AGU: ‘Is the planet really just doomed?’

Roughly a thousand people squeezed into a hall to see James Hansen talk this afternoon. They occupied all of the seats, then lined up along exterior walls. The aisles filled up with squatters, and dozens stood on tippy-toes outside trying to get a peak. At one point Mascone Center organizers forced dozens of people out, threatening to call the fire marshal and shut down the talk altogether. Then they gave up, allowing this intrepid reporter to sneak in.  Read more

AGU: Abrupt climate change – the good, bad and ugly

The US Climate Change Science Program released its latest report at the AGU meeting today, taking a deeper look at several potential disaster scenarios that fall under the rubric of “abrupt climate change.” The outlook is mixed, so we’ll start with the good news, move through the bad and end with the ugly.  Read more

Poznan: A flurry of optimism, tempered by reality

Things are wrapping up in Poznan, but it’s tough to assess the mood. The European Union’s last-minute climate deal was certainly welcome news, but the process by which EU leaders got there – and the concessions they made along the way – have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. A speech by Al Gore, the Nobel-prize winning climate advocate and former vice president of the United States, inspired a standing ovation with a not-so-veiled reference to the new US leadership: “Yes we can!”  … Read more

Poznan: Berlusconi threatens climate veto, wins award

European Union officials waltzed into a press conference in Poznan this afternoon and proclaimed, once again, that their latest climate proposal was in no danger. Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas called failure “inconceivable.” Hours later, in Brussels, where EU leaders are gathering today and tomorrow in hopes of reaching such an agreement, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threatened to veto any deal that harmed Italy’s interests.  Read more

Poznan: A push for early action on climate

Even if the international community is able to sign a global warming treaty in Copenhagen in 2009, ratification and implementation could take years. This inevitable lag is reviving interest in various fast-track strategies that could slow the rate of warming today, providing a little breathing room for the carbon dioxide regulations to kick in.  Read more

Poznan: Let’s make a deal

Climate negotiators will take an official break today as global environmental ministers sit down for a high-level session in an effort to hammer out a broader agreement on where to go from here. The United Nation’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, says the goal is to establish a “shared vision” to underpin discussions in 2009.  Read more

Poznan: It’s worse than you think

One of the ongoing debates in Poznan is whether to enumerate some kind of goal for emissions reductions, at least in the short term. The usual number that comes up for Annex I countries – the industrialized world – is 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and the EU has been pushing for a 50-percent reduction by mid-century in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. The scientific basis for this, however, is unclear at best.  Read more

Poznan: After a meltdown, resolution on deforestation

Things weren’t looking good on deforestation last night. Delegates cancelled a public session yesterday afternoon, presumably to keep from airing their dirty laundry, and then got bogged down in a closed-door session that lasted until 10 p.m. Things weren’t looking much better this morning, but they reached a decision a short while ago that seems to have everybody – including environmentalists – moderately satisified.  Read more