Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Summit Ends In Confusion

By Richard Wottrich, Blog Editor

The Copenhagen Climate Summit (COP-15) dissolved yesterday into a food fight between the haves and the have-nots.

The chairman of the plenary session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) declared on Saturday morning, "The conference decides to take note of the Copenhagen Accord of December 18, 2009," swiftly banging down his gavel. Everyone else exited stage right.

This was precipitated by a US-led group of five nations - including China, India, Brazil and South Africa - that tabled a last-minute proposal that President Barack Obama called a "meaningful agreement".

The language in this agreement purportedly does not even set 2C as a formal target; just that the group "recognizes the scientific view that" the temperature increase should be held below this figure.

The five-nation proposal had "promised" to deliver $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid for developing nations over the next three years, and outlined a goal of providing $100bn a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change.

The agreement also included a method for verifying industrialized nations' reduction of emissions, but this method is entirely voluntary. The agreement is not legally binding.

The main opposition to the five-nation accord came from the ALBA bloc of Latin American countries to which Nicaragua and Venezuela belong, along with Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia.

To be accepted as an official UN agreement, any agreement requires the endorsement of all 193 nations at the talks.

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