Naider Topagunea Late, but they finally arrive the last reflections of the event“Climate Change: what to expect after the Copenhagen Summit?”. I return to contextualize and comment on Gorka Bueno’s intervention, adding some notes from the other two speakers that I had not reflected in the previous post.

The radical change in the climate policy of the United States with respect to the Bush administration, the prior willingness of China to join a global objective of reducing emissions, or the drive and leadership of the European Union in the fight against climate change represented some of the factors that caused high expectations for the Copenhagen Summit.

Even so, the result of the climate negotiations was described by large sectors of society as disappointing: emission limits were not established at the levels required by the scientific community and, furthermore, no binding agreement was reached to replace the current Protocol. from Kyoto.

Through the Ateneo Naider web portal ( an intense follow-up was carried out and a broad analysis of the results of the Summit through numerous commented news items, opinion articles, posts, etc. Here are some of the more interesting posts:

As I mentioned in the first reflections, the meeting was attended by three speakers who presented different points of view regarding the problem of climate change after the meeting in the Danish capital.

I will once again present some notes that Gorka Bueno (Engineer and PhD in Telecommunications and professor of Electronic Technology at the University of the Basque Country) brought us through his presentation in his presentation “Energy scenario after the failure of COP 15 in Copenhagen”. Gorka argued that the paradigm of energy generation and consumption in a world based on renewable energy must be in many ways radically different from the world based on fossil fuels.

Listing the benefits of renewable energy, he drew listeners’ attention to the economic and energy cost of carrying out the transition towards a less oil-intensive model: renewable energy flows are free, but the technologies for their exploitation are very expensive.

“What we cannot assume is that energy consumption in our society can continue to grow indefinitely”Gorka Bueno

In the conclusions of his presentation, he stated that we cannot assume that energy consumption in our society can continue to grow indefinitely as it has done over the last 150 years. In this sense, Gorka affirmed that the price of energy will increase considerably in the coming years and that, in order to face the energy transition towards a model based on renewable sources with guarantees, we must make efficient use of the oil reserves that we have left.

Josu Sanz (Graduate in Chemical Sciences and Chemical Engineering and Head of the Environment and Sustainability Area of ​​UNESCO-Etxea) gave a exhibition focused on the implications of climate change on sustainable human development. Referring to the United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008, he explained how climate change especially affects the poorest countries, since their vulnerability to the impacts that are already being recorded is very high. He drew attention to the lack of a sense of urgency to solve this problem and the lack of a sense of human solidarity between rich and poor countries.

Sense of Human Solidarity Between Rich and Poorsu Sanz

He ended his presentation citing some very illustrative data: 15% of the world’s population, rich countries, are responsible for almost half of global emissions; while 50% of the population, corresponding to that of poor countries, emits only 15% of the total.

For my part, I started the exposition illustrating with phrases from Ban Ki Moon and Barack Obama the level of relevance that the problem of climate change has reached in the international political agenda to, immediately afterwards, qualify the results of the Copenhagen Summit as a failure. In the presentation, I especially analyzed the importance of deforestation and the need to adapt to the impacts predicted by institutions such as the IPCC. According to this group of scientists, it is urgent to decisively reduce emissions before 2015 if we do not want to see ourselves doomed to irreversible climate change.

In relation to the Summit, I tried to explain how the results of the negotiations were practically null, since the objectives announced by the main issuing countries before the meeting, according to their opinion and in the case of the very poor USA or China, ended up being the same after closing. In addition, he stressed that no binding agreement was reached.

“If a binding agreement is reached that includes the main global emitters, who will ensure compliance with the established objectives?” Iván de Torres

As a positive fact, I highlighted that in the Danish capital an aid of $10,000 million was agreed until 2010 to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change and develop low-emission technologies. As conclusions, I insisted on the relationship between climate change and energy and left a question in the air: if a binding agreement is reached that includes large emitters such as the USA or China, will the United Nations be capable of ensuring compliance with the established objectives?

I end leaving here the link to the official document of the minimum agreement reached in Copenhagen, making some comments about it:

  • The “Copenhagen Accord” resulted in a political declaration setting out diffuse non-binding commitments.
  • It is not based on previous documents worked on in previous United Nations climate summits.
  • The non-binding emission reduction objectives for 2020 compared to 1990, announced by the main emitters are: European Union between 20-30%; USA a 3% reduction; China a 10% reduction; India a 7% reduction.
  • These announced objectives do not reach the levels of emission reductions that the international scientific community considers advisable to avoid generating severe climate change.
  • Agreement on a binding global target to replace the Kyoto Protocol is postponed to the next Climate Summit in Mexico (COP 16 of 2010).