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For the next two weeks, until December 18, officials from more than 190 countries will be gathering in Copenhagen to write a new treaty on climate change. For much of the year, there have been questions about whether the conference would come together and, if so, what it could accomplish at a time when much of the world is preoccupied with the global recession. In recent weeks, however, many of the world’s economic powerhouses and biggest polluters, including the United States and China, have said they’re serious about hashing out an agreement. Of course, with so many countries attending, “success” can mean different things to different people: Some want a political agreement; others want a legally binding treaty. Here are five things that could determine the outcome:
1. Developed Nations Vs. Developing Nations
Pretty much all the countries attending the talks agree that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change. But few want….
2. Targets for Cutting Emissions
In Copenhagen, this tension will most likely play out in a numbers game. The scientific community says industrialized countries need to cut their emissions 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the worst of climate change. The European Union seems…
3. Assistance to Poor Countries
Many of the countries that will be hardest hit by climate change are poor. Some are island nations. Some are prone…
4. Carbon Trading
There’s a general agreement–internationally, anyway–that the best way to tackle emissions is by putting a price on carbon. That means a future…
5. Pollution Offsets
One way for countries to cut emissions is to switch to cleaner forms of energy or to make their power plants more energy efficient. But there are…
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