Copenhagen’s Fiasco: If Leaders Don’t Lead, The People Will


This is the latest draft of the so called “Copenhagen Accord”, a shameful absolutely non-binding agreement likely to go down in history as one of the biggest global failure of world leaders in tackling an unprecedented crisis. The accord is a toothless cop out which only “recognizes” the scientific case for keeping temperature rise to no more than 2 degree Celsius, but do not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.

The Obama administration immediately spun the deal as a “meaningful agreement”. The statement provoked the outrage of both representatives of poor developing countries and of environmental groups. The chief negotiator for the G77 group of 130 developing countries, Lunumba Di-Aping was quick to react and condemned the deal with strong language.

“This deal will definitely result in massive devastation in Africa and small island states. It has the lowest level of ambition you can imagine. It is nothing short of climate change scepticism in action. It locks countries into a cycle of poverty for ever. Obama has eliminated any difference between him and Bush,” said Lunumba Di-Aping.

For his part, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven, did not specifically singled out President Obama but blamed all of the leaders for their collective failure to reach a real deal.

“The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. There are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty. It is now evident that beating global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one on display here in Copenhagen,” said Greenpeace’s John Sauven.

Greenpeace put the accent on the fact that the Copenhagen accord is an empty deal “full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through”. The organization added that today’s biggest crisis is a lack of leadership, and mentioned that “the US failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down”.

“Civil society, the bulk of which was locked out of the final days of the climate summit, now needs to redouble its efforts. Each and everyone of us must hold our leaders accountable. We must take the struggle to avert climate catastrophe into every level of politics, local, regional, national and international. We also need to take it into the board rooms and onto the high streets,” said Greenpeace’s executive director Kumi Naidoo.

I am not quite sure what Mr. Naidoo means by “high streets,” but the climate change movement should definitely take onto the streets, worldwide, and in massive global protests for it to be fully heard. We cannot change the reality of the science which is saying that we have only a few years left to address climate change, so instead we will have to change the politics; and in order to do that, we may have to change the politicians.


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