Current figures spell doom for coastal areas: confidential UN draft

Current figures spell doom for coastal areas: confidential UN draft
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First Published: Fri, Dec 18 2009. 01 23 PM IST

Updated: Fri, Dec 18 2009. 01 23 PM IST
Copenhagen: Amid intense overnight bickering, the watered-down agreement likely to be signed in Copenhagen on Friday is a partial death knell for the planet, a confidential United Nations draft, now in the possession of the Hindustan Times, has warned.
In its current form, the agreement could lead to a temperature rise that could inundate coastal cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New York, Cairo and London, destroy the Amazonian rain forests, desertify vast tracts of land and wipe out most of the world’s small island nations.
The document, marked ‘confidential’, ‘do not distribute’ and dated December 15, warns that all the pledges on the table right now, in the form of emission cuts from the developed countries and voluntary actions from developing countries, like emissions intensity reductions by India and China will send global temperatures on a spiral that will reach 3 degree Celsius by 2050.
Also See | The leaked UN document (pdf)
The world awoke on Friday to news of fresh anger and arguments among negotiators, whose discussions have focussed on how to hold the temperature line at 2 degrees Celsius dismayed small island nations who demand 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Now, the leaked UN document indicates how negotiators have become so bogged down in procedures and suspicion that the actual figures needed to save the Earth have been ignored.
The document said with the current pledges global carbon emissions will be 10.5 gigatonnes above the 44 gigatonnes that will likely hold temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius.
“This gap could be partly covered by the emission savings that could result from minimum pledges and maximum pledges,” the document said.
“Unless the remaining gap of 1.9 to 4.2 gigatonnes and parties commit themselves to strong action prior and after 2020, global emissions will remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal of above 550 ppm (parts per million) with the related temperature rise around 3 degree Celsius.
Meanwhile, as negotiations for a final political agreement, a treaty that commits the world to urgent action will be discussed only in Mexico in November 2010, continued through the night and into early Friday, the G77 group of 133 developing nations and India alleged they were being stage-managed by the West.
The whole thing was stage-managed to show that they had consulted everyone, said an angry Jairam Ramesh, Indian environment minister after meeting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Press Trust of India reported.
Ramesh, who was on his way to a meeting of BASIC (Brazil, South Africa and China), implied that the Danes and other developed countries had already prepared a text to be signed. “In one hour’s time, somehow miraculously, a text will appear,” Ramesh was quoted as saying. The co-chair of the G-77, Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aiping, too alleged the text was prepared from before.
Rasmussen is the chairman of the Conference of Parties (COP) 15, as the summit is officially called. On Thursday, he told the final meeting of countries that any political statement will be based on two texts being negotiation on Long Term Cooperative Action and on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Copenhagen on Thursday. He will be joined by US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as part of 113 national leaders who hope to sign at least a weak political agreement.
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First Published: Fri, Dec 18 2009. 01 23 PM IST