COP15: Summit downgraded
6 November 2009:
Less than five weeks ahead of the start of the
Convention of Parties nr. 15 (COP15)
in Copenhagen, the Summit has been watered down to an ‘Intermediate Summit’ – at best. A legally binding agreement has become almost impossible, said UN Climate chief Yvo de Boer, and downgrading the Copenhagen summit results to a ‘politically binding agreement’ – at best. To
, De Boer said that a legally binding agreement will probably take another year.
Barcelona: downgrading targets
This week, the negotiations continued in Barcelona. In the Catalan corridors, emission reduction targets seemed to decrease rather than increase. The Climate Action Tracker, launched this morning by Ecofys, Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Climate Institute, shows that the accumulated pledges of all individual countries are not enough - by far - to limit the temperature rise to 2°C during this century.
Moreover, the tracker shows that the pledges of most developed countries are lower than they claimed: an overall 8% to 12% reduction (between 1990 and 2020) instead of 11% to 17% calculated earlier. Forestry recalculations cause this downgrading.
Battle between poor and rich
In almost every issue, the poor and rich countries are duelling. The differentiation in efforts and targets is one important thing. The developing countries demand deep emission cuts from developed countries. Africa even threatened to walk out of the negotiations if that does not happen.
Also, poor countries demand funds from the rich. The EU recently promised some billions per year, but it is simply not enough. Instead of looking for compromises, points of view are getting harder.
Brazil postpones its announcement
Meanwhile the richer countries demand commitment from the poor. The good news is that more and more developing countries are setting unilateral targets. This week it was announced that Brazilian President Lula should present figures concerning his country’s targets: some 20% reduction (lower than business-as-usual) when going solo, and even 40% with the help of richer countries: “This is very much in line with our calculations of the effort that is needed from Brazil to meet the 2°C target,” says Niklas Höhne from Ecofys.
However, Lula’s announcement was postponed until 14 November, for reasons yet unknown. But for compensation (or not?) South-Korea announced a change to its +8% target in 2020 (compared to 2005 emissions) - to zero, or -4%.
The US stance
The commitment from the US is a very important element in the negotiations. At present, a Climate Bill is being discussed by the Senate, but approval will not happen before Copenhagen. It is one of the main reasons why Copenhagen cannot deliver a legally binding agreement. Yesterday a special Senate committee approved the Bill, but final approval by the Senate is still far away because the Republicans boycotted the Committee’s meeting…
Lock up heads of state and…
Has all hope for a good Copenhagen result gone?
Despite all bad signs, the answer is ‘no’. Anything can happen when you lock up political leaders in a room and don’t let them out before they agree. The first thing required though is enough important Heads of State. So we need to check in the coming weeks if, how many and which heads of state will travel to the Danish capital.
Posted 08/12/2009 by Rolf de Vos
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