Plenty of finger pointing after pretty fruitless Copenhagen summit
Early on Saturday morning, world leaders finally reached a deal of sorts on reducing carbon emissions and financing developing countries in their battle against climate change.
Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich shared some of the pain felt by negotiators.
“Many countries have made significant statements. Unfortunately, this summit was organized in such a way that the sides could not come to an agreement. The Russian President noted, among other things, that the documents which the leaders were expected to discuss were prepared very poorly. Negotiations have been really difficult,” Arkady Dvorkovich says.
The deal is one that includes none of the rhetoric of leaders going into the summit.
Many blamed the US and China for refusing to budge.
“Why would we in the United States give something to China to help them to meet certain goals when they own $800 billion of our debt? It just doesn't make sense,” believes US Senator James Inhofe.
But both countries eventually made small concessions, to enable the two superpowers, plus India, South Africa and Brazil, to broker a last-minute pledge to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius.
The five nations also promised $30 billion in aid to developing nations over the next three years, to help them cope with the impacts of climate change. The goal is to increase the sum to $100 billion a year by 2020.
The emerging deal still needs to be accepted by all 193 countries represented at the talks.
With the Copenhagen conference now over, many are left wondering what will happen next: will countries abide by the emissions cuts they’ve pledged, and will what was decided in Copenhagen ever become legally binding?
And the question on many people’s lips is: for so little achieved, was it really worth it?
But some say this summit was never about climate change and that the real goal was to force countries to act against their national interests in the name of preventing global warming.
The way forward, according to the Schiller Institute, is for the US, India, China and Russia, to join together to create a new global financial system.
“If those four come together, all the other nations represented here will say, we want to join in, because what we really want is development – we desperately need economic development for Africa, for South America, for Asia, and that’s actually what most of the countries that were here at the conference would have liked to discuss. Because that’s what they thought they could get out of it – money for development,” says Tom Gillesberg, Schiller Institute chairman.
The G77 group of developing nations reacted angrily to what they say was a deal done behind their backs.
And some environmental activists called the non-binding agreement a “crime”.
As it stands, this is a deal that leaves no one satisfied.