Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate Deal Lacks Substance

COPENHAGEN, Dec 19: UN climate talks ended with a bare-minimum agreement on Saturday when delegates ‘noted’ an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that developing countries dismissed as betrayal, saying it fell short of the original goals.

“Finally we sealed a deal,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “The ‘Copenhagen Accord’ may not be everything everyone had hoped for, but this ... is an important beginning.”

In a stormy overnight session, the talks came to the brink of collapse after Sudan, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia lined up to denounce the US and China-led plan, after heads of state and government had flown home.

A long road lies ahead. The accord — weaker than a legally binding treaty and weaker even than the ‘political’ deal many had foreseen — left much to the imagination.

It set a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times — seen as a threshold for dangerous changes such as more floods, droughts, mudslides, sandstorms and rising seas. But it failed to say how this would be achieved.

It held out the prospect of $100 billion in annual aid from 2020 for developing nations but did not specify precisely where this money would come from. And it pushed decisions on core issues such as emissions cuts into the future.

Read it all here.

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