21 December 2009

What happened at Copenhagen?

Top Copenhagen Stories

[The 15th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen is over. Looniest comment? " 'The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy,' said Xie Zhenhua, head of China's climate delegation." (From Deutsche Welle.) Nobody is happy, probably not even Mr. Xie. Here are some of the items we found:]

What did the Copenhagen climate summit achieve?reliability high.
"The outcome - a decision to 'take note of' an accord drawn up by a core group of heads of state on Friday evening - is far from the legally binding treaty which some had expected and for which many hoped. However, this does not change the fact that the Copenhagen conference was a unique moment in history." Lists what the agreement has changed, and what it has not changed. "The deal at COP15, as it stands, leaves the world on a pathway for temperature rises of 3C and above." "it appears that the outcome will be intergovernmental policy co-ordination with a focus on the implementation of national strategies. The move to green growth is no longer in doubt, but the details, actions and time frame remain unclear at best." From BBC News.

U.N. Climate Talks 'Take Note' of Accord Backed by U.S.reliability high.
The U.S., Brazil, China, India and South Africa have come up with a side agreement on climate change. The Copenhagen meeting participants "have agreed the parties would 'take note' of the document, named the Copenhagen Accord, leaving open the question of whether this effort to curb greenhouse gases from the world’s major emitters would gain the full support of the 193 countries bound by the original, and largely failed, 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change." Although most countries agreed to join in the vote, there was widespread disappointment and some anger that the negotiators and national leaders couldn't make meaningful progress toward a new agreement under the existing The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty. The Accord is vague and adds little to previous international assertions that something needs to be done. "Mr. Serra, the Brazilian diplomat, said that the process left many alienated, particularly the smaller countries that have little influence in a major international negotiation. Many involved in the process here suggested this would be the last time that 193 nations would gather in this way to negotiate such a complex accord. 'Certain groups like G-77 are not happy when a few people make decisions,' Mr. Serra said. 'It’s not an inclusive exercise. Perhaps it can’t be.'" From The New York Times.

China blamed as anger mounts over climate deal.reliability high.
"An outbreak of bitter recrimination has erupted among politicians and delegates following the drawing up of the Copenhagen accord for tackling climate change." "The tumultuous events concluded a fortnight of fraught and sometimes machiavellian negotiations that saw a resurgent China link forces with India, Brazil and African states to thwart efforts by rich nations to steamroller through a binding treaty that would suit their interests. Although hailed by Obama, the deal has been condemned by activists and NGOs". From The Guardian.

China says 'development right' key in climate talks.reliability high.
"China will treat talks on a binding global climate change pact in 2010 as a struggle over the 'right to develop,' a Chinese official said, signaling more tough deal-making will follow the Copenhagen summit." "Wen said China is willing to build on the Copenhagen agreement and push forward international cooperation on climate change. Talks on a binding treaty are to extend throughout next year, and China is bracing for more strife over how to mesh its economic and emissions growth with a commitment to cut greenhouse gas levels." See Reuters.

Investors give cautious thumbs up to climate deal.reliability high.
"Businesses and investment analysts cautiously welcomed a climate deal struck in Copenhagen on Friday, but complained that it was unclear how its commitments would be translated into law." From Reuters.

Win-win situation for India, at least for now.reliability high.
"At the end of the day on Saturday, when the battle was over, India appeared to have ceded ground on some issues but blocked intrusion on other redlines." "But fighting a defensive battle, evidently wanting not to be labeled obstructionist by the US, India along with the other three partners loosened up its stance on some key issues. This loosening of stance may not hit home immediately but it left the window open for growing inequitable burden falling on India's head to prevent climate change." See Times of India.

An Air of Frustration for Europe at Climate Talks.reliability high.
European leaders express frustration, disappointment and resignation about the way they were essentially excluded from the final Copenhagen negotiations, and the limited scope of the final agreement. But Irish prime minister Brian Cowen, for example, says, "It’s less than what we wanted, but the process has to go on." See New York Times.

NGOs and scientists are largely shell shocked.reliability medium.
"Comments displaying disappointment are plentiful from NGOs and scientists in the early aftermath of the UN conference in Copenhagen. 'What we have after two years of negotiation is a half-baked text of unclear substance. With the possible exceptions of US legislation and the beginnings of financial flows, none of the political obstacles to effective climate action have been solved,' Kim Carstensen, Leader of global conservation organization WWF’s Global Climate Initiative, states in a press release." Other comments from participants and observers. See COP-15 site.

Copenhagen summit: China's quiet satisfaction at tough tactics and goalless draw.reliability high.
"The Chinese government expressed quiet satisfaction at the outcome of the Copenhagen talks despite European accusations that it had systematically wrecked the negotiating process. China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, described the outcome as 'significant and positive'." "Their strategy was defensive, their tactics were tough and their tackling of opponents occasionally brutal." Quotes various Chinese comments on outcome. From The Guardian.

Ed Miliband: China tried to hijack Copenhagen climate deal.reliability high.
UK climate secretary Ed "Miliband said there must be 'major reform' of the UN body overseeing the talks – the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – and on the way negotiations are conducted. He is said to be outraged that UN procedure allowed a few countries to nearly block a deal."

Meanwhile "Muhammed Chowdhury, a lead negotiator of G77 group of 132 developing countries and the 47 least developed countries, said: 'The hopes of millions of people from Fiji to Grenada, Bangladesh to Barbados, Sudan to Somalia have been buried. The summit failed to deliver beyond taking note of a watered-down Copenhagen accord reached by some 25 friends of the Danish chair, head of states and governments. They dictated the terms at the peril of the common masses.'" See The Guardian.

Copenhagen Accord by a Landslide: 188-5.reliability medium.
Commentary by NDRC President Frances Beinecke: "Nearly every nation in the world embraced the agreement, signaling support by 'taking note' of it. In the parlance of U.N. consensus process, to 'take note' means to agree to or accept, U.N. Assistant Secretary-Gen. Robert Orr explained in a Saturday press conference." "Sounds like consensus to me." See NRDC blog.

Copenhagen: a turning point but still a long way to go.reliability medium.
Column by Ekko van Ierland says "The curtain has fallen on the Copenhagen summit with no firm United Nations accords. However, the leaders of the United States, China, India and Brazil have agreed in principle to limit the increase in global temperature to a maximum of two degrees Celsius. The European Union stands by its decision to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels." From Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Full Text of the Copenhagen Accord.reliability medium.
"Advance unedited version of the Copenhagen Accord signed December 18, 2009." Twelve points, one page. From Mongabay.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2009 HaraBara, Inc.]