On the final official day of climate negotiations in Copenhagen, scientists offer their thoughts on the outcome and the agreements reached.
Prof Mark Maslin, Director of the Environment Institute, University College London, said:
“The science tells us that we must drastically cut the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere to avoid catastrophic climate change. But we must also protect the moral and ethical right of countries to develop and achieve the same stand of living as we have in the west. Any deal agreed at Copenhagen must achieve these twin goals. If what is agreed is too weak then Copenhagen should be seen as a stepping stone to stronger commitments and a fully legally binding treaty at COP16 next year. As global carbon reductions will be the issue of the twenty-first century and thus Copenhagen is not the end but just a beginning of the mammoth task facing humanity. There is no reason why by the end of this century we cannot achieve a low-carbon world in which global poverty has been eradicated; it just takes the public to support brave and enlightened politicians in their drive for a better world.”
Prof James Crabbe, Executive Dean and Professor of Biochemistry, University of Bedfordshire, said:
“Limiting emissions to 2 degrees C overall will not be enough. Certain parts of the world will have a greater rise, as mentioned in the IPCC report. 2 degrees will cause the loss of many coral reefs, so important for the GDP of many small islands and developing countries.”