Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate summit ends in chaos and 'toothless' deal

Yvo de Boer, the UN's chief climate negotiator, feeling the strain Photo: REUTERS

After intense overnight wrangling, delegates from 192 countries on Saturday passed a motion simply "noting" a loose deal aimed at limiting temperature rises to less than 2C, which was agreed by the US and four other large-scale polluting nations.

However, critics warned the "Copenhagen Accord", the result of two weeks of negotiations in the Danish capital, was full of holes and lacked a timetable – and environment agencies branded it toothless and a failure. One African delegation likened the deal to the Holocaust.
An exhausted Gordon Brown, who arrived back in Britain at 3am on Saturday, admitted that much more had to be done to achieve a legally binding, properly funded agreement.

A new United Nations-backed conference could be held in Mexico in the first half of 2010, several months earlier than planned, sources suggested.
As Britain and the US both tried to claim credit for reaching any form of agreement at Copenhagen, the blame game for the overall failure began. Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary, said that "developing countries didn't want to sign up to legally binding targets".
Other sources close to the talks blamed the Chinese government for obstructing progress throughout – while countries from Central and South America, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia, opposed the Copenhagen Accord as "undemocratic". Read more.

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