This article published early in December 2009, reveals the biases of the voting blocks at Copenhagen, based on their emissions, GDP and % of world population. The spectrum of intelligences hidden inside these numbers does not reveal who the complex thinkers are in each block — those people who can think at a geo-centric level and appreciate the challenge to the survival of our species. Those are the people who need to find each other and find common cause for shifting mindsets on a global basis. MH

Published: December 5, 2009

Who’s at the Climate Talks, and What Do They Seek?

Representatives of nearly 200 nations will gather in Copenhagen for an international conference on global warming. As big greenhouse gas emitters, the United States and China are expected to be pivotal to the outcome. Many other countries fall into the formal and informal clusters described here.

Group of 77

This organization of 130 developing countries, founded in 1964, will push hard at Copenhagen for deep cuts by the industrialized nations. Arguing that cuts in carbon dioxide emissions should not come at the expense of their development, these nations will also push for money and technology transfers from wealthier nations to allow alternatives to fossil-fuel-based industrialization. 

42% of emissions 19% of G.D.P. 76% of people  


China, with the world’s largest population and largest emissions of greenhouse gases, could be viewed as one of two 800-pound gorillas in the room, with the United States. A developing nation, China has refused to accept firm limits on its emissions but has instead proposed a “carbon intensity” target, reducing its emissions per dollar of economic output by 40 to 45% by 2020. 

21% of emissions 6% of G.D.P. 20% of people  

Other large developing nations

Other large developing nations like Brazil and India have also insisted they cannot be held to hard emissions targets. India, which initially resisted even nonbinding targets, has said it will reduce its carbon intensity by 20 to 25 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. 

6% of emissions 4% of G.D.P. 20% of people  

African Union

The 50-member bloc of mostly poor nations has been vocal in demanding cuts of 40 percent from 1990 emission levels by 2020 for industrialized countries. The group walked out of a pre-Copenhagen conference in November and has threatened to boycott or otherwise derail the Copenhagen talks if its demands are not met. 

3% of emissions 2% of G.D.P. 13% of people  

Small island states

The Association of Small Island States, a 39-member group, has perhaps the most urgent argument for sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions: a number of them could literally become uninhabitable with moderate increases in sea level. It has called for a reduction of emissions by 85% by 2050. But the coalition’s political bargaining power at Copenhagen is expected to be modest. 

1% of emissions 1% of G.D.P. 1% of people  


The largest oil-producing nations have repeatedly demanded financial compensation for any decrease in oil prices resulting from climate treaties. Because these countries can affect the global economy through oil price gyrations, their position may gain some traction at Copenhagen. 

6% of emissions 2% of G.D.P. 5% of people  

Rainforest Coalition

This group of heavily forested nations is promoting the issuing of emission credits for financing the preservation or expansion of forests (which absorb carbon dioxide) in less developed countries. Some observers suggest that the program, called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), is one of the best prospects for agreement between industrialized and developing nations. 

4% of emissions 3% of G.D.P. 19% of people  

Annex 1 countries

These are the wealthy, developed countries that were required under the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 to reduce emissions, typically about 8 percent below 1990 levels. The United States, technically a part of Annex 1, refused to ratify the protocol. 

51% of emissions 75% of G.D.P. 19% of people  

United States

The other 800-pound gorilla, the United States ranks among the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita of any large country. (Certain small countries like Qatar emit more per person.) With the Senate unable to pass climate legislation before the Copenhagen meeting, the Obama administration will be limited in what it can offer. Yet President Obama has signaled a greater willingness to cooperate with international efforts to reduce emissions than his predecessor, George W. Bush. 

20% of emissions 30% of G.D.P. 5% of people  

European Union

European nations have led the push for firm emission limits, with some on track to meet their Kyoto goals. They will push for new, more stringent emission limits for industrialized countries so that the market in emission credits does not collapse. An enforcement mechanism providing penalties for failure to comply is favored by much of Europe, where there is a commitment to moving away from fossil fuels. 

15% of emissions 25% of G.D.P. 8% of people  

Former Soviet republics

Many former Soviet republics will push for continuing or expanding the “joint implementation” mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, which allows certain industrialized nations with heavy emissions to earn emission credits by financing climate-friendly projects in other developed countries. Former Soviet states have been prominent among the host parties for these projects, which bring them foreign investment. 

9% of emissions 2% of G.D.P. 4% of people