Failure in Copenhagen

Now that the talks in Copenhagen for some kind of legally-binding agreement on climate change have ended in what can only be called failure, the blame game begins.  Everyone wants to know who is to blame.  And the finger pointing has already begun.

Ed Miliband, the Secratary of State for Energy and Climate Change (in the UK), says that it was China’s fault that the talks did not end with a binding agreement.  And while some are not as explicit in their denunciations, it is clear that their are some world leaders that wanted more out of the conference.  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the talks were “held to ransom by a handful of countries” and overall they were “at best flawed and at worst chaotic.”

It is important to note that there was an agreement, the Copenhagen Accord, but it is not legally binding.  It calls on countries not to let the temperature rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius but does not have any requirements on how this is to be achieved.  Also, there were pledges from developed countries to give billions of dollars to developing nations to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Not everyone was so quick to judge them a failure.  UN President Ban Ki-moon said the Copenhagen Accord was “a very important and very significant step forward.”  China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also praised the talks saying “the Copenhagen conference is not a destination but a new beginning.”

Well, if these are steps forward, they are baby steps and this new beginning is a very weak one.  And considering how difficult it was for this process to more forward, I can honestly say that I think we have no hope of tackling climate change before it is too late.  It will affect many parts of the world and countless lives will be lost or deeply impacted before we actually do something that will make a positive difference.  And that is why I think the Copenhagen talk can only be called a failure.

Sources: The Times (of London), AP, BBC News (all accessed through Google News)

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