Cop-out in Copenhagen: leadership breakdown results in failure

Posted by jamie — 19 December 2009 at 12:37am - Comments

Merkel adn Sarkozy at COP15It's a gut-busting, heart-breaking cop-out and I'm so very, very angry although sadly not very surprised. The exhaustion we're all feeling in the Greenpeace team here in Copenhagen only adds to the appalling sense of frustration - our leaders swanned in and let us all down. The deal isn't fair or ambitious and it certainly isn't legally binding. Even though the agreement, such as it is, has yet to be sealed, they have failed.

I hoped it would be different but the skewed nature of international diplomacy has led the Copenhagen summit through two turbulent weeks into an exercise in arm-twisting and back-room deals. The bullying tactics of the developed countries have ensured they have got what they want, despite the attempts of some developing countries to stand their ground.

As those such as Naomi Klein and George Monbiot have been saying, they've carved up a new piece of real estate - the atmosphere - and seen to it that they can pollute more than other countries while bearing less of the brunt of the consequences.

The blame doesn't entirely fall on the shoulders of Sarkozy, Merkel, Rudd and the like, but they share the bulk of it, and trying to shift it on to other countries like China is just feeble. Obama has been a particular disappointment. Despite saying the science should dictate the action, the lack of hard commitments in either of his two speeches today was appalling. Where are the emissions targets? Where is the financing for developing countries? Where is the binding agreement? We need them now, not at some unspecified point in the future.

It's not over though, not by a long way. As the leaders begin to disperse and leave their ministers to hammer out the final details (although how you make something out of virtually nothing is an interesting question), they'll be preparing the spin that will try to convince us that they've done a good job, that they haven't sold us down the river in so business as usual can continue. We all have to hold them to account and show them where they've cocked up.

The spin is already starting as statements from heads of government are hitting the wires, hailing a historic agreement that will set the world on a path to a better future. They're wrong and as things stand, we're on course for a breakdown in our climate and everything that entails.

And can you believe Obama said he had to leave because of inclement weather conditions in Washington?

They can't be allowed to get away with this. People everywhere demanded a real deal before the summit began and they are still demanding it. We can still save hundreds of millions of people from the devastation of a warming world, but it has just become a whole lot harder. Watch this space for what comes next.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

Follow Greenpeace UK