Last-minute agreement at Copenhagen marks turning point for the world
conflicting currents of hype as those that have swirled around the globe since
the gavel fell on the
warming under the United Nations Framework Convention on
5”, Brazil, China, India, South Africa,
for the first time, the rapidly developing giants of Asia, Africa, and
the world’s population and 44% of global greenhouse gas emissions, constitutes
a new and potentially historic alliance, a symbol, perhaps, of a new world order.
commitments across the world.
insistence that all parties agree to verification of fulfillment of their carbon-cutting
commitments. When the major developing economies
ultimately to strengthen the accord.
it became the Copenhagen accord, may be a significant step toward overcoming a
dysfunctional negotiation process which requires that decisions be reached by
consensus among all 190+ parties to the UNFCCC. Despite opposition from a small
minority of countries, heads of state found a way to move the accord ahead without
unanimity. By doing so they demonstrated their seriousness and exerted the capacity
of the majority of nations to move forward when they agree.
neither rules to structure international carbon markets, nor means to enforce
compliance. This creates daunting uncertainties about how nations and markets
will interact over greenhouse gas reductions.
but endorsed it almost immediately, faces important decisions. First, what is
the future role of the KP? Will Europe pursue two paths, both a second commitment
period under the KP, and participation in the accord? Second, will Europe which
has led the world toward collective action on climate, put aside disappointment
about how the Copenhagen process played out, and seize the lead in creating a
process to implement the accord?
of state endorsed the accord will treat it as binding. Various signposts will
suggest which way the road is heading. The first deadline to watch for is January
31. By then, developed countries must register national commitments â€” and developing
countries national plans of action â€” to reduce greenhouse gases. Major defections
at this point would doom the accord, but early indications are that countries
that offered commitments coming into Copenhagen will register them.
key countries seek to implement its terms. It remains unclear who “owns” the Copenhagen
accord, who staffs its implementation and even who has the authority to convene
the next meeting to keep the process going. Will negotiations around the accord’s
implementation be included in the next UNFCCC meeting in late May, or does it
require an entirely separate process? The accord includes promises of adaptation
assistance, a green climate fund, and forest protection and technology “mechanisms”.
The question of who moves the process forward needs to be resolved in the next
Brazil and South Africa, to meet this month to devise a united front on a way
forward. Will Europe take the initiative to define a workable process?
emitters. China will launch its 12th five-year plan, and much will ride on the
strength of the measures they include to improve energy efficiency, and develop
low-carbon sources of energy. Already since Copenhagen they have adopted new measures
requiring electric utilities to purchase wind and solar energy.
to reduce US emissions, as a bi-partisan trio of Senators â€”
bill that addresses both climate and energy security.
dynamics it may make possible a profoundly important shift in which action on
climate change is no longer seen as a threat, but rather the key, to development
and the future of poverty eradication is recognised as low carbon development.
That would be an historic achievement.
of how talks failed