Copenhagen Accord may Already be a Failure
Don’t expect any kind of global treaty from future climate summits. It most likely won’t happen, or at least not hold much importance to those involved.
Only 2 months since the disappointing COP15 event and the so-called Copenhagen Accord is already being swept under the rug. Drafted amid chaos as a last ditch effort by a small group of countries, the Accord is currently facing its first political test—and not doing very well thus far. A number of veterans have already stated that the Accord has very little impact or traction and is incapable of getting 194 nations to settle for a new global pact by the end of the year. Furthermore, the Accord has no set guidelines for reaching the warming target and all pledges made were voluntary; unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which had strict rules for rich polluters.
Those who support the Accord claim it’s the first deal that attempts to pin global warming to 3.6 F (2 C), while getting rich and poor nations to pledge emission targets. It also promises money–$30 billion, to be exact. This is to go to all the poor countries by 2012 and another $100 per year is expected to be tacked on by 2020. With so many nations in debt and the lousy economy status, I can’t help but wonder where they plan to get all this money from? Most likely, a number of governments will put the issue on the back burner—again. Unfortunately, some already have.
It’s been speculated that some nations, such as China and India, have already disowned the Accord. These are the very nations that were involved with the drafting. One anonymous speaker stated that “publicly, they are being bubbly and supportive about the Copenhagen Accord. In private, they are urinating all over it”. It’s certainly obvious to see why.
January 31st was the “soft” deadline set by the UNFCCC. Countries were supposed to register their planned actions for reducing emissions and also state whether or not they wanted to be “associated” with the agreement. While a good number of countries did participate, there are some that have opted out. Among those who have failed to endorse the agreement include: Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, and the world’s number one polluter—China.
Former chairman of a UNFCCC negotiating group, Michael Zammit Cutajar noted that the Accord was flawed. It lacked explanation on how it would fit in with the overall UNFCCC forum, as well as further talks on extending the Kyoto Protocol. He explained:
“Beyond the lack of clarity in its drafting, its main weakness is the lack of ambition and identifying responsibilities.” … “Who should do what, and when, in order to limit warming to 2 C (3.6 F)?”
This year, only two sets of negotiations have been scheduled—one in Mexico City and the other in Bonn. Where things will go from here remains to be seen. Will the Copenhagen Accord have any serious impact? Will an actual global climate treaty be reached? Will it even happen in our lifetime? Who knows. All we can do is live our lives in as green and sustainable of a way as possible in the meantime, and hope that one day the world governments will finally get it right.
Until then, the fate of the world lies in our hands.
By Heidi Marshall