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COP15: Data shows 2000s were warmest on record

Copenhagen COP15 LogoEditor’s note: Greenbang will be providing daily dispatches and ongoing updates from the climate change talks in Copenhagen, and is covering the conference virtually to keep our carbon footprint low.

Following are developments from today’s events at the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen:

  • Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh’s State Minister of Environment and Forest, said at a news conference that his country will be the one hardest hit by climate change and rising seas and should therefore receive at least 15 per cent of any global climate fund that might be created to help developing nations.
  • Bangladesh’s place as the country most at risk from climate change was also supported by Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk 2010, which found that nation was hardest hit by extreme weather events — both in terms of lives lost and cost — between 1990 and 2008. Myanmar and Honduras ranked second and third, respectively, in impact over that same time period.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation said that 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, with a global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature 0.44°C ± 0.11°C (0.79°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. Only the US and Canada experienced conditions that were cooler than average, the organisation’s data shows. It added that the decade of the 2000s was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s, which in turn was warmer than the 1980s (1980–1989).
  • The UK’s Met Office also released climate findings indicating that this decade has been the warmest on record since instrument measurements were first taken.
  • French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is calling for a tax of 0.005 per cent on global financial transactions to raise funds to help developing nations deal with climate change, poverty, health and education challenges.
  • Throughout COP15, the Copenhagen Town Hall Square will be home to “Hopenhagen Live,” a venue for concerts, exhibits, film screenings and other events. The national stadium “Parken” will also host performances by artists such as Senegal’s Youssou n’Dour, Indonesia’s Anggun and Jamaica’s Shaggy.
  • The Department for Energy and Climate Change is posting photos from the climate conference on Flickr.
  • Global sea levels could rise by as much as 1.9 metres this century, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Yesterday, 56 newspapers in 45 different countries took the unprecedented step of all publishing a joint editorial on the climate crisis. The editorial states in part: “Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.” The full text, drafted by the Guardian, can be viewed here.
  • The proposals currently on the table in Copenhagen will mean a global temperature rise of 3.8 degrees C by century’s end, according to the latest analysis by Climate Interactive’s Scoreboard. That’s not enough to prevent catastrophic climate change, which is expected under any scenario in which temperatures rise by more than 2 degrees C. Recent pledges by India and South Africa were not enough to have an impact on the Scoreboard figure, which has remained unchanged since its release on 29 November.
  • Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, writes, “Today’s the first day of the formal talks and now 110 leaders have agreed to be there in the end game. I’m convinced that will make a difference. We have to go for maximum ambition — there’s no way this is a done deal. News today is that China have said their emissions will peak between 2030 and 2040, South Africa have put a number on the table and India’s PM is coming.” Read more here.

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