D-Day in Copenhagen: Fiona Hall MEP’s update from Denmark

Well, it took a little longer than expected to get here. Being of a green disposition I opted for the overnight train from Strasbourg to Copenhagen, but heavy snow meant that it was more of a overnight-and-through-the-day train. Never mind – I’m here now, and we’ll soon know if the trip was worth the effort.

Today is – at least officially – the final day of COP 15. This evening we are due to find out whether the world’s leaders are prepared to go the extra mile and put in place the measures needed to keep global warming below 2C. Many suspect that it will be morning before we actually have a text, good or bad.

As is the way with all these things, the messages are mixed.

Progress is being made – not least on forestry issues – and China, which had been saying that any deal was impossible, has now softened its tone.

On the other hand, the Chinese are still said to be resisting mechanisms that will measure its progress in cutting carbon emissions and America is playing coy too. President Obama has just given a speech saying that the US is ready to move, but he hasn’t put a cash value on what that means.

The EU has done more than most to combat climate change, but we need our negotiators to be clear with other world leaders that they are ready and willing to commit to a 30% cut in emissions by 2020 – and that this should be open to revision if the science about what is needed moves on. For those of us that would really like a 40% cut, that point is vital.

Interesting meeting this morning with other MEPs and the EU’s Swedish presidency, which speaks for the European Union here in Copenhagen. Asked what Europe’s red lines are, they suggested:

1. All developed countries must sign up to a Kyoto level of bindingness
2. All emerging countries must sign up to real and appropriate commitments
3. There must be proper monitoring, reporting and verification of emission cuts

– And all of this should be with the aim of keeping warming below 2C, open to revision as the science moves on.

That seems fair to me.

More to follow….

Fiona Hall MEP is Leader of the Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary Party.

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