So Copenhagen has ended in failure. I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed. As The Guardian reports:
Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure
Deal thrashed out at talks condemned as climate change scepticism in action
The UN climate summit reached a weak outline of a global agreement in Copenhagen tonight, falling far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking and leaving months of tough negotiations to come.
After eight draft texts and all-day talks between 115 world leaders, it was left to Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, to broker a political agreement. The so-called Copenhagen accord “recognises” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but does not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.
American officials spun the deal as a “meaningful agreement”, but even Obama said: “This progress is not enough.”
And in their editorial:
Copenhagen climate conference: The grim meaning of ‘meaningful’
Like businessmen who insist a deal is legit, politicians protesting they have done something “meaningful” arouse suspicions that the opposite is in fact true. And “meaningful” was about the best word the spin doctors could muster in respect of the agreement of sorts that was brokered in Copenhagen late last night.
The climate change summit had three big tickets on its agenda: emissions, financial assistance and the process going ahead. And on each of these counts the accord which was effectively hammered out not by the whole conference, but rather by the US, India, China and South Africa fell woefully short.
Let’s be clear what this means. The world is going to warm dangerously. There is no chance of holding warming to the 2 degree range. Even in the best case, where all the “voluntary” commitments of Copenhagen are met (hah!), warming will be at least 3 degrees:
A document leaked from the UN, says the world will warm by about three degrees this century if the greenhouse gas cuts proposed in Copenhagen are carried out – exposing the huge gap between the rhetoric of world leaders at the conference and climate science.
Scientists say the three degree rise would probably have severe consequences on human development for centuries, and may well trigger “tipping points” that cause uncontrollable climate change.
Couched in the bureaucratic language of the UN, this is a stark warning that carbon emissions cuts are on the wrong track. … The estimated impacts of a three degree temperature rise includes half of the world’s animal species facing extinction and half a billion people threatened with starvation.
The so-called leaders at Copenhagen have failed us, and failed the future. New Zealand was among the intransigent “developed” nations that spouted empty words but refused to commit to real change. We bear our share of shame for this failure.