Copenhagen summit should fail, says top climate scientist

Copenhagen summit should fail, says top climate scientist

"The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation," James Hansen, one of the world’s foremost climate scientists, told the Guardian in an interview published Thursday.

Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations at the Copenhagen climate change summit would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch.

"I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it's a disaster track," said Hansen,
He said the challenge of climate change is “analagous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill."

"On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50 percent or reduce it 40 percent."
"We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual," he added.
Hansen came out against the trade in carbon permits, which allow companies and countries to continue emitting carbon dioxide into the air if they pay for emission reductions made elsewhere.

These carbon market schemes are backed by the European Union and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.

"We've got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]," Hanson said.

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