Here’s the Copenhagen Accord.
The Financial Times blasted the non-agreement in today’s lead editorial, entitled “Dismal Outcome at Copenhagen Fiasco”:
An empty deal would be worse than no deal at all, said the White House before Mr Obama travelled to the Copenhagen summit. As the meeting ended, Barack Obama was calling the Copenhagen accord – the emptiest deal one could imagine, short of a fist fight – an “important breakthrough”. Mr Obama’s credibility at home and abroad is one casualty of this farcical outcome.
The agreement cobbled together by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa is merely an expression of aims. It recognises the scientific case for keeping the rise in global temperatures to 2°C. It calls on developed countries to provide $100bn a year in support of poor nations’ efforts by 2020, but without saying who pays what to whom. It appears to commit none of the signatories to anything.
Many developing countries were bitter about this result. Europe may wonder why it has been airbrushed out of the picture. The meeting as a whole could not bring itself to endorse this vacuous proclamation. It took note of it.
One wonders how a conference to conclude two years of detailed negotiations, building on more than a decade of previous talks, could have collapsed into such a shambles. It is as though no preparatory work had been done. Consensus on the most basic issues was lacking. Were countries there to negotiate binding limits on emissions or not? Nobody seemed to know.
From the start, the disarray was total. In this, at least, the attention to detail was impressive. The organisers invited more people to the event than could be accommodated, and were puzzled when they arrived. Delegates queued in the freezing cold for hours, a scene that summed it all up. The organisers had planned a celebration of a grand new global pact – but the party was a disaster and they forgot to bring the agreement.
Governments need to understand, even if they cannot say so, that Copenhagen was worse than useless. If you draw the world’s attention to an event of this kind, you have to deliver, otherwise the political impetus is lost. To declare what everybody knows to be a failure a success is feeble, and makes matters worse. Loss of momentum is now the danger. In future, governments must observe the golden rule of international co-operation: agree first, arrange celebrations and photo opportunities later…