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What Happend in Copenhagen?

  • Written by madhu
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For climate change deniers it was ‘the joke of the decade’, let’s see what it was for the rest of us. Climate change is the hardest problem the world community had ever to deal with, 192 countries participated on this save the earth summit bilaterally divided though, into developed and developing nations.   It was very evident all the states liked to avoid the consequences of atmospheric warning but also liked someone else to pay the costs of addressing it. 

On the course of the conference, attempts to make all 192 states to agree on a global agreement seemed too ambitious, the focus was on getting the biggest economies (who are the biggest source of the problem and the states with the resources to help the others) together and see that they can get some sort of agreement among them. The main polluters who are in very different economic circumstances, the developed world which created the problem wanted to get raising powers like China and India to undertake potentially costly measures that could slow their own growth. Needless to say, that was not very attractive to the developing states.  Adding to the severity both the worlds considered national politics to be more important than reaching a global consensus. 

As the conference reached its final days with the aspirations of most of the participating nations getting shattered, a major blockade at the summit grew out of an unfortunate combination of weak leadership on the part of the Americans and Chinese power to impede progress. Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao could only agree to the lowest common denominator i.e. China doesn't want to lead, and the US cannot lead. The conference made it clear that we do not have a global climate policy and that the will to create one is lacking. The CO2 issue is fundamental, but it cuts deep into every economic process. It will lead to new power battles and to a new division of power. In other words a two-year buildup (from Kyoto) to a cacophonous conference ended in de facto deadlock, with only a select group of major powers cobbled together a non-binding “agreement” to undertake various purely voluntary actions, aimed at an arbitrary target for limiting future atmospheric warming. It is now evident that beating global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one was in display in Copenhagen.


As it was widely expected, all references to containing the temperature raise to 1.5 degree C, in previous drafts were removed, but more surprisingly, the earlier 2050 goal of reducing global CO2 emissions by 80 per cent was also dropped.

Greenpeace noted on its Twitter page: “2 years planning, 2 weeks negotiating = worse than half-assed deal in the last 2 hours.

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