Saturday, December 19, 2009

Failure in Copenhagen

This morning (Malaysian time, that is) the Avaaz-initiated petition (already 13 million names) has become the center of the global revolt against failure in Copenhagen. The names of petition signers were being read out by young people who have taken over spaces in the Copenhagen summit and in governments round the world, including the US State Department and the Canadian Prime Minister's office.

But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the deal as an “essential beginning”.

Xie Zhenhua, Head of China’s delegation remarked, “The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy. After negotiations both sides have managed to preserve their bottom line. For the Chinese this was our sovereignty and our national interest”.

Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission President commented, “I will not hide my disappointment regarding the non-binding nature of the agreement here. In that respect the document falls far short of our expectations”.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted, “The text we have is not perfect... If we had no deal, that would mean that two countries as important as India and China would be freed from any type of contract... the United States, which is not in Kyoto, would be free of any type of contract. That's why a contract is absolutely vital”.

Sergio Serra, Brazil’s Climate Change Ambassador remarked, “It's very disappointing, I would say, but it is not a failure...”

Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives’ President disagreed, “Anything above 1.5 degrees, the Maldives and many small islands and low-lying islands would vanish. It is for this reason that we tried very hard during the course of the last two days to have 1.5 degrees in the document. I am so sorry that this was blatantly obstructed by big-emitting countries”.

Ian Fry, Tuvalu’s lead negotiator was even more blunt: “It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future”.

Anyway, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to lead a campaign to establish a legally binding treaty on tackling climate change as the next step. His Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said he had wanted a stronger outcome.

Miliband spoke as the countries debated the merits of the US-led agreement, which would see a temperature increase limit of 2C (3.6F) and $100 billion dollars to help poorer countries cope. He told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "We would have wanted a more comprehensive agreement, a legally binding one.

"It's good we made a start, in terms of the emissions cuts countries are going to do and crucially, in terms of finance. But that does rely on getting agreement.

"Today's events show the difficulty we face, which is, we are dealing with incredibly complex issues and getting 192 countries signed up. In anyone's book that's not an easy task."

US President Barack Obama said the deal would be a foundation for global action but there was "much further to go".
The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) will soon pay the ultimate price for this failure – these island states are likely to be the first ones to vanish beneath the rising seas. Yes, Maldives and Tuvalu, to name just two.
For your info: AOSIS is a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. It functions primarily as an ad hoc lobby and negotiating voice for small-island developing States (SIDS) within the United Nations system.

AOSIS has a membership of 42 States and observers, drawn from all oceans and regions of the world: Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Pacific and South China Sea. Thirty-seven are members of the United Nations, close to 28 percent of developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN's total membership. Together, SIDS communities constitute some five percent of the global population.


Chris M said...

Copenhagen has failed. The UN has failed to address the most important crisis in human history. This is now the time for sanctions, boycotts and embargoes. A new alliance is needed. An alliance of hope and peace and justice must be built to oppose the axis of pollution, extinction and self destruction.

Glam said...

I agree. I beleive it now calls for drastic and radical action to save this planet from ourselves.

Chris M said...

Hi Glam, thanks.

I think the big difference now is that the leadership, going forward, is going to have to come from the third world. They've already started that with their efforts at Copenhagen, but a lot more is needed.

We in the West need to help and support such efforts (and try to stop any retaliation), but I think we have to give up the idea of *leading* the struggle. Look at the efforts over the past year or more with 350 and everything else. These people have worked their asses off. Seriously, they need a lot of credit. But what did it do?

It's time for something new, and I hope it works, but in the end, it's out of our hands. This will not be solved in the West, and frankly, I think the UN is history at this point.