Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Copenhagen accord "great failure"

The European Union went to Copenhagen with the hope of achieving a broad commitment to at least a 20-percent cut in carbon emissions below 1990 levels within 10 years, but that and other firm goals failed to emerge in the final accord. The two-week, U.N.-led conference ended on Saturday with a non-legally binding agreement to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, but did not lay out how to achieve that.

Despite months of preparation and strenuous international diplomacy, the talks boiled down to an inability of the world's two largest emitters, the United States and China, to agree on headline fixed targets.

The 27 member states of the EU had gone into the talks with a unified position and with a plan for financing emissions cuts in the developing world, with a commitment to spend around 7 billion euros ($10.01 billion) over the next three years to aid poorer countries.

Britain on Monday blamed China and a handful of other countries of holding the world to ransom by blocking a legally binding treaty at Copenhagen, stepping up a blame game that has gathered momentum since the talks ended.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the summit as "at best flawed and at worst chaotic" and demanded an urgent reform of the process to try to reach a legal treaty when talks are expected to resume in Germany next June.

But Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard, who quit as president of the Copenhagen talks midway through after being criticized by African countries for favoring wealthier nations in negotiations, said it was no time to get depressed about the process of tackling climate change.

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