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  Climate change: the accord of our survival

Česlovas Iđkauskas, political analyst
2010 01 04

The Copenhagen Summit with representatives of 192 states, including the national leaders and governmental representatives, most probably is the last opportunity to find solutions of problems related to climate change. Its organizers are going to adopt the document committing the world states to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentration in the air.

The guests in the airport of Copenhagen were met with portraits of B.Obama, N.Sarkozy and other national leaders. One of the slogans said: „ Forgive us for doing nothing to mitigate climate change in due time“. Streets of Copenhagen are also full of emotional encouragements to take care of the climate change. Everything seems to be clear: the care of the climate change is the issue of survival for all of us.

However, there are many skeptical opinions concerning the success of the summit.  According to The Times, major disagreements concerning the climate pollution are between the economically developed and developing countries. Economically week states do not hurry to contribute to the resolution of pollution problems which basically were created by the United States,China, India, Brazil, Russia etc.

On the eve of the summit the hackers made an overwhelming contribution to the event. According to Daily Mail, the Russian hackers published the emails of scientists revealing falsification of the climate change data, and this attack most probably has been arranged in the Tomsk state university.  Dissemination of the above information could create doubts on reliability of the climate change data and prejudice the adoption of the Copenhagen Accord.

Russia is not interested in signing the Accord. Although the country is in the 2nd place according to carbon dioxide emissions, because of the economic downturn during the two decades it „saved“ a huge amount of pollution quotas and tried to sell them by the year 2012 before the expiry of requirements set in the Kyoto Protocol.

In 2008 the European Parliament disseminated information that during the century the temperature increased by 0,74 °C, and under existing pollution it would increase by another  0,5–0,7 °C. The main reason of this change is human activity, first of all CO2 and other gas emissions. The EU has reached a common political agreement on the need to keep temperature rises to no more than  2C. For that major industrialized states have to reduce gas emissions by 25-40 percent.

Las year the conference with the U.S.experts and diplomats was held in Vilnius. In his presentation president of the Lithuanian Science Academy Z.Rudzikas mentioned the „winners“ of CO2 emissions: the U.S. – 21 percent, China – 17, Russia– 5, Europe (Russia excluded) – 17,8 percent.  But if we estimate the share of gas emissions per capita, China and India could claim that the amount of their pollutants is much lower than that of technologically developed countries.

By the year 2020 the EU committed to reduce the amount of  CO2 by 20 percent, but what would be the effect? The answer is clear: the cost of the EU production would be higher by 20 percent in comparison to that produced in other regions. Z.Rudzikas concluded that reduction of carbon dioxide emissions should be a joint action of all countries. And that was the main purpose of the Copenhagen Summit.

The Academician Z.Rudzikas provided other interesting facts. The number of annual fatalities was estimated per 1GW of energy generated by burning coal, gas, oil and by using water and nuclear power.  The conclusion was made that nuclear energy is most secure energy. Apart of the Chernobyl catastrophe, there were no fatal accidents in nuclear power plants. There are about 200 nuclear power plants in Europe, but only few are currently under construction: one in Finland and one in Romania, and three in Russia. Belarus and Russia are planning the construction of nuclear power plants at the Lithuanian borders (after decommissioning of the Ignalina Power Plant); Lithuania also has plans concerning a new NPP).

What is Lithuania‘s position concerning CO2 emissions? Lithuania has ratified the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and is following its requirements. According to the data of 2007, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in our country has decreased from 48 million tons in 1990 to 22 million tons in 2005.

Two years ago, when level of production was not yet low, it was estimated that 32 percent of the above gas is exhausted by „Mazeikiai Oil“, Vilnius, Kaunas and Mazeikiai power stations and other energy undertakings.  21 percent of the exhaust gas fall on transport; 22 percent – on major industrial undertakings („Achema“, „Naujasis kalcitas“, Akmenës cementas etc.); 18 percent – on agricultural enterprises and the remaining 7 percent on waste and water management.

The greenhouse gas emissions in Lithuania comprise only 0,05 percent of the annual global amount.  In the U.S.gas emissions per capita comprise 25 tons, in the EU – 10 tons and in Lithuania – 4 tons.

According to the Kyoto Protocol, in 2012 the EU is going to reduce the amount of the greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent (in comparison to 1990).  Lithuania also signed the above commitment. Pursuant to the plan approved by the European Commission, during the period of 2005-2007 Lithuania could exhaust 34 million tons of gas, but didn’t use these quotas. Therefore our country is also interested in selling the „remaining“ quotas.

One of the major objectives of the Lithuanian delegation in Copenhagen is to contribute to the elaboration of relevant legal acts complying with the EU and UN legislation.

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