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Copenhagen summit may not be effective

Michelle Udem

Issue date: 12/4/09 Section: Opinion
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We're all crossing our fingers for next week's Copenhagen summit to be more successful for the U.S. than the disastrous and embarrassing Kyoto Protocol. Refreshingly, the Obama administration is steps ahead of the previous administration, releasing a statement last Thursday promising a reduction of U.S. greenhouse emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. We have finally stepped up to plate for our responsibility to the environment - however, what do our long term year-2000-something goals mean in the short term?

From Dec. 7 to 18, the city of Copenhagen will host the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15). At the summit, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 is to be agreed upon. Summit participants include United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) member countries. The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992. The treaty's objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level preventing dangerous anthropogenic effects with the climate system. The UNFCCC has 192 member countries.

With the U.S. on board to cut emissions by 2020, China has vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas "intensity" by nearly half over the next decade. Different from reducing overall emissions, greenhouse gas "intensity" is a measurement of carbon dioxide emissions per unit gross domestic product, compared to 2005 levels. This seems like an ambitious goal, especially for a country previously indifferent toward emissions reduction. Is China now taking the future of its environment seriously? And is this at the risk of decreased productivity and reworking its cutthroat capitalistic drive? Yes, Chinese industries have been exploring green technology and products, but I have yet to hear anything about regulating coal power plants or installing catalytic converters in its automobiles.
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In This Issue

Cross Country

  • Women finish 15th in nation; Simpson has best finish in university history


  • A conversation with Christina Mastrangelo
  • CWRU students among thousands at SOA protest
  • CWRU's Great Lakes Energy Institute honored as "Center of Excellence"
  • Relay for Life 2010 kicks off with recruitment fair
  • Smart holiday spending tips
  • USG Minutes

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Reid Anderson

Sex and Dating

  • Are you tired?


  • All-American, UAA honorees back
  • Building starts on Mather Park
  • Dukes, Criss keep grapplers strong in the middle
  • For Spartans, Allegheny is splitsville
  • Revolving door is no good for the Browns
  • So far, it's been so good for women's basketball


  • Early Ending: Spartans eliminated from playoffs by Trine University

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Worst Case Scenario

  • Reading days and salad days


  • Column on smoking misinformed
  • Copenhagen summit may not be effective
  • Divisive politics dilute meaningful discourse
  • Editorial: Semester grades
  • Junior year abroad - wait, a whole year?
  • Take some time to earn your coal
  • What are your plans for winter break?


  • Director Peter Jackson discusses film adaptation of The Lovely Bones
  • M.U.S.I.C. assembles talented group of musicians for 24-hour recital
  • Surviving the home stretch
  • The Buzz
  • The Observer's choices for the best books of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best films of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best music of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best video games of 2009
  • The Spectrum Drag Ball
  • tUnE-yArDs' debut record merges folk music with noise
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