In the cold light of day this morning, last night’s claims by the US, China, India, South Africa and Brazil to have brokered a ‘meaningful deal’ in Copenhagen are revealed as spin or fantasy.

The so-called Copenhagen Accord has not been adopted by the Conference, and seems unlikely to be, with several developing nations including Tuvalu, Bolivia, Venezuela and Sudan strongly opposed.

They are opposed because the proposal makes targets for emissions cuts voluntary, and expects both rich and poor nations  to offer mitigation action. They are opposed because the proposal aims for no more than 2degC warming, and this is too much for many poor countries. They are opposed because the proposal pushes offsetting and extension of market mechanisms especially in forestry.

It’s clear from the current long delay that these countries are now coming under pressure from all sorts of quarters to drop their opposition.

Other developing nations support the Accord, for two main reasons – first they have been told that without it the financial support offered by the EU, Japan and the US cannot be released. This may be true, but only because those rich countries deliberately tied the two issues together. Second they believe that any progress is better than none in the face of climate catastrophe.

The proposal has raised emotions on both sides, and in the heat, the importance of other COP decisions on the continuation of negotiations – especially to avoid a gap in coverage of Kyoto targets – is largely being missed.


The other piece of madness that is becoming obvious, is that if the US and its 4 collaborators had offered this Accord on a voluntary basis, they could have won fairly wide support without creating serious opposition.

And that might have really put the climate process back on track.

Otherwise it would have revealed how much of the support is only a result of the potential access to finance that the Accord offers.

Either way it would have been welcome dose of sanity – matching the honesty of Obama’s admission that his proposal would not solve climate change …