Friday, 18 December 2009

Copenhagen End Nears, Obama underwhelms COP 15

Confusion has dominated the final scheduled day as several draft texts were circulated on Friday afternoon. The US, EU and China have not offered anything new in public, prompting fears that a meaningful deal to curb global emissions was slipping beyond reach. US President Barack Obama held a second meeting with China's premier in an effort to break the deadlock.

Patrick Harvie MSP says
Obama underwhelms 'When Barak Obama rose to speak from the Bella Center, the atmosphere at the Klimaforum was hushed. Many people were still hoping for a change of position from the US, but all we got was a restatement of the familiar lines - a 17% by 2020, a pledge of $10bn, and commitments on accountability. We’ve heard this all before, and it’s wildly inadequate.'

Keya Chatterjee, Acting Director, WWF Climate Change Program, reacts to President Obama's speech. “What we did not hear today was how – how is the United States going to stand behind these commitments?” She adds that “we really need to hear from the President that this is going to be a legislative priority for him.”

stopclimatechange say 'Meanwhile, China’s nose was put further out of joint after it was not invited to a heads of state meeting last night. While the Danish COP presidency have sought to play this down as a procedural issue (that it was simply a meeting of Kyoto parties), this seems to be a major error in judgement.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao told delegates: "To meet the climate change challenge, the international community must strengthen confidence, build consensus, make vigorous efforts and enhance co-operation."

The last draft, which is being called the "Copenhagen Accord", calls for global emissions to be cut by 50% from 1990 levels by 2050, with "Annex I Parties" (industrialised nations except the US) committing to cuts of 80% by the same time. Other nations would "implement mitigation actions", in the form of national action plans, that would be updated every two years.
The text also acknowledges the scientific view that nations need to keep emissions below a level that stops the global average temperature exceeding a 2C (3.8F) increase above pre-industrialised levels.

The draft proposals released may to large-scale destruction of ecosystems and unprecedented land grabs as spurious `offsets' will allow Northern countries to burn ever more fossil fuels say civil society groups who have been tracking negotiations. Camila Moreno from Global Forest Coalition says: "In Brazil we're seeing an obscene agribusiness lobby presenting themselves as the solution while they destroy Brazil 's unique rainforest and savannah habitats and contribute massively to climate change. Yet they continue too ply their trade in the highest political circles with impunity. Theses new CDM rules will further mandate this ransacking of the global South."

Naomi Klein says 'On the ninth day of the Copenhagen climate summit, Africa was sacrificed. The position of the G77 negotiating bloc, including African states, had been clear: a 2C increase in average global temperatures translates into a 3–3.5C increase in Africa. That means, according to the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, "an additional 55 million people could be at risk from hunger", and "water stress could affect between 350 and 600 million more people".

Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it like this: "We are facing impending disaster on a monstrous scale … A global goal of about 2C is to condemn Africa to incineration and no modern development." And it is "better to have no deal than to have a bad deal"

The last day of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen ended with a group of countries including the US and China agreeing a deal which the EU early Saturday some described as "not perfect" but "better than no deal". However, it was rejected by a few developing nations who felt it failed to deliver the actions needed to halt dangerous climate change. Many nations are urging the Danish hosts to adopt the deal. To be accepted as an official UN agreement, the deal needs to be endorsed by all 193 nations at the talks. Mr Obama said the deal would be a foundation for global action but admitted there was "much further to go".

The deal 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 industrialised nations' reduction of emissions. The US had insisted that China dropped its resistance to this measure.

Small island nations and vulnerable coastal countries have been calling for far more. "Can I suggest that in biblical terms, it looks like we're being offered 30 pieces of silver to sell our future," Tuvalu's lead negotiator Ian Fry said during the main meeting. "Our future is not for sale

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