COPENHAGEN — Ray Weiss looks at the chanting protesters, harried delegates and the 20,000 other people gathered here for a global warming summit and wonders: What's the fuss all about?
Weiss, a geochemist who studies atmospheric pollution at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says the numbers at the core of the debate in Copenhagen are flawed.
Specifically, he says the cuts that countries including the USA are proposing in greenhouse gas emissions are difficult to measure and highly susceptible to manipulation by government officials and companies.
"I don't see the point in doing all this if the numbers are so far off," Weiss said, shaking his head as he watched conference attendees hurry by Thursday. "When you hear politicians tell you that they can measure these things, just because they passed a deal in Copenhagen, I think you should take that with a few grains of salt."
Most of the summit's attention has focused on exactly how much countries will commit to cutting emissions of gases that data suggest are causing the earth to warm. Yet some scientists, legal experts and delegates say the hardest part of any deal in Copenhagen will be measuring — and then enforcing — whatever politicians decide.
After climate talks, scientists worry about enforcement - USATODAY.com