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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to a Climate Agreement: Rounding-Up Copenhagen
In addition to Michael Moynihan’s must read analysis of the UNFCC COP-15 in Copenhagen, here’s a round-up of some analysis of the climate summit:
Climate Conference Ends in Discord by Fiona Harvey, Ed Crooks and Andrew Ward, FT
The Copenhagen climate conference ended on Saturday without unanimous agreement as the world’s biggest economies backed a limited accord that leaders said would form the basis for a future deal to tackle global warming.
Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, acknowledged that the outcome was “not everything we hoped for” but described it as an “essential beginning” as he brought a close to two weeks of fractious negotiations in the Danish capital.
Talks had continued through Friday night into Saturday morning in a bid to reach consensus on a tentative agreement struck between the US, China and other big emerging economies on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and financing to help developing countries cope with climate change.
But several developing countries, led by Venezuela and Bolivia, refused to endorse the deal, ensuring that the conference would end without an official agreement. Instead, all 193 countries agreed to “take note of the Copenhagen Accord” without committing to accept it.
What Hath Copenhagen Wrought? A Preliminary Assessment of the Copenhagen Accord by Robert Stavins, Harvard University
It is unquestionably the case that the Accord represents the best agreement that could be achieved in Copenhagen, given the political forces at play. Indeed, were it not for the spirited – and as I suggested above, quite remarkable – direct intervention by President Obama, together with the other key national leaders, there would have been no real outcome from the Copenhagen negotiations.
Examining the Copenhagen Accord by Michael A Levi, Council on Foreign Relations
The Copenhagen Accord, agreed to on Saturday, is neither earth-shattering nor a failure. It avoids an international political mess that appeared likely as late as Friday afternoon. It falls short of expectations mainly because expectations had been ratcheted up far beyond what was realistic. It is a meaningful step forward, but its ultimate value remains to be determined.
Attention should now turn to elaborating the transparency measures contained in the text, and to implementing ambitious and intelligent domestic emissions-cutting efforts in the major emitting countries. It would be unwise to place significant hopes on converting the deal into a legally-binding pact soon.
The most interesting point to me, though, is what the process in Copenhagen means for Europe. Europe, unquestionably the leading region of the world in addressing climate change, was rendered virtually diplomatically irrelevant by the United States and a group of emerging economies:
An Air of Frustration for Europe at Climate Talks by James Kanter, The New York Times
Mr. Reinfeldt said President Barack Obama had been “very constructive” at the talks, creating a basis for the accord by smoothing over the dispute with China over an international monitoring system for emissions.
Still, the Swedish leader hinted that the Europeans had been caught badly off guard.
Mr. Reinfeldt said he had gotten his first signals that a deal had been struck while still engrossed in meetings.
“We had very tough negotiations two and a half hours after I read on my mobile telephone that we were already done,” he said.