Ask NASA Climate | December 17, 2009, 16:00 PST

Inside Copenhagen

In closing…

Tony Freeman

Dr. Tony Freeman, Earth science manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is in Copenhagen attending what is being billed as a historical climate summit. This is his final dispatch from the negotiations.

Earth drowning.

One very bright spot at the conference has been the U.S. presence. The U.S. Center was a very popular place for participants to visit, and I think nearly everyone with a camera phone took a picture of the “Science on a Sphere” globe hanging there (see my earlier entry). A few NASA presentations took place there, though I would have preferred to see NASA have an even stronger presence at the conference. However, the attendance of high-level members of our government sent a clear message of the U.S.’ seriousness of intent at the negotiations.

As the conference winds towards its conclusion, and the government ministers arrive, people’s expectations seem to be on the increase, as does the intensity of the demonstrations. Today we heard that the president of the conference had resigned, and that the prime minster of Denmark had taken her place. So will this U.N. summit result in an agreement? There are rumors flying that the answer is yes, with a possible implementation of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and a curb on emissions, though I suspect the result will be a compromise needing a lot of refinement in the future (like most political agreements).

--Tony Freeman