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.