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Tying the Copenhagen knot or catching bouquets?

Published: Wed 18 Nov 2009 01:44 PM
URL: http://www.signon.org.nz/blog/tying-the-copenhagen-knot-or-just-catching-bouquets
Tying the Copenhagen knot or just catching bouquets?
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Tying the Copenhagen knot or just catching bouquets?
Submitted by Geoff Keey on Wed, 18/11/2009 - 11:40
There has been a lot of speculation in the media over what will be decided at the Copenhagen climate talks. Will a legally binding agreement be reached? Will it be a “politically binding agreement?”  Will it be something else?  The real answer is that no one actually knows because nothing has been decided yet.
What is clear is that the Danes have suggested some kind of political one night stand – a “politically binding” deal that could later evolve into a legally binding “wedding” treaty next year.  What is also clear is that the Danish proposal has received a mixed response because the record of politically binding agreements is poor (ie- they just don’t work).
By way of example, in 2000 developed countries made a politically binding agreement to goals aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2015 with promises to make trade fairer and increase aid (the Millennium Development Goals).  Yet developed countries have not delivered on their promises.  It’s one of the reasons why developing countries don’t trust developed countries in the climate change negotiations.
In October, the environment ministers of European Union states agreed on the need for a legally binding agreement, as an outcome from Copenhagen in December 2009.  So by offering a one night stand, the Danes seem rather out of touch with European plans for proper nuptials.
After the APEC conference Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Asia-Pacific leaders had agreed to abandon any concrete goals for next month’s Copenhagen summit on climate change, settling instead for broad statements of principle.Mr Harper may only want to flirt, but US President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao showed more ardour at their own summit.  The two Presidents said that they would press for a comprehensive deal that would rally the world. They said they didn’t want a partial accord or a political declaration.  Instead they wanted an accord that covers all the issues in the negotiations and that has immediate operation effect.  They promised to bring t argets to the table in Copenhagen. So it looks like they won’t settle for anything less than a pre-nup.
Just a few hours ago, a meeting of environment Ministers in Copenhagen to discuss preparations for the December negotiations wrapped up.  At the meeting, a majority of developing countries were clear that they want a legally binding deal at Copenhagen.
So we now have the options of Canadian flirting, a European and developing country wedding or the Chinese and United States pre-nup. What happens now depends on the pressure political leaders feel to make a legally binding commitment – a climate wedding of leaders. Nothing is guaranteed and everything in the negotiations is “up for grabs.”
What this means is that the more we can encourage political leaders to take action over the next three weeks, the more likely the world is to get the legally binding ratifiable treaty we need to save the planet.
ends
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