New tool helps understand, track global climate change negotiations

HARTLAND, VT, Dec. 4, 2009 -- Sustainability Institute has launched the Climate Scoreboard, an online tool that allows the public, journalists and other interested parties to track progress in the ongoing negotiations to produce an international climate treaty...

• The Climate Scoreboard reports the long-term climate implications of proposals to the United Nations negotiations in Copenhagen

HARTLAND, VT, Dec. 4, 2009 -- Sustainability Institute today launched the Climate Scoreboard (www.climatescoreboard.org), an online tool that allows the public, journalists and other interested parties to track progress in the ongoing negotiations to produce an international climate treaty. The Scoreboard allows users to check, on a daily basis, whether proposals in the treaty process commit countries to enough greenhouse gas emissions reductions to achieve widely expressed goals, such as limiting future warming to 1.5 to 2.0°C (2.7° to 3.6°F) above pre-industrial temperatures.

The Scoreboard will follow the negotiations in Copenhagen from day to day, and continue tracking progress in the months following the conference, addressing the question: if current proposals for emissions reductions were implemented how much future warming would be avoided?

Today, in advance of the opening of the Copenhagen Conference, the Climate Scoreboard shows that, while current proposals would reduce warming in 2100 relative to a scenario with no reductions in emissions, proposals are not yet ambitious enough to limit temperature increase to 2°C (3.6°F) over pre-industrial temperatures. The Scoreboard estimates a temperature increase of 3.8°C (7.0°F) over pre-industrial if current proposals were implemented as compared to a 4.8°C (8.7°F) temperature increase by 2100 without emissions reductions.

The Climate Scoreboard results are delivered as a widget that can be embedded in media reports, blogs, websites, and Facebook.

The Scoreboard is based on the C-ROADS (Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support) computer simulation, which is carefully calibrated to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report results. C-ROADS emerged from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and allows users to input mitigation proposals for China, India, the US, the European Union, and other nations and regions. It then simulates these emissions' impacts on greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature change, per-capita emissions, cumulative emissions, sea level rise and other indicators.

In addition to the Scoreboard, C-ROADS analysis of current proposals is shared online in a variety of forms, including graphics, data files, and slide sets.

C-ROADS has been used in strategic planning sessions for decision makers from government, business and social organizations and in interactive role-playing policy exercises.

Launching the Scoreboard today, Dr. Elizabeth Sawin of Sustainability Institute said:
"The Climate Scoreboard helps make sense of what is happening in the climate treaty process. It helps negotiators, political leaders non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens understand the state of the negotiations. All of us have a stake in these negotiations, and the reporting, which will be continuously updated during the Copenhagen conference, will help us track how close the negotiations are to achieving their goals."

The Climate Scoreboard can be viewed at www.climatescoreboard.org.

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