The Copenhagen summit has highlighted the continuing sharp differences between developing countries and developed countries on climate change issues. It has come up with an apology of a document, a weak, watered-down, three-page text presented for adoption at a plenary session of COP-15 on Saturday night.
Several developing countries immediately rejected it and discussions continued as I left the Bella Center groggy eyed at 6.00 a.m. this morning.
Five hours later, “the conference of the parties takes note of the Copenhagen Accord,” a final decision at the 193-nation talks said. It did not specifically say it endorsed the accord.
The rejection by developing countries follows two weeks of heightened dissent by many developing countries about attempts to drive a consensus among a select group of about 30 developed and major developing countries, Brazil, South Africa, China and India; and excluding most developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The accord does not mention specific targets or deadlines for greenhouse gas emissions. It merely it agrees to reduce global emissions to stop the rise in global temperatures below two degrees Celsius.
It agrees to provide US$ 30 billion from 2010-2012; and US$ 100 billion each year after 2020.
The accord also agrees to set up a Copenhagen Climate Fund to support projects on reducing emissions due to deforestation and degradation, adaptation, capacity building, and technology transfer.
It says it would set up a mechanism for development and transfer of mitigation and adaptation technologies.
The European Union last night tried explain that the glass is half full. That, for the for the first time, 192 countries have come together to work out a global deal. And that there is progress on the funds. Though the EU, too, did say the accord fell short of expectations and was a disappointment.
So what is half empty? Small island states like Tuvalu would like stronger commitments to keep the rise in temperatures below 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels. No mid-term and long-term specific mitigation targets for developed countries, no peaking years for emission reductions. Many developing countries would like something more concrete on board, in terms of money for mitigation and adaptation, than vague promises to generate funds through all possible means for a slew of activities.
T V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net