Copenhagen Climate Treaty on Death-Watch

Kevin Grandia

Managing editor,

Posted: November 5, 2009 10:53 AM

Copenhagen Climate Treaty on Death-Watch

Is the Copenhagen climate change treaty dead? I’m not willing to say that yet, but it’s pretty depressing here at the last pre-negotiation session underway in Barcelona.

Case in point: the head of the UN climate treaty process Yvo de Boer is now saying that, "It is physically impossible under any scenario to complete every detail of a treaty in Copenhagen."

To say it is physically impossible is completely ridiculous when you consider that this round of negotiations has now been underway for the better part of two years.

What is lacking is not the "physical" ability to get this done. There’s hundreds of lawyers and climate change experts here at the Barcelona talks that know what needs to happen. What is lacking is the political will to get this deal done.

After waffling all week, it looks like the US negotiators have given up. Todd Stern, one of the top US negotiators here in Barcelona said, "It doesn’t look like it’s on the cards for December. We should make progress towards a political agreement that hits each of the main elements."

The Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Reuters that a legally binding deal is not on the table anymore and he is instead committed to working towards a "politically binding" one: "it is a challenge for every single industrialised country in the world to deal with the climate change issue and that’s why we are working very strongly to reach a politically binding agreement in Copenhagen…"

Politically binding? Since when do we trust promises made by politicians?

Now we have President Obama is saying that we all need to "redouble our efforts … to ensure that we create a framework for progress" in Copenhagen. A "framework for progress" is not why all these people are here in Barcelona and that was never the expectation for what would be the end result in Copenhagen.

The mainstream media headlines aren’t making things any better:

Hopes fading for Copenhagen climate change treaty, says Ed Miliband

Hopes fading for Copenhagen climate change treaty, says Ed Miliband

Climate change talks on knife-edge

In my humble opinion, our elected leaders who all stood up and said all the right things to convince us they were committed to dealing with the climate crisis are failing us. There’s nothing left to do here in Barcelona other than grab a nice bottle of Rioja and a plate of paella.

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~ by Cory Morningstar on November 5, 2009.

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