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India,US accept ‘Copenhagen Accord’; EU,others still unsure

Climate change conference in Copenhagen has produced a political accord that was weak and vague,devoid of the most basic targets,and,most importantly,unsure of being accepted by everyone.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Copenhagen |
December 19, 2009 11:29:36 am

After two-weeks of almost never-ending disagreements,the climate change conference in Copenhagen has produced a political accord that was weak and vague,devoid of the most basic targets,and,most importantly,unsure of being accepted by everyone.

The Copenhagen Accord,as it has been called,was thrashed out in a closed door meeting involving the United States and the four major developing economies – India,China,Brazil and South Africa — that go together in the name of BASIC group. China and the United States are the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases. The heads of states of these countries,as also many others,had to delay their departures from Copenhagen as a deal agreeable to all remained elusive even on the last day of the conference.

The other countries were not involved in finalizing the accord,and because of this there is a real danger that many countries might refuse to accept it. India,whose Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was part of the closed door meeting,said it would sign on the accord.

The accord,as of now,is only a draft and has to be adopted by consensus by the 193 members of the UNFCCC to come into effect. If adopted,it will form the mandate to continue the negotiating process into next year and finalise a legally-binding international treaty — something that was originally planned to happen in Copenhagen itself.

Several countries,including the European Union which too was surprisingly left out of the consultation process,have already expressed their disappointment with the accord,mainly because it is a completely sterile document.

“This is what we have feared all along… that a deal will be super-imposed by the United States with the help of the Danish hosts on all the countries,” said Sudanese leader Lumumba Di-Aping,speaking on behalf of the African countries.

There are no references in the accord to any targets for emission reductions by the rich countries,not even a range. The only goals outlined in the accord are the desire to keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degree Celsius and support for a US$ 30 billion fund over the next three years for the developing countries. It also includes aims to create medium-term financial mechanism that will be able to provide US$100 billion dollars every year to the developing countries from the year 2020.

Even US President Barack Obama,the chief architect of the deal,admitted that the actual outcome was a poor comparison to what was expected from Copenhagen.

“The progress is not enough. We have come a long way,but we have much further to go,” he said.

Central to the deal is the inclusion of a commitment from the BASIC countries,all of which are rapidly growing emitters,to allow “international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines” of their voluntary national actions.

The US has been extremely keen to introduce some sort of international verification mechanism for the domestic actions of the developing countries,something that India and China have been strongly resisting.

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