The Climate in Copenhagen

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Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1319
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185072

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With just days to go before the United Nations (UN) summit in Copenhagen that is supposed to define the world's strategy regarding climate change, the news seems unremittingly bad. The rumors speak of deadlock and little or no chance of reaching the crucial agreement that will enable us to avert climate catastrophe. Though this news has apparently taken many people by surprise, it is neither surprising nor necessarily disastrous. The worst possible outcome at Copenhagen would be a weak protocol that solves nothing. The best outcome would be an agreement to delay the final protocol for another year. By the time the parties to the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Mexico in December 2010, we could finally be in a position to set up a protocol with the power to solve the worst crisis that humans have ever faced collectively.