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Copenhagen report XI Copenhagen report XI
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-19 10:29:19
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Draft of Copenhagen deal has broad targets, sparse details

World leaders and negotiators were closing in on a political accord that would lead to a new treaty on global warming, though the elusive deal remained out of grasp and key details of a binding legal text will clearly have to be left for later negotiations. According to a "draft agreement text" of a "Copenhagen Accord" obtained by The Globe and Mail, countries have agreed to adopt measures that would reduce greenhouse gas emission by 50 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050, with developed countries aiming for an 80 per cent reduction.

The goal is to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2-degrees Celsius, in an effort to avoid the most calamitous impacts of climate change. The draft statement calls climate change "one of the greatest challenges of our time" and says "strong political will to urgently combat" it. Leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President Barack Obama, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao remained huddled in a negotiating session as the long day of haggling dragged into evening, Copenhagen time. The European Union environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, told reporters earlier in the day that “the secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has asked people not to leave tonight,” according to the Reuters news service. “I cannot imagine 120 leaders going back to their countries with empty hands,” he said.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Negotiations were "still ongoing." "We have not yet been formally asked to stay,” he said. The Prime Minister had been scheduled to departure for Ottawa in the evening. Leaders from the two largest emitters, Mr. Obama and Mr. Wen met earlier in the day and made some progress in reaching a deal, White House officials said shortly after the U.S. president used a speech to warn that a deal hung “in the balance.” The progress, however, was clearly not enough to break the impasse between the two countries that plagued the talks for almost two weeks.

The White House officials, who did not want to be named, reportedly said the two countries talked about greenhouse gas emissions goal, funding to combat climate change and independent emissions data verification. One of the officials said the two leaders moved a “step forward.” Still, there were no assurances that the United States could overcome their differences as the Copenhagen summit. Based on draft agreements circulated today, the final declaration will consist of little more than a political agreement to fight to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“From what we've seen, it's broad framework stuff,” said Dirk Forrister, the former head of the White House climate change task force under Bill Clinton. “They [the negotiators] obviously did not get as much done as they wanted to last night.” Mr. Obama’s meeting with Mr. Wen came after the president urged the 193 countries at the Copenhagen climate change summit to compromise on key demands in order to wrap up an agreement that would kick off the first truly global effort to combat climate change.

The meeting with Mr. Wen was then followed by another impromptu session with other leaders. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Mr. Obama was meeting behind closed doors Friday with the leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. Also participating in the talks were developing countries Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Colombia, among others.  China and Russia, both seen as key participants in the UN-sponsored climate talks, were also present.


Local governments fight climate change

With this Copenhagen Climate Summit for Mayors, we have proved for the first time that through resolute cooperation between national and local governments and cities, we can reach a common goal: to combat global climate. Local governments are already engaged in the fight against climate change. While the world has been focused for the past 10 days on international negotiations taking place at the UN climate change conference being held in Copenhagen, across town another group has quietly and effectively demonstrated it isn’t waiting for national governments to join the battle against global warming.

From Addis Ababa to Berlin, from Dhaka to London, from Madrid to Shanghai, the low-profile organisation called C40 - just one of many local and regional government initiatives at COP15 - represents a group of the world’s largest cities committed to taking action now against climate change.
Among municipal leaders attending the Climate Summit for Mayors, an alternative summit to the COP-15 conference aimed at reaching a new, stronger post-Kyoto agreement on reducing harmful greenhouse gasses was C40 chairman David Miller, who is the mayor of Toronto. Published news reports said Miller and other mayors vowed, in conjunction with the Clinton Climate Initiative, to make their cities more electric vehicles friendly.

In his closing speech at the mayor’s summit, Miller said municipal leaders from around the world gathered in Copenhagen to show they are on the frontline of climate change. “While climate change demands global action, we have shown that we are not waiting for others to act. In Copenhagen, we have learned from what others are doing and hopefully we have inspired each other to find new climate solutions.” In a less diplomatic way, Miller has also provided proof of a schism between local and national governments when it comes to fighting global warming.

According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, Miller accepted two “Fossil of the Day” awards on behalf of Canada. The prize is awarded by 400 non-governmental organisations to countries viewed as blocking progress at the UN climate summit. "Like most Canadians, I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that our government continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to reaching agreement,” the Globe and Mail quoted Miller as saying. The C40 website notes that cities have a central role to play in tackling climate change since they bear a disproportional responsibility for causing it.

“Cities and urban areas consume 75% of the world’s energy and produce up to 75% of its greenhouse gas emissions,” the website says. “That is why it is so important for cities to work together, set the agenda on this issue and show leadership on this issue.” The website also says that about 50% of the world’s population currently live in cities, a figure that is expected to increase to 60% by 2030. Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard thanked mayors attending the summit for their “commitment and strength of purpose in turning Copenhagen into Hopenhagen.”

Bjerregaard said it is the first time the group has been united in calling Heads of State to reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels. "With this Copenhagen Climate Summit for Mayors, we have proved for the first time that through resolute cooperation between national and local governments and cities, we can reach a common goal: to combat global climate change.”


Copenhagen may fall short of expectations

India on Friday placed itself firmly on the side of the developing world as the Copenhagen Climate Summit reached its final hours, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying any global regime to tackle climate change must take sustainable development into account. "The outcome here at Copenhagen may well fall short of our expectations," Manmohan Singh said while addressing an "informal high level segment" of the summit. "Nevertheless, it can become a significant milestone. I support the call for further negotiations leading to a legal treaty (to tackle global warming) in 2010."

US President Barack Obama, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South African President Jacob Zuma were among the world leaders who also spoke at the session. Manmohan Singh said: "As we embark on future negotiations, we'd do well to take stock of what we have learnt in the last two years. I draw 3 lessons." "First, the vast majority of countries don't support any renegotiating or dilution of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular the principles of equity, the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities" to act against climate change."

The Prime Minister was reacting to concerted attempts by rich nations to push India to commit to a date by which its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) would peak. The emissions - mostly carbon dioxide and most of it from industrialised countries - are leading to climate change that is already affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level. To fight climate change, Manmohan Singh emphasised the importance of the Bali Action Plan worked out in 2007. "The plan commits us to enhancing the implementation of the convention (UNFCCC). To settle for something that would be seen as diminished expectation and diminished implementation would be a very wrong view to emerge out of this conference."

The Prime Minister also said the Kyoto Protocol - the current global treaty to tackle climate change, under which rich countries have to reduce their GHG emissions - should "continue to stand as valid legal instrument. Parties (countries) have to stick to their commitments." The third major issue, Manmohan Singh said, was that "any new regime to tackle climate change has to take sustainable development into account. Equitable burden sharing must underlie the new regime." He reiterated his principle that "every citizen has equal entitlement to global atmospheric space". India has a vital stake in the success of the negotiations, the Prime Minister said, "As we're among countries most likely to severely impacted by climate change". He listed the steps taken unilaterally by India - the eight missions including the ambitious solar mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, and the reduction in emissions intensity per unit of GDP by 20 per cent by 2020, compared to 2005.

"We will deliver (on these actions) regardless of the outcome of this conference," Manmohan Singh said, "but we can do even more if a supportive global climate regime is put in place." "It is a difficult task. I hope we can all play positive and constructive roles to bridge differences for an equitable outcome. India won't be found wanting in this regard." The speeches given by Wen and Zuma echoed those of Manmohan Singh, as the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) had worked out their strategy just before the session started. The Brazilian president said the same thing, but in more colourful language.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-19 11:15:48
The mountain roared and a mouse came out from under it. The rethoric is splendid, it's the actions that are lacking so far.

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