needs to be done at COP15.
  • Get engaged. Stay on top of the issue, and help spread the word. Forward stories like this one to your networks. Check Twitter for updates on COP15 and pass along tweets. Become a fan of the COP15 Facebookpage and invite your friends.

The best thing to do is get active — whether it’s with a local group working on climate change or an international effort. We need to keep the pressure on world leaders — here at home and abroad.


  1. I beg to differ. Without binding climate legislation in the US before Copenhagen Obama won’t be able to fall back on his laurels while trying to persuade China, India, Brazil etc to abide by set Co2 reduction targets. This conference could run away from the Americans and if they don’t get a deal they want they wont ratify it.

  2. Ya, well, the US can continue to play it’s Machiavellian games but if you believe the experts the planet is in peril. Shouldn’t all countries do what is required of them now, mine included, and leave the recalcitrant marginalized and subject to scorn and moral suasion?

    The US tactic of insisting others do at least as much as they do is hardly leadership and it tends to ignore that a country with a puny % of the overall population is creating a third of the GHG. Isn’t that the issue?

    Hey, we listened. Change you can believe in. Everyone but the nuckl-draggers believes in this. The superpower should be the role model. No?

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