Climate Change and the Road to Copenhagen: Twisted and Torturous

Dr Uttam Kumar Sinha is Senior Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • September 2009

    The Road to Copenhagen in December 2009 has two visible signposts. One that reads, ‘The time for climate change action is now’, the other that warns, ‘The road is bumpy’. The first signpost expresses the apocalyptic language that the earth's rising temperatures are poised to set off irreversible consequences if concrete steps are not taken quickly. It suggests that the climate is nearing tipping point. The second signpost forewarns that arriving at a bold, equitable, and binding treaty will not be easy and that the politics of climate change will undermine the science of climate change. Irrespective of whether the climate change probability is high, medium, or low, arriving at a consensus in Copenhagen from December 7–18, referred to as the ‘Son of Kyoto’, will clearly test the tenor of the international community in involving a framework beyond 2012. Any expected ‘grand deal’ will structure around four contested issues.