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Archive: December 2009

History suggests Arctic sea ice is in trouble

New research led by the U.S. Geological Survey provides more evidence that the Artic will be ice-free in the summertime within a matter of decades.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 29, 2009; 3:54 PM ET | Comments (7)

Brazil to keep ambitious climate goals

Brazil will still enshrine its stringent 2020 greenhouse gas emission goals in law despite the failure of this month's international climate talks to produce a binding treaty, its environment minister announced Monday.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 28, 2009; 6:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

South Africa slams Copenhagen accord

It made sense when the Brits savaged the climate deal the U.S. helped broker in Copenhagen last week, since they weren't in the room when it happened. But now the South Africans, who were there at the moment the agreement was struck, are piling on.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 23, 2009; 6:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Copenhagen and carbon markets, continued

Maybe the Copenhagen Accord won't damage international carbon markets that much after all.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 22, 2009; 7:59 AM ET | Comments (2)

Brits blame China for Copenhagen

Britain's energy and climat change minister Ed Miliband has told The Times of London that China vetoed developed countries' effort to establish a legally-binding climate treaty and set long-term greenhouse gas emission limits.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 21, 2009; 9:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's carbon market impact

So beyond the question of whether the Copenhagen Accord is enough to save the planet, is it enough to save the carbon markets?

By Juliet Eilperin | December 21, 2009; 8:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sudan's Holocast reference

In an unexpected twist, the delegate who did his utmost to derail a political agreement at the U.N.-sponsored talks ended up mobilizing support for it by comparing the U.S.-brokered deal to the Holocaust.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 20, 2009; 9:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

Copenhagen's sleepless nights

How do you put together a climate deal when the entire process is in disarray? By engaging in an extended bout of sleep deprivation, apparently.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 19, 2009; 4:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obama's Copenhagen

If you want to get a glimpse of what President Barack Obama's visit here is like, check out some recent pics the White House uploaded to its Flickr account.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 19, 2009; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Climate draft drops 2010 deadline

By Juliet Eilperin COPENHAGEN -- With time running out to forge a comprehensive climate agreement, negotiators at the U.N.-sponsored talks are considering a new draft agreement that would not require a binding treaty by 2010 but would lay the groundwork...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

U.S. lawmakers leaving early to beat snow

Threats of snow in Washington D.C. is prompting the congressional delegation to leave early, even as the president may delay his departure in the hope of inking a climate deal here.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

South Korea wants to host 2012 climate talks

Hosting a global climate conference can be tough, just ask the Danes.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Clinton's late-night diplomacy unsettles Chinese

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo's decision to skip this morning's ad-hoc meeting of world leaders has gotten people in the Bella Center buzzing about whether the U.S. did something to offend him in the course of the night.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 9:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama to make 'robust effort' on climate change in 2010

President Obama's decision to travel to Copenhagen amid increasingly fractious negotiations regarding his health care bill is meant to send a signal of his commitment to the issue, according to a senior administration official briefed on the trip.

By Washington Post Editor | December 18, 2009; 8:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's morning translation snafu

The best translation snafu yet came during Friday morning's speech by Brazil's president Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, who begged for divine intervention in order to help salvage the troubled U.N.-sponsored talks.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 7:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Remarks by President Obama in Copenhagen

Updated at 8:46 a.m. ET with the complete transcript from President Obama's speech this morning before the plenary session at the Bella Center in Copenhagen. Compare against the prepared text here. THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. It is an honor for...

By Washington Post Editor | December 18, 2009; 7:03 AM ET | Comments (2)

Draft statement falls short on specifics

The draft political statement presented to Obama and other heads of government Friday on the final day of global climate talks outlines several general goals, but falls short of the specificity that many leaders have said is essential for a final deal.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 6:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Obama huddles with world leaders

By Juliet Eilperin and Anthony Faiola COPENHAGEN -- Delegates from 193 countries are gathered in the plenary hall here for the morning session of the final day of the global climate-change conference. But the start time was delayed as...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 18, 2009; 5:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

GOP Threatens to Veto EPA "Endangerment" Finding

By David A. Fahrenthold Having failed in a previous attempt to squash the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is trying another. In a press conference with other Republican Senators Thursday, Murkowski said she...

By David A. Fahrenthold | December 17, 2009; 5:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

8 Questions about the climate talks in Copenhagen

By David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin 1.) What the heck is all this? This is a United Nations-run conference that was -- originally -- supposed to produce a new global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions because what happens...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 17, 2009; 2:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Greenpeace protesters arrested in Washington

Four protesters scaled the front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters Thursday morning and unfurled banners to protest the group's stance on this week's climate change talks in Copenhagen. D.C.

