After All That, Disappointment in “Hopenhagen”

Delegates to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen have officially “taken note” of the deal squeezed out on Friday by major carbon-emitting nations, an action that seems to fall short of a ringing endorsement.

President Obama’s own summary of the climate deal reached at–almost literally–the eleventh hour in Copenhagen, was laden with the language of muted disappointment. While describing the arrangement hammered out by the US, China, India and Brazil as “meaningful and unprecedented” and stressing that for the first time, “All major economies have come together,” he also used terms like “first step” and “not enough.”

Some bullet points from the President’s news conference, right before be bolted for the airport:

- Accord contains the three key elements: transparency, mitigation and finance

- Mitigation goal to stop warming at 2 degrees (C) “…by action consistent with science.”

- Nations have “much farther to go.”

- Accord is “not legally binding” and sets no deadline to achieve one that is*

- A legally binding pact was “not achievable at this conference.”

- Getting to a legally binding agreement will be “very hard and is going to take some time.”

- “This is hard within countries. It’s going to be even harder between countries.”

And here’s one to set a cheery tone for the coming year:

- “Kyoto was legally binding but everybody fell short, anyway.”

*Earlier drafts of the agreement reportedly set the end of 2010 as a deadline for signing something binding.

The US President and other heads of state left the Bella conference center before the agreement was actually signed. He said negotiators will remain in Copenhagen and attach many of the details to the deal in an “appendix,” before signing. President Obama said he was confident that as he departed, delegates were “moving in the direction of a significant accord.”

Here’s an early reaction from a major environmental group, in this case Friends of the Earth:

- “Sham Deal Requires Nothing, Accomplishes Nothing.”

Prepare for more of that.

The outcome of the fifteenth “Conference of Parties” in Copenhagen would seem to lend prescience to the speech given there by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday, the theme of which was: Don’t wait for national and international bodies to solve this problem. They haven’t–and may not.

  • http://warming101.com Anna Haynes

    OK. What’s the best outcome, that could come out of this, and what should we be doing, to bring it about?
    What are our roadblocks, and how can they most intelligently be overcome?

  • http://ncwatch.typepad.com/ Russell Steele

    Viscount Monckton of Brenchley: The White House spinmeisters spun, and their official press release proclaimed, with more than usual fatuity, that President Obama had “salvaged” a deal at Copenhagen in bilateral talks with China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, which had established a negotiating bloc.

    The plainly-declared common position of these four developing nations had been the one beacon of clarity and common sense at the foggy fortnight of posturing and gibbering in the ghastly Copenhagen conference center.

    This is what the Forthright Four asked for: 
    Point 1. No compulsory limits on carbon emissions.
    Point 2. No emissions reductions at all unless the West paid for them.
    Point 3. No international monitoring of any emissions reductions not paid for by the West.
    Point 4. No use of “global warming” as an excuse to impose protectionist trade restrictions on countries that did not cut their carbon emissions.

    After President Obama’s dramatic intervention to save the deal, this is what the Forthright Four got:
    Point 1. No compulsory limits on carbon emissions.
    Point 2. No emissions reductions at all unless the West paid for them.
    Point 3. No international monitoring of any emissions reductions not paid for by the West.
    Point 4. No use of “global warming” as an excuse to impose protectionist trade restrictions on countries that did not cut their carbon emissions.

    Russ: The good news is the eco-Nazis’ attempt at global bureaucratic coup d’etat failed. The bad news is that the failure in Copenhagen will strengthen Governor Schwarzenegger’s argument that climate change solutions should be regional starting with California. The ugly is he will now redouble his efforts to kill our economy with more eco-regulations, including a cap and trade tax bill to fund the creation of green jobs. Jobs that will go away once Californian voters discover what most of the nation already knows – human caused global warming is an unscientific hoax.

  • Steve Bloom

    Is Russ aware that Monckton is pretty much certifiable? Does he care?

    Want proof, Russ? Check out the Discount Viscount’s partial cure for AIDS. I mean, if you’re going to be a crackpot, why limit it to climate?

  • http://ncwatch.typepad.com/ Russell Steele

    Mr Bloom,

    Why do you want to change the subject? What does AIDS have to do with what went on in Copenhagen? Why do you find it necessary to attack the messenger rather than address the issues at hand? Lets hear your version of what happened in Copenhagen? What is the Sierra Club’s view of the results from Copenhagen?

  • http://warming101.com Anna Haynes

    Steve, save your breath; Russ can’t be turned. And he won’t stand behind his writing (link).

  • http://ncwatch.typepad.com/ Russell Steele

    I can find no reason to pay Anna to vet my writings, it is up to the reader to decide if my writings make sense. I do not need Anna’s Seal of Approval. However, I do welcome comments on my blog NC Media Watch should a reader finds something I wrote contains an error, or is based on failed logic. A good exchange often leads to better understanding on both sides of an issue.

  • http://warming101.com Anna Haynes

    I’ve offered to bet Russ $1 that his contrarian assertions are faulty. I worked free as his factchecker for a month (Sept 2007) but am unwilling to take it on as a life sentence.

  • Anna Haynes

    …the sad thing is, there are grandchildren.

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