An admission, a challenge, and an unnamed diplomatic source, sounds like the beginning of good mystery novel.

The UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen wrapped up its first day of talks with a some interesting developments.

The Admission

The Environmental Protection Agency, of the United States, came out ofthe closet and finally admitted carbon dioxide as a threat to humanhealth. And while most of us know that breathing from an exhaust pipeis probably not good for you, this admission does have some strengthbehind it. With this admission, should the U.S. Senate fail to adoptlegislation (on emissions) the E.P.A. now has the authority to regulate.

The Challenge

The European Union was beating its chest yesterday, suggesting theywill raise their emission reductions from the 20% they have alreadyadopted to 30% if “other major players (read United States and China)undertake ‘comparable commitments’”, however, the statement does notspecify what would qualify as being “comparable”. Most agree this moveis only meant to keep pressure on the United States and China. Wouldn’tit be great if we didn’t have to bully our political leaders?

Unnamed Diplomatic Source

Financial Times Deutschland is reporting the European Union is ready toput money on the table as a sign of good faith. The money will beearmarked for climate change mitigation and adaption in vulnerablethird world countries over the next three years. In a draft obtained bynews agency AFP, the amount is just noted as “X billion euros for theyears 2010 to 2012”, however according to the unnamed source the X willbe replaced by a figure in the range of one to three.

Time Magazine has a great read on the “Five Things to Watch for at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

1. “Will the U.S. lead?” The second Bushadministration seemed to enjoy playing the spoiler, often “gumming” upthe works on carbon emissions. And we all remember when they walked outduring the middle of negotiations at the Montreal summit in 2005.

2. “Will China and India Follow?” While the U.S. isthe globe’s largest carbon emitter, China and India are not too farbehind. And while they have a lower per capita emissions ratio, underthe Kyoto Protocol, they haven’t been required to take any verifiableactions to control emissions.

3. “The Two Step Tango” In 2007 leaders laid out the“Bali road map” a series of steps towards replacing the Kyoto Protocol.Well, the international community got a bit delayed in implementingthose measures.

4. “Seeing REDDon deforestation” The loss of tropical forests plays a major role inclimate change, contributing to 15% of global greenhouse gases. Slowingthe rate of deforestation has a double benefit, but presently there’sno mechanism for developing countries to earn carbon funding by keepingtheir trees.

5. “Financial Adaption” It’s not all about the smoke,Global warming is coming even if we do act fast. For a long time no onecould agree on how much money would need to spent, the numbers rangefrom $10 to $100 billion, its time to nail that number down.

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