By Washington Post Editor | December 17, 2009; 12:07 PM ET | Comments (5)

Clinton's Copenhagen Offer

For Post Carbon readers who want to know what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Copenhagen Wednesday morning, word for word, here's a full transcript of her opening remarks at today's press conference.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 17, 2009; 8:48 AM ET | Comments (2)

Quoted in Copenhagen

Dollar value, like beauty, is apparently in the eye of the beholder: "One hundred billion dollars is a lot. It can have tangible effects." --Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the U.S. pledge to help fund $100 billion annually...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 17, 2009; 8:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fossil fuel subsidies could transfer to $100B climate fund

Obama officials have suggested to environmental activists that money currently going to subsidize fossil fuel industries could provide a significant part of a $100 billion annual fund for poor countries to combat global warming, which the U.S. and EU have committed to build by 2020.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 17, 2009; 7:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen protests dwindle

Thursday saw smaller, more peaceful demonstrations at global climate talks than the violent protests on Wednesday that drew tear gas, pepper spray and police batons. But organizers warned that larger protests could resume Friday, when President Obama and other world leaders will wrap up the summit.

By Anthony Faiola | December 17, 2009; 7:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen: latest developments

COPENHAGEN--China's revelation early Thursday that it cannot envision an immediate, operational accord emerging from negotiations here was followed hours later by a U.S. pledge to help fund $100 billion a year to developing countries by 2020 if a substantive pact is reached.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 17, 2009; 7:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

U.S. gives $1 billion for forests

Breaking news: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak announced Wednesday the U.S. would provide $1 billion over the next three years to preserve tropical forests overseas.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 16, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (70)

Copenhagen marks historic gathering

Where does this week's leaders summit in Copenhagen rank in the history of global gatherings? High up. Very high up. With 119 heads of government confirmed as attending the talks either Thursday or Friday, or both, the meeting ranks as...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 16, 2009; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

The G-77's ominous warming

The assistant president of Sudan, Nafie Ali Nafie, who represents the G-77 plus China, made it clear in his opening speech of the high-level summit that developing countries will torpedo any pact that replaces the current climate pact, the Kyoto Protocol.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 16, 2009; 9:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Protests heat up as heads of state arrive

Lots of protests, and some tear gas, at the climate talks in Copenhagen Wednesday. Dozens of heads of states are converging for the final phase of the 193-nation, U.N.-sponsored talks, but significant obstacles to a final agreement remain.

By Debbi Wilgoren | December 16, 2009; 7:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's morning reads

Even as the Copenhagen negotiations are mired in confusion, the host city has earned the honor of having a new bicyling invention named after it--a motorized rear wheel created by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 16, 2009; 4:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hillary Clinton will head to Copenhagen

Just in case there weren't enough policy star power in Copenhagen, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to attend the climate conference, according to sources with non-governmental organizations at the conference.

By Steven Mufson | December 15, 2009; 2:48 PM ET | Comments (11)

Copenhagen's morning reads

Here's a mix of opinion columns and scientific reports this morning, to guide readers through the ongoing climate negotiations.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 15, 2009; 5:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Nopenhagen for NGOs

As the climate talks reach a critical point, the United Nations is cutting back on access to the Bella Center, especially for the more than 22,000 registered members of non-governmental organizations.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 14, 2009; 7:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Copenhagen's Biking Culture

This is a place where bike traffic outnumbers vehicular traffic in the city's center, where 60 percent of town residents commute to work on two wheels rather than four.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 14, 2009; 5:43 PM ET | Comments (1)

Video: Representing indigenous interests at climate summit

Saturday was Indigenous Peoples' Day at the U.N.-sponsored climate talks here in Copenhagen. While native tribes have not gotten much of a hearing in the context of the international climate negotiations this week, one of their representatives -- Johnson Cerda, indigenous advisor for Conservation International's indigenous and traditional people's program -- thinks they deserve more of a voice.

By Washington Post Editor | December 14, 2009; 3:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chinese ambassador tries to ease dispute over climate talks

China's ambassador to the United States this morning tried to smooth over the controversy last week in Copenhagen over comments by top U.S. negotiator Todd Stern, who said that U.S. money would not go to help China cover the cost of slowing climate change.

By Steven Mufson | December 14, 2009; 1:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Protesters rally on behalf of Tuvalu

One of the biggest flashpoints at the climate convention has been the push by small island states, which are threatened by rising sea levels, for a legally-binding treaty with ambitious emission reduction targets.

By Washington Post Editor | December 14, 2009; 9:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

A sober note from the IEA

The International Energy Agency sounded a sober note today, politely warning that even if the Copenhagen summit reaches an agreement along the most ambitious terms being discussed, it won't be enough.

