From: Agence France-Presse, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), More from this Affiliate
Published February 16, 2010 05:59 AM

Is the Copenhagen Accord already dead?

Less than two months after it was hastily drafted to stave off a fiasco, the Copenhagen Accord on climate change is in a bad way, and some are already saying it has no future.

The deal was crafted amid chaos by a small group of countries, led by the United States and China, to avert an implosion of the UN's December 7-18 climate summit.

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Savaged at the time by green activists and poverty campaigners as disappointing, gutless or a betrayal, the Accord is now facing its first test in the political arena -- and many views are caustic.

Veterans say the document has little traction and cannot pull the 194-nation UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) towards a new global pact by year's end.

Political momentum is so weak that so far only two negotiating rounds have been rostered in 2010, one among officials in Bonn in mid-year, the other in Mexico at ministerial level in December.

Worse, the Accord itself already seems to have been quietly disowned by China, India and other emerging economies just weeks after they helped write it, say these sources.

The Accord's supporters say it is the first wide-ranging deal to peg global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and gather rich and poor countries in specific pledges for curbing carbon emissions.

And it promises money: 30 billion dollars for climate-vulnerable poor countries by 2012, with as much as 100 billion dollars annually by 2020.

Critics say there is no roadmap for reaching the warming target and point out the pledges are voluntary, whereas the Kyoto Protocol -- which took effect five years ago next Tuesday -- has tough compliance provisions for rich polluters.

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