This is the third article for LDV by Fiona Hall, Lib Dem leader of the European Liberal Democrats, giving her account of the Copenhagen climate change summit. You can read Part I here, and Part II here.
What a mess.
After yesterday afternoon’s impasse on an international agreement, President Obama took matters into his own hands, struck a deal with China, India, Brazil and South Africa – and promptly left the country. It’s leadership of a sort – but, sadly, in the wrong direction.
The rest of the world has been offered a watered-down Accord which – as it stands – has no chance of meeting its own aspiration of limiting the global temperature rise to 2C. The 2050 emissions targets have been edited out, as has any mention of revising to a 1.5C degree limit if the science requires it. And funding remains uncertain. But the message is clear: take it or leave it.
Perhaps this accord is better than nothing. There is recognition that developing countries need an annual $100 bn in adaptation and mitigation aid by 2020 and there’s a proposed mechanism to verify developed economies’ emissions cuts. This is a base on which to build over the coming months. But it is essential that those countries which recognise the need for a stronger – and truly global – deal regroup and make it happen.
There is a sobering lesson in all of this. The US and China must find a way to work together and with the rest of the world. If they don’t, global progress is impossible.
Now we hear that the plenary session – which is still sitting this morning – has recognised the US-brokered deal. But to become an official UN agreement, all 193 nations must endorse it and it’s not clear that will happen.
One thing I am quite clear about. The fight to get a global deal that really does combat climate change must continue. There is no alternative.
* Fiona Hall MEP is Leader of the Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary Party