Copenhagen Climate Conference

The following article about the start of the negotiations in Copenhagen was published by EurActiv.com on Monday 7th December.

Long-awaited international talks kick off today (7 December) in Copenhagen, with negotiators from 192 countries meeting to hammer out a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

After some hesitation, US President Barack Obama, who had been planning to attend the early part of the conference, has decided to come to Copenhagen at the end instead, the White House said on Friday (4 December), attributing the change to growing momentum for a new accord.

Obama will be joining the 98 world leaders who had already confirmed their attendence at the conference. Most are expected to come for the final two days, when the meeting of heads of state and government is to take place (16-18 December).

Not the end of the road

But after two years of preparatory work, only one thing seems certain: Copenhagen will not mark the end of the process, but is rather expected to set out a legal framework for more detailed negotiations to continue during the course of 2010.

Optimists say such delays are nothing new in international negotiations and are not necessarily a recipe for failure. After all, it was only four years after an agreement had been reached on the Kyoto Protocol that details were finalised to allow ratification, they point out.

Negotiators are hoping to work more quickly this time, leaving the legal details to 2010. Crucially, Copenhagen should set out a clear action plan and a timetable for moving to a legally binding agreement, EU leaders have stated.

To read the article in full, please click here. Should you wish to leave your opinion on the subject, please use the comment box below.

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