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UN Climate Change Conference Opens; GWIR Reports from Copenhagen

The UN’s 15th Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol opened in Copenhagen this morning. With diplomats from 192 nations in attendance and government leaders including Pres. Barack Obama expected later in the week, conference organizers urged participants from developed and developed nations to step up to the plate and commit to significantly reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately for the IPCC, the credibility of its climate scientists and aspects of its reporting on climate science have taken some body blows recently. Emails from IPCC researchers at the University of East Anglia show that some scientists were not above considering doctoring research results to establish a more clear, direct link between climate warming and human-made CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

Then came more bad news: It seems the latest, 2007 IPCC status states that Himalayan glaciers could melt completely in 100 years, possibly even by 2035, rather than by 2350–the conclusion reached in the authoritative, peer-reviewed 1996 research report upon which these statements were in part based.

The revelations, though damaging, are not significant enough to outweigh all the good research that’s been done, the increasing evidence of sharp and sustained climate change in various regions of the world, or the growing costs and risks of not making strong, sustained efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Conference president Connie Hedegaard of Denmark said the key to an agreement is finding a way to raise and channel public and private financing to poor countries for years to come to help them fight the effects of climate change, according to an AP report.

The world many never get a better, more opportune chance to address the issue, Hedegaard, Denmark’s former climate minister, said. “This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we got a new and better one. If we ever do,” she was quoted as saying.

GWIR’s intrepid publisher/reporter Tom Schueneman should have some sharp, insightful observations and analysis re COP 15 this week. Tom has jumped through the hoops to obtain his official COP 15 press credentials and is footing the bill to report directly from the conference in Copenhage, so check back here regularly for news and analysis.

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