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About an hour ago a document leaked out of the UN Secretariat that blows the top off the climate talks here in Copenhagen. For reasons I don't know it has my name scrawled across the top--I didn't leak it, but it confirms what I've been saying for months. The proposals that the UN is considering come nowhere near meeting their own (already inadequate)target of 2 degrees. Instead, they will lead to at least 50% more heat.

Details to follow

Here's the link to the press release we just put out at

A little background: everyone, especially the Obama administration, has been insisting that they're negotiating in good faith to meet a target of two degrees Celsius

We've been saying two things:

  1. Those targets aren't any good--we need to go below 1.5 degrees, and 350 ppm co2
  1. The proposals put forward by the various parties to the UN talks don't even come close to meeting their own goals. Outside parties have demonstrated this for weeks--Climate Interactive's model yields a temperature increase nearer 4 degrees

But that the UN itself knew it all along and kept going with the pious insistence that they were working towards two degrees is beyond infuriating. This is a real smoking gun, and the smoke is coming from a scorched earth. And nothing Obama says tomorrow will change that, unless he speaks honestly and forthrightly about how far below the goals we really are.

We'd appreciate help in spreading this around. It's all over the front of the Guardian  and the Times just put up a good followup

Update: Many thanks for spreading the word--very honored to be on the recc list. The leak is getting excellent play in the media, though the UN proceedings are so closed off to the outside world that the conference hall will probably be the last place to hear. They cut off virtually all NGO access to the hall today, so there's no one left to challenge the boilerplate speechmaking. It's nearing midnight here and I'm off to bed--up in the morning to fight a little more. Onward

Another update: morning in Copenhagen. Obama had landed. Let's hope he has a plan to defeat physics! Many thanks for the good discussion here, and I'm awfully glad I'm not the president and have to figure out how to deal with all of this. None of it is easy

Update 1 p.m. copenhagen time--Obama just spoke. Nothing new--which means he's out negotiating again, trying to get everyone to sign onto his version of the agreement. I think the point is not that we need a deal--it's that the deal they're cooking up is not what it says on its face. It doesn't get us anywhere near two degrees--and two degrees is, as a number of leaders of poor countries have said, a suicide pact. In any event, it didn't sound like his last speech of the day

Originally posted to Bill McKibben on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 01:12 PM PST.

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