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Stops and Starts as Copenhagen Winds Toward Its End

The Copenhagen climate conference in Denmark looks set to end as it began: in gloom and disappointment. We've been following the talks with daily roundups, and so far, there have been far more downs than ups.

Its various troubles add up to little to no possibility of a deal as the conference closes this week, say officials from Australia, China, Germany, Russia and several other powerful countries. And fractiousness seems to be on the rise; in addition to allegations of inaction and protectionism, the participants are also accusing each other of spreading propaganda (although one need not look far for some real examples of it).

Nevertheless, the leaders of over 100 countries begin arriving in Copenhagen today, ready to talk about something. And, as Yogi Berra would say, "It's not over 'til it's over." Check back tomorrow for a final wrapup (or post-mortem, depending) on the conference.

Here are the links:

After threat of end, Copenhagen begins again (Wall Street Journal)
Top U.N. negotiator Yvo de Boer says that the talks have re-opened after fears that they had been scuttled by disagreements between rich and poor nations. However, tensions are still running high.

Developing country interest bloc on bring of falling apart (ClimateWire)
Competing interests between the 130-odd developing nations that have so far been negotiating together suggest the the bloc will soon fall apart along geographic lines, with African, Asian and island countries all pursuing their own needs.

Kyoto extension may become base for a new deal (Bloomberg)
Delegates may be able to agree on an extension to the much-maligned Kyoto Protocol as the basis for talks over the next few years, according to a BofA Merrill Lynch executive.

If Copenhagen fails, at least we can drown our sorrows (Nature)
A team of scientists reports in Nature that history suggests a sea level rise of 20-30 feet if current warming trends continue, a larger increase than previous estimates.

U.S. offers $100B, demands emissions tracking (Bloomberg)
""The U.S. is ready to do our part," Clinton told reporters today at the Bella Center in Copenhagen where the talks are taking place. Failure to meet U.S. conditions on monitoring reductions is a "deal breaker," she said."

Obama won't bring anything to the conference (AP)
Constrained by politics, President Barack Obama's presence at Copenhagen will be little more than ornamental (unless he makes a really good speech).

Carbon capture shut out of clean energy funding (Australian Mining)
It appears that the Clean Development Mechanism funding scheme will not consider carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) at coal plants to be a form of clean energy, thus blocking it from receiving funds.

People lose, trees win at Copenhagen (Time)
Even if the climate negotiations fail to achieve anything concrete for its human participants, the world's forests could benefit from the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) plan.

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