REMEMBERING THE FAILURE OF COPENHAGEN 2009: SCHISM ON GLOBAL CLIMATE SUMMIT

COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 9 Jan 2010

Raïs Neza Boneza

When there are still some people who see climate change as another kind of conspiracy or a natural process, but overwhelmingly the emergency of an appropriate response is well recognized. The search for a unilateral solution to the equation faded on both side of the most powerful and weak actors; living the real issues binding at the 2009 summit in Copenhagen. The hidden yet seen interest of actors combine with the complexity of the international system made the dialogue almost impossible therefore exposing the deep division between countries and regional blocs. The so called final “agreement” is considered by some as a statement of intent and by other parties as en simple draft recognizing the issues without tackling them.  

The real gap here was between the rich and so called under-developed or poor countries. The first groups have become industrialized with not environmental restriction at the expenses of the rest of the world. As today, sustainable development can’t be achieved without severe consequences if done without restriction and on the expenses of others; developing countries such in Africa demands equally the necessary financial resources to achieve sustainability. However, traditionally rich countries dictate the rules of the game globally through their tentacles of bodies such the World Bank, IMF, G8 etc… but as proved last years at the Copenhagen  summit on climate change less developed countries  have manage to escape from the smothering net of the rich countries. In fact the Copenhagen Agreement was drafted primary in “close-doors” by thirty countries led by President Barack Obama forgetting the vast majority and interests of small states.

Another division in Copenhagen is the one between the countries less and more affected by climate change. The island states like Tuvalu have been more active than some large nations. If the effects of climate change were the same in all corners of the earth, the Copenhagen World Summit may have led to a definitive and clear agreement. The U.S. offered 3.6 billion U.S Dollar financial aids to the most vulnerable countries by 2012. This offer did not convince everyone since this promise did not emulate from a formal process of the summit. Therefore the view on climate issues are not felt the same way everywhere, because the need to act effectively is not shared by all. Thus, some players prefer to play on the time factor to lure the countries such the island of Tuvalu whose existence is threatened.

Market against environmental issues

Many economical actors still consider the protection of the environment as a hindering factor for economical growth. This fact applies in both rich emerging and poor countries were the capital market makes a few rich on the expense of the majority and bio-diversity. For these reason no targets to reduce the CO2 were fixed in Copenhagen. The document calls only to reducing by 2 degrees Celsius the temperature by 2050 and limit global warming. This duality between the global economy and the environment is one the reason for the failure of the Copenhagen Summit on environment. There is no hope to get a definitive and concrete resolution on climate change as long as this duality is not well and deeply addressed.

Weak organization

The president in exercise, the Danish premier Løkke Rasmussen created confusion while attempting unsuccessfully to ignore the clamoring voice of the developing world as the summit was ending. It was not therefore clearer who led the summit. The United Nation general secretary failed to use his influence to better manage the “pourparler”.  At the end of this summit, one wonders who were the negotiators and delegates for the two years and the last two weeks.

China – America role game

In the U.S., the summit in Copenhagen was less debated unlike the rest of the world, in the exception of the state of California which is more environmentally conscious than the rest of the state. U.S. and china in general have more worries on economical and market growth than climate change. Their refusal to agree on CO2 reduction and they are the cause for the failure to create a World Organization which role could have been to monitor the implementation resolution taken to save this planet.

I conclusion, until the next conference in five months in Bonn, Germany and the great conference in Mexico next winter, each actors should work and act locally, policy makers must work to overcome their selfishness and finally industrialized countries should understand that the protection of the environment is a common duty for everyone on this planet, its matters for every people in the world; therefore they can’t dictate only their views to countries in “third world” and everywhere else as it was or is often the case in other issues.

Should each actor to act locally, policy-makers to overcome their selfishness and finally to the industrialized countries to solve the evidence that environmental protection matters, they cannot dictate to countries in developing as was often the case in other contexts.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 9 Jan 2010.

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