United Nations Climate Change Conference
In Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7th to 18th December, world leaders will be gathering at the 15th United Nations Meeting on Climate Change.
It has even been suggested that this is the last chance to address climate change before it becomes uncontrollable. However, the prognosis for the meeting is poor as some governments have already indicated that it is unlikely that they will be able to come to an agreement at this meeting.
Climate change is expected to affect cetaceans primarily via loss of habitat (given the distinct temperature-linked ranges of most species), changes in prey availability, quality and distribution, and potentially increased competition from range expansions of other species. Climate change may also affect how people around the world interact with marine mammals. As climate change puts more pressure on our populations, so we in turn may increasingly have a negative impact on them.
There are some indications that some cetaceans are already being significantly affected by climate change and to protect them and indeed to protect all other living things, including ourselves, we need to act now and the Copenhagen meeting is key in this.The Meeting
The extent and the duration of temperature increase will depend on how swiftly and effectively emissions of greenhouse gases can be restricted and reduced. This is where the Copenhagen meeting comes in. In brief this is the meeting where all countries need to agree on binding cuts in outputs of climate changing gases.
You can find out more about this meeting at its official website here
There is an agreement in place at the moment known as the Kyoto Protocol but this expires in 2012, so we need to replace it and, as the situation is getting worse, we need a stronger agreement.
Since the Kyoto Protocol was concluded in 1997, China has replaced the USA as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and the price of oil has soared. Oil reserves are also running out and governments and companies are already preparing to claim the final resources in fragile ecosystems such as the melting Arctic.