By Steven Mufson | December 14, 2009; 8:12 AM ET | Comments (6)

Copenhagen's rival quote of the day

With the U.N.-sponsored talks at a standstill, here, a reporter asked the top U.N. climate official, Yvo de Boer, how he would describe the status of the negotiations if one compared it to climbing a mountain where the summit represents a final deal.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 14, 2009; 7:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's quote of the day

"Ministers and negotiators need to get their act together."

By Juliet Eilperin | December 14, 2009; 4:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Climate-gate feud on FOX

While negotiators from an array of countries are trading barbs back and forth here, their sparring pales in comparison to the verbal tiff Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) had with Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla) had on Fox News Sunday today.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 13, 2009; 7:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Who pays to preserve forests?

The Associated Press published a story Sunday night saying "a proposal aimed at saving the world's tropical forests suffered a setback Sunday, when negotiators at the U.N. climate talks ditched plans for faster action on the problem because of concerns that rich countries aren't willing to finance it."

By Juliet Eilperin | December 13, 2009; 7:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's morning reads

Saturday's protests have generated a flood of pictures.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 13, 2009; 5:10 AM ET | Comments (2)

Update on protests in Copenhagen

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote about the protests in Copenhagen. Read the updates here: The protest was the largest of its kind since the U.N.-sponsored talks began in the Danish capital on Monday: Organizers said as many 100,000 people joined in...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 13, 2009; 12:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

What does Bali mean for Copenhagen?

One line in my Saturday article on the climate talks--which said "the Obama administration is taking a harder line with China than Bush administration officials did just two years ago" drew some fire from officials who served under George W. Bush. So this post will explore the question in greater depth.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 12, 2009; 7:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Tens of thousands protest in Copenhagen

Tens of thousands of protesters marched on the streets here Saturday, demanding bolder action on climate from the negotiators working inside the city's Bella Convention Center.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 12, 2009; 2:57 PM ET | Comments (2)

Copenhagen's morning reads

This will be a European-dominated roundup, since it was the E.U.'s decision to provide $3.6 billion annually over three years that ranks as one of the most important recent developments, along with the release of a short negotiating text by an ad-hoc U.N. working group.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 12, 2009; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leaked Danish text: faked shock?

Earlier this week the climate talks in Copenhagen erupted when The Guardian newspaper published a copy of a proposal drafted by Danish officials, aimed at outlining a basis for negotiations here. But new information obtained by The Washington Post sheds a different light on the uproar

By Juliet Eilperin | December 12, 2009; 6:07 AM ET | Comments (13)

China: Poor or rich?

By Steven Mufson Is China, where per capita income is less than a tenth of that in the United States, a developing country that needs - or deserves - aid from the world's developed countries to pay for projects to...

By Steven Mufson | December 11, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

Chinese official: Stern lacks "common sense"

By Juliet Eilperin COPENHAGEN--China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei criticized the top U.S. climate envoy Friday as either lacking "common sense" or being "extremely irresponsible" for saying the United States would not help China financially to cope with global warming....

By Juliet Eilperin | December 11, 2009; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hacking back in Copenhagen

Rather than providing several Morning Reads today, Post Carbon will provide just one, but it's a high-quality selection.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 11, 2009; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (2)

Reporters scramble for latest documents

COPENHAGEN--The ad-hoc group charged with charting a new path forward in climate talks here has boiled down the issues to a scant six page document, which sets targets and parameters for each of the major questions the world's nations must resolve. The draft was released a matter of hours after small island states -- who are most vulnerable to climate change -- issued their own treaty proposal.

By Debbi Wilgoren | December 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

A new carbon audit

Amid all the talk about what the U.S. will and won't do about global warming, one concrete climate measure cleared an important hurdle today--and it wasn't in Copenhagen.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 10, 2009; 4:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Soros plan

By Steven Mufson George Soros deals with big numbers and Thursday he delivered a speech in Copenhagen proposing that developed countries use $100 billion of their Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) at the International Monetary Fund to help the developing world...

By Steven Mufson | December 10, 2009; 3:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Climate-gate post-mortem

At this point, many people be wishing to controversy over the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit would disappear. But now that the actual news has subsided, the inevitable public relations analysis has surfaced.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 10, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Copenhagen's counting game

This week is what is considered the "slow week" in the U.N.-sponsored climate talks, because the high-level ministers and heads of government don't arrive until next week. But it's already quite crowded in Copenhagen's Bella Center.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 10, 2009; 5:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Copenhagen's morning reads

One of the interesting things about this year's climate talks are the fissures that have appeared in the developing world's united front, in which emerging economies such as China and India have traditionally allied themselves with poor nations.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 10, 2009; 4:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

Chill breeze blowing from wind turbine market

By Steven Mufson Almost any plan to cut greenhouse gases depends on the construction of a huge number of wind turbines. But Vestas Wind Systems, the world's largest maker of wind turbines, told Bloomberg NewsWednesday that it would suspend production...

By Steven Mufson | December 9, 2009; 7:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sarah Palin riles up climate debate

By Steven Mufson The Sarah Palin op-ed in the Post today drew a lot of readers -- not all of them happy. It aroused irate comments from the environmental community in particular. Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American...

By Steven Mufson | December 9, 2009; 4:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Quote of the day from Copenhagen

By Juliet Eilperin Key Quote of the Day: "Emissions are emissions. You've just got to do the math," Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, speaking on why China needs to commit to curb its greenhouse gas emissions...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 9, 2009; 9:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

EPA chief: U.S. making up for lost time

The United States has been "fighting to make up for lost time" in the fight against global warming since President Obama took office nearly 11 months ago, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson said Wednesday. In the Obama administration's keynote speech at the U.N.-sponsored climate talks here, Jackson said climate measures Obama had pushed over the last 11 months are more than what "happened in the last eight years prior" under former president George W. Bush.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 9, 2009; 8:05 AM ET | Comments (92)

Copenhagen's morning reads

The climate talks have already generated a huge amount of virtual ink, so here's a smattering of items that are helping drive the conversation:

By Juliet Eilperin | December 9, 2009; 6:15 AM ET | Comments (4)

Searching for certainty

How does the business community view the Copenhagen summit and the prospect in the United States of EPA regulation of greenhouse gases? "The business community is split," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management at Deutsche Bank. "You've got...

By Steven Mufson | December 8, 2009; 4:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leaked Danish draft shows deep divide

The uproar here in Copenhagen Tuesday over a Danish draft plan for a future climate agreement shows exactly why the negotiations here are so difficult: the rules of the game will likely have to change in order to have a meaningful deal, and many countries have yet to embrace that.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 8, 2009; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Decade set to be hottest on record

As negotiators worked in Copenhagen Tuesday on fashioning a global climate deal, the U.N.'s weather agency announced here that the current decade is set to be the warmest on record.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 8, 2009; 12:21 PM ET | Comments (2)

Does Greece need to be in the black before it can be green?

The road to Copenhagen is paved with good intentions - and pockmarked with tough choices. Take those faced by Greece, for example. George Papandreou, Greece's recently elected leader, made "green growth" one of the central themes for his election campaign....

By Steven Mufson | December 8, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Copenhagen's 2 Degree Target

Over the next couple of weeks, you'll hear a lot about the "two-degree target," which refers to the goal of keeping the global mean temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 8, 2009; 7:33 AM ET | Comments (2)

Red-eye to Copenhagen

The upside to catching the direct SAS flight from Washington-Dulles to Copenhagen Monday night: you catch a glimpse of several D.C.-types headed to the U.N.-sponsored climate talks.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 8, 2009; 7:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Power of the EPA -- and the Supreme Court case that affirmed it

The EPA's finding Monday that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases endanger public health wouldn't have been possible without an April 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court said that carbon dioxide should be...

By Steven Mufson | December 7, 2009; 4:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

EPA to formally declare danger of carbon emissions

The Obama administration will formally declare Monday that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger to the public's health and welfare, a move that lays the groundwork for an economy-wide carbon cap even if Congress fails to...

By Washington Post Editor | December 7, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Top climatologist wishes Copenhagen negotiators all the worst

A famous climate scientist is so worried about climate change that he hopes the talks at Copenhagen fail James Hansen, who is the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is routinely called the grandfather of the science of...

By Steven Mufson | December 7, 2009; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (20)

Contrarians at the climate-gate

By Juliet Eilperin The controversy over the e-mails stolen from one of Britain's top climate research centers--a.k.a. Climate-gate--has sparked a new campaign aimed at convincing the American Physical Society to reverse the call it issued in 2007 for a...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 7, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

Coping in Copenhagen

By Juliet Eilperin The United Nations-sponsored climate meeting starting Monday may be too popular for its own good. It all comes down to numbers: Copenhagen's Bella Center, the venue of the talks, has a maximum capacity of 15,000. According to...

By Juliet Eilperin | December 7, 2009; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

For Obama in Copenhagen, not exactly a welcome wagon

Kevin Conrad, the executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, isn't exactly impressed with the Obama administration's opening bid in the pivotal talks beginning today in Copenhagen.

By Juliet Eilperin | December 6, 2009; 9:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Welcome to Post Carbon

Post Carbon aims to give readers perspective, in real time, on the key climate and energy issues that face us globally. From a quick conversation in the hallway of Copenhagen's Bella Center during the U.N. climate negotiations to the online...

By Washington Post Editor | December 6, 2009; 9:13 PM ET | Comments (3)

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December 2009 Archives