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40- www. world- petroleum. org 4.1- A sustainable future Copenhagen: what to expect What will 2009 have brought us? When historians look back they might say it was the year when some of the giants of American industry went under. Or they might reflect on political events in Iran. Few of them will forget to mention President Barack Obama. But they might also point to something that happened in December 2009. At least, that's what anyone who wants to stop glo-bal warming will hope. Because that's when the world's governments will gather in Copenhagen to argue over - and, just pos-sibly, agree on - a new treaty to fight the emissions that are heating up our planet. There's a lot at stake, because despite the rhetoric of recent years, emissions keep rising - by around 3% a year. And unless that trend is reversed, say climatologists, cli-mate change could soon be unstoppable. Poor track record The track record of these kinds of agree-ments isn't good. Everyone's familiar now with the Kyoto Protocol, an agree-ment signed in Japan in 1997 that laid the ground for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At Kyoto, diplomats from almost 200 countries agreed to a series of limits on how much greenhouse gas their nations would be al-lowed to emit. Bizarrely, some countries, such as Australia, were allowed to increase emissions; others, such as those of the EU, committed to an 8% reduction against the amount they'd been emitting in 1990. But Kyoto expires in 2012. A new agree-ment is necessary, and quickly, because turn-ing treaties into practice soaks up time like nothing else. If they agree in Copenhagen, signatory- countries will go home and begin the process of ratifying the treaties. Many countries took years to ratify Kyoto; some, such as the US, didn't even get that far. In retrospect, the Kyoto agreement looks like a failure, leaving the world perilously close to the point of no return. David MacKay, an expert on measures to fight climate change at Cambridge University, UK, says that if seri-ous reductions in our emissions aren't made in the next two or three years the battle will switch to " adaptation" - coping with a hotter climate, not preventing it. We're in that predicament, critics of Kyoto say, because the protocol didn't demand enough and countries didn't deliver what they pledged. Schemes for reducing car-bon pollution that Kyoto envisaged, such as emissions- trading markets, have hardly developed; and where they have, such as in the EU, their effectiveness has been wa-tered down by special interests. So coming to an agreement in Copenhagen that actu-ally does something is crucial. Twelve years on from Kyoto, the wor-ries about climate change are now wide-spread, thanks to campaigning by individ-uals such as former US vice- president Al Gore. Climatic events such as Europe's blis-tering hot summer of 2003, which killed tens of thousands, and 2005' s devastating hurri-canes in the US have also focused minds. Global greenhouse- gas emissions gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent Source - US Environmental Protection Agency 30 25 20 15 10 Developing countries Developed countries 2000200520102015202020252030

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