Handicapping Copenhagen

As climate conference begins second week, here are some tools and resources to track developments and put them in context

2 min read

A large demonstration in downtown Copenhagen on Saturday--and the determined efficiency with which police rounded up and arrested a couple of hundred allgedly unruly activists--got most of the headlines over the weekend. Negotiators reportedly worked hard through the weekend, however, trying to narrow differences on a draft protocol before heads of state arrive later in the week for some last-minute head-bashing.

To follow developments closely in real time, the most useful Twitter feed that I've located so far is one posted and culled by France's Le Monde: you can ignore the introductory French at the top and go straight to the mostly English-language entry list.

For context, the Wall Street Journal has an excellent synoposis of who wants what at Copenhagen, while the Financial Times has pulled toghther data summarizing 2005 greenhouse gas emissions for key countries and players and reduction pledges they have made so far. The online version of the FT's Reducing Carbon Emissions: Government Pledges is somewhat dated but still worth consulting because it's so compact and nicely interactive. Some developments not enumerated in the current versions: Brazil's promise to get emissions down 36-39 percent by 2020, largely by means of reduced Amazon deforestation; China's plege to trim the nation's carbon intensity--CO2 per unit GDP--40-45 percent by 2020; the European Union's offer to hike its planned 2020 cut to 30 percent from 20 percent if other critical parties such as the United States, India, and China do enough.

Speaking of interactivity, a newly formed group called Climate Interactive has posted a thermometer-like climate scoreboard that tells you how Copenhagen negotiators are doing in terms of business-as-usual and carbon-reduction scenarios. (Current reading: the proposals on the table today will get the world's increase in temperature between now and 2100 down to only 3.9 degrees Celsisus from 4.8 degrees C, business-as-usual; the stated goal is to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees C.) For more qualitative measures of success, go to IEEE Spectrum’s What to Expect from Copenhagen Confab.

The Associated Press's Michael von Bülow did a nice job of summarizing where things stood in Copenhagen as weekend negotiations began. Stay tuned here for this week's developments.

 

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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