With Copenhagen launching it is hard to think of anything else. So it seems the right time to list some cautionary notes and considerations:
1. Much commentary will revolve around the purloined emails which are a (discomforting) distraction. They don’t undermine the evidence in support of action – that evidence has never been overwhelming. It does not need to be. We are making a decision under uncertainty in which the payoff for being wrong are much lower than those for being right.
2. The absence of a legally binding agreement is a red herring. Legal agreements simply affirm real political agreements. The issue is whether there will be genuine political agreements.
3. Much attention will be focused on who is to pay what for the 3rd world adaption fund. This is a side show. Not that it is unimportant but it is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Most of the beneficiary countries don’t have and won’t have the output to make much a difference.
4. Of those that do, the real issue, as it was at Kyoto, is going to be whether they make commitments to absolute targets instead of carbon intensity targets (which don’t take account of economic growth).