Copenhagen Climate Conference

Post from Monica Frassoni, President of the European Green Party, regarding the Copenhagen Climate Conference:

And so the Climate circus is closed for the moment; it is not in a cheerful mood that most delegates and activists left Copenhagen. There is a sort of “emptiness”, the risk that all that enormous energy and awareness raising just falls in the urgency of more contingent matters and in the obvious lack of decision capability of such a gigantic gathering of world power.

The 119 Head of State and Government were not prepared to go beyond their short term political interests and decided to simply ignore the world’s urgent call to action. They all came to Copenhagen, but they were not able to deliver. We were buried in tons of emphatic and often noble-sounding words, but the results, brokered in the end by a cynical Obama and a ruthless Chinese Prime Minister, with the support of a few sycophantic junior partners, are much worse than what was reasonable to expect. And it is no wonder that it was not even possible to adopt this declaration of non-agreement. The COP15 simply took note of an empty agreement. It was not able to support it.

“As Europeans we must point out the way in which the EU completely missed the opportunity to play a positive difference to the outcome of this conference, or at least to do everything it could to try. The EU was not able to act together as a strong and united bloc and wasted far too much time and energy in internal bickering, lost among the danish Presidency of COP15, the swedish one of the 27, the Commission, incapable to take a real lead, Sarkozy and Merkel, which hopefully understood that in front of big bosses like US and China their real weight is that of a little country. The EU should have raised its pledge of emission reductions from 20% to 30% as this may have provided the momentum the conference so badly lacked. Crucially, the EU failed to build an alliance with civil society as represented by the thousands of NGO and civil society supporters and representatives in Copenhagen,many of whom were locked out of the conference venue. Nor did the EU build alliances with the world’s poorest countries and the Pacific islands, which would not only have increased the chances of a positive outcome but would have shown the absurdity of the claim that the only division in the Summit was that between “rich “and “poor”, with emerging and polluting powers like China and India, as well as oil producers such as Saudia Arabia, being put in the same category as truly impoverished countries.

We all saw that the US is back. But Obama replaced “yes we can” with “no, let’s wait”. And it is true that China and India want to be part of the global discussion on climate change. But in reality they are not taking action to meet their responsibilities. They were the stumbling blocks of this Cop15. Almost no meaningful and specific targets or commitments have come out of this COP 15 meeting: no real verification of progress on emission reductions, only “reports” every one or two years; much use of the word ” should” rather than “shall” and no real recognition by industrialised countries of the climate debt they owe to developing countries because of decades of pollution. All of this taken together means that what we are left with is, at the very best, a very weak statement of intentions, not a plan of action. The only aspects of the results which could be seen as positive are the commitment to meet again in a year’s time in Mexico and the pledge to mobilise 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to help the countries worst affected by the impacts of climate change. Another victim of events is cenrtainly the UN led process of Climate negotiations. We have to think quickly either how top save it or how to make it more effective. I am convinced that certain “spokespersons” of developing countries, like Sudan or Venezuela, made more bad than good in the process. On this day of bitter disappointment and anger, we must not become despondent. We are even more determined than ever to continue the fight for climate justice. We have to move forward so that 2010 will be the year of the global climate pact, with clear and binding reduction targets, fresh money for financing mechanisms and common but differentiated commitments. We must make good use of the incredible energy and passion displayed by Civil Society in Copenhagen. Now it is time to join forces within and outside national and international institutions so that the voice and the will of the people of the world is not only heard in the streets or on the TV in fancy ads and petitions but carries and impact in the decisions taken. , We know we can and must succeed, despite Obama and Wen Jiabao, Barroso and Berlusconi and the other politicians who have shown that they are not worthy of the title “leaders”.

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