Post-Copenhagen: the homework assignment has been turned in

Nations submit their voluntary greenhouse gas reduction plans to the UN.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

Nations have submitted their national plans to reduce greenhouse gases. China and the U.S. have pledged to reduce gases that add to global warming according to the IPCC.

The voluntary greenhouse emission pledges represent countries that account for 80% of the earth's greenhouse gases. The U.N. has no enforcement powers and the submitted pledges are not in any way mandatory. They are pledges only.

China is now the #1 CO2 producer and it would continue to increase its output under its pledge. However, it does say it will increase CO2 more slowly than it increases energy use. China likes to point out that it produces mush less CO2 per capita than many long-industrialized nations. Of course, it has the second largest population of any nation on earth.

If one person dumps his trash in the creek every day, it would mount up gradually. If fifty people dump their trash in the creek every month, it mounts up quickly. Whenever pollution is being measured it's both the rate and the population multiplier that matter. The few rich folks in Monaco driving big limos don't matter from a global perspective. The billion-plus people in India and China really do matter despite their lower per capita consumption.

There is a plan now to convene another international conference in Mexico later this year to hammer out further agreements on global warming.

Among those signed on to the voluntary agreement coming out of Copenhagen: China, U.S., the 27-nation European Union, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Japan,, Brazil, South Africa and India. Altogether 55 nations have submitted their pledges. Some environmental groups claim that even if the pledges are adherred to, global warming will not be deterred.

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