In December 2009, twenty thousand people, including about 40 heads of state, will converge in Copenhagen to decide how the world responds to escalating climate change over the next half century.
If successful, the meeting of 192 member countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will send a clear signal to business and industry, governments and citizens around the world. Commitments made and mechanisms agreed will signal that the future belongs to a low-carbon economy and that tomorrow’s winners will be those that invest in clean energy solutions. It will also set in motion swift support for the most vulnerable in adapting to a warming world.
Copenhagen should serve as a foundation for and springboard to a new legally binding global climate agreement. Realistically, the summit is likely to result in a foundational outcome that encourages immediate action to reduce emissions and signals commitment to greater action in the near future. The negotiations are likely to conclude in a series of decisions that will lock in progress made so far, together with an overarching high-level political declaration that the final agreement will be legally binding. This new, comprehensive, and legally binding instrument will be the goal of negotiations in 2010, once the United States has passed the domestic legislation necessary to commit to a final target and timetable for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.