The Climate Race

Updates and on-the-scene reports from the United Nations Climate Change Conference

'Meaningful' accord seen as insufficient

A “meaningful agreement” was declared to have been reached as the conference wrapped up, but an unnamed U.S. official involved in the talks was quoted as saying the accord is not sufficient to combat the threat of global warming. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard talked with Kai Ryssdal about what the agreement entails and what happens next.

Regardless of the outcome, all the players will be dealing with one major concern that isn’t going away. Sam Eaton explained on today’s Marketplace.

Watch President Obama’s press conference after announcement of the agreement on the Associated Press Web site.

Here’s a draft of the Copenhagen Accord. (PDF)

Updates from the press pool on Facebook

Reporters for the Associated Press and other news outlets are posting updates on Facebook as the negotiations draw to a close. Got to http://www.facebook.com/TheClimatePool

Looking for signals from the conference

On today’s Marketplace, Laurent Corbier, chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and VP of sustainable development at energy firm Areva, talked with Kai Ryssdal about how businesses are looking for direction from the conference, which will bolster investment in clean technologies. Likewise, Ann Condon, director and counsel for General Electric’s environmental, health and safety programs, told Steve Chiotakis on the Marketplace Morning Report that GE wants to know where climate policy is going so it can develop products to meet future demands.

On the political front, John Dimsdale reported on how the conference’s difficulty at reaching an agreement is playing in Washington.

Lord Stern is hopeful

Andy Revkin just posted this quick and dirty — and extremely optimistic — interview with Sir Nicholas Stern. He sees a lot of hope down the final stretch.

He also had a very interesting blog post earlier in the week about the missing “P” word at the talks.

The importance of population size in gauging emissions trends was raised by Chinese officials here, who noted that their one-child policies reduced births by 400 million and emissions of carbon dioxide by some 18 million tons a year. In the first week of the meeting, Zhao Baige, vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the policies had some mixed consequences, with the country now aging and facing a paucity of girls. “I’m not saying that what we have done is 100 percent right, but I’m sure we are going in the right direction and now 1.3 billion people have benefited,” she said.

Climate of protest

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Protesters have been making their presence known on the streets of Copenhagen during the U.N. climate change conference. See the slideshow by Marketplace sustainability reporter Sam Eaton.

Heavy taxes fuel Danes' clean economy

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Denmark is far ahead of the United States in moving to a clean economy. Sam Eaton reported today on the sacrifice the Danes are making to build a low-carbon future. One couple he featured, Kaspar Olesen and Susanne Nielsen (above), showed him their home’s 1949 vintage oil furnace, which the government helped them replace. See Sam’s slideshow too.

Deadlock and disagreements

Protesters in the streets of Copenhagen are getting increasingly frustrated as negotiations at the conference crawl along, and the very real possibility of a deadlock looms. Stephen Beard talks with Kai Ryssdal about what’s going on — and what’s not.

Two giants in the discussions, the United States and China, are the world’s largest emitters of heat-trapping gases. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports on the big disagreements they have over how much carbon to cut and who should pay for it.

Mayors take over Copenhagen

While negotiators and global leaders are still drawing out their arguments at COP15 over carbon reductions and funding, City leaders aren’t standing still for the higher-ups to make decisions on how to deal with climate change - they are stepping into action.

On Tuesday, over 80 mayors from large cities from around the world got together for the Copenhagen Climate Summit for Mayors. The point of the summit is to get the leaders at COP15 and the public to show what local governments can do. Some mayors even had a chance to show off how their cities are already trying to be energy efficient. From urban planning to clean energy to waste management - the cities at this meeting had something to tout.

Here are some videos that were shown at Tuesday’s opening press conference to kick off the summit.

All sides of the Copenhagen conference

The Marketplace team was on top of the climate conference today.

Stephen Beard talked with Marketplace Morning Report host Bill Radke about how the participating nations are close to an agreement on deforestation. He also reported on the speech by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who highlighted the power of new ideas.

Also on today’s Morning Report host Steve Chiotakis talked with David Bresch of the Swiss Reinsurance Company about how insurance companies are getting ready for the impacts of climate change.

On the Marketplace PM show, sustainability reporter Sam Eaton talked with host Kai Ryssdal about why corporate leaders are in Copenhagen, and what the mood is like during the last days of the conference.

And Stephen Beard added yet another report on how the conference’s poorer delegates are finding it tough just coping in Copenhagen.

Divided we stand?

If you thought things were getting messy between the US and China last week , get ready for more drama.

For those lucky enough to get inside the Bella Center on Monday, where the UN climate conference is happening, you were probably: 1) warm and 2) witnessed the halt of negotiations.

The rift between the rich and poor countries hit a climax today when meetings were put on pause.

Developing countries, including India and China, want rich countries to make deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions - basically they want to extend the Kyoto Protocol to the rich nations. After 3 hours of the walk-out the talks resumed. It was a good play for the developing countries because it got people’s attention at the meeting as well as the media.

It also got the attention of UK prime minister Gordon Brown who decided to move up his travel plans to Copenhagen in fear that talks are unraveling. He’ll stay until the meetings are over. Also, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decided to attend COP15. More leaders are expected to trickle in this week in hopes to sign a treaty on Friday when the meeting will conclude. President Barack Obama is expected to arrive early Friday morning.

Let’s see if all this star power will get the talks back on track and a treaty signed by the end of the week. Be sure to check out Marketplace Morning Report all this week to hear what business leaders want to see at the end of COP15.