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A new treaty, similar to the Kyoto accord, will be ironed out in December. The worlds major industrial nations hope to use the treaty to keep the worl  (Source: Droughts and Heat Waves)
Much uncertainty about new accord remains, though

Global warming is one of the most controversial topics of debate on an international scale.  The majority of climatologists support the theory that man is causing warming, yet there are some climatologists that have different takes on the matter, pointing to sun cycles or other factors as the possible culprit.  Further complicating the issue is that most policy decisions are being led by politicians, like IPCC officials, which, while often holding advanced degrees in scientific topics, are seldom climatologists.

As the U.S., Japan, China, UK, and other nations debate in advance of the Copenhagen conference in December, there seems to be a clear consensus that something needs to be done to address climate change.  The key issue though is what to do and how much to spend and on that topic there appears little hope of reaching a consensus.

The nations seem mostly likely to reach a "Goldilocks" solution championed by the U.S.  Such a solution would attempt to not be drastic enough to cause resistance, but not weak enough to be ineffectual -- in other words, it would aim for "just right".  In order to do this a series of interim steps in carbon control will likely be rolled out.

Yvo De Boer, the Dutch diplomat who leads the United Nations climate secretariat and oversees the negotiations describes, "There isn’t sufficient time to get the whole thing done.  But I hope it will go well beyond simply a declaration of principles. The form I would like it to take is the groundwork for a ratifiable agreement next year."

One thorny issue is the topic of poor and developing nations.  While it might be a bit of a pain for the U.S. to curb its carbon habit, it's doable.  However, for some poor nations they simply have no means to turn away from polluting technologies such as coal or wood burning.  Representatives from the U.S., European Union, and the 16 other largest emitters met in London this week to iron out aid for these poor nations to help them meet climate objectives.  According to officials the talks went quite well.

Another key holdup, though is the U.S. Congress's inability to agree on global warming legislation.  Currently legislation that would set up a carbon trading scheme and binding targets for emissions is mired in Congress and will likely not see passage until early next year -- after the international agreement will likely be ironed out.  The lack of a concrete plan from the U.S. cast doubt on the talks.

Officials point out that the Kyoto Accord took four years after the initial convention to iron out details -- and the U.S. never was on board with that treaty.  While there's much uncertainty about the nature of the new agreement, it will likely seek terms that will try to constrain warming to 2 degrees Celsius above current levels.  That way island nations and coastal states will be protected against potentially catastrophic flooding that some speculate a warming climate could create.





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