Historic opportunity to stop climate chaos squandered in Copenhagen

Press release - December 31, 2009
Copenhagen — Greenpeace strongly condemned the arrogance of the heads of state from the world's most powerful countries for presenting a "take it or leave" deal to the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Whilst en route to the airport they claimed the deal was done, it was not. All they left was chaos and confusion in their wake.
Working through the night negotiators struggled to understand the status of the so called "Copenhagen Accord" as the Copenhagen Climate Summit came to an inglorious, incoherent and fiercely disputed close.

Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, warned:
"The world is facing tragic crises of leadership. Rather than coming together to secure a future for hundreds of millions of people by agreeing an historic deal to avert climate chaos, leaders of the world's most powerful countries have betrayed future and current generations. Averting climate chaos has just gotten a whole lot harder."

The Copenhagen Accord is being hailed by some as a step forward. It is not. In fact it has not even been formally adopted by the Conference of the Parties (COP). It does not contain strong measures for emission reductions in developed countries. It is a major concession to climate polluting industries, especially in the fossil fuