“It’s no deal, it’s just an agreement.”
The outcome of the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change has elicited mixed interpretations from all quarters in the world. While the poor nations rejected the agreements as self-serving the interest of the rich nations, condemned as “monumental failure” by ardent environmental NGOs, lambasted by faith groups as “negotiated without consensus”, and regarded by EU leaders as “disappointing and embarrassing”, there are still those who regard the agreements as the best that could emerge from the summit which was, as early, predicted to fail.
The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso aptly described the accord as “a positive step but clearly below our ambitions,” while adding: “I will not hide my disappointment.”
The agreement, cooked outside the UN process (for lack of transparency) by US and China (the two leading CO2 emitters) with South Africa, India and Brazil, only recognizes “the need to limit global temperatures to rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”. That which the rest of the 193 countries attending the summit, “pushing for an upper limit of 1.5 degrees”, cannot be held to agree.
No emissions reduction is in sight for 2020, and even the target in previous agreements of cutting CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050 was abandoned. As a result, the EU did not change their target from a 20 percent cut in emissions to 30 percent citing that the major players are not putting enough stakes on the negotiating table. Besides there is no mechanism in place how to monitor the cuts aside from requiring nations to report their emission reduction efforts to the UN every two years!
The agreement also earmarked $100 billion a year to developing countries to help them cope up with the effects of climate change and to stamp a low-carbon development footprints. But this figure does not specify where the funds must come from (government or big corporations?) and how much would flow into the government of the developing nations and to the civil society organizations.
While the Copenhagen delegates agreed to meet next year in Mexico to hammer more promising targets from the Summit, it’s time to gather tidbits from the ruins and start building relationships: bilateral agreements among vulnerable nations, tripartite agreements among government, civil societies and concerned communities, and “serious negotiations” for policy change to spur the urgency of actions for climate change.
Thus, the dissatisfaction of the result is a positive attitude towards intensifying work for the environment and the initial agreement should be regarded as a foundation to achieve more progress. Besides, there is no more argument that climate change is continuing to get worse and we need to take action.
We cannot allow government as spoilers, we always know the challenge also rests in our hands to be continually engaging, conscienticizing and committed to take actions to avert climate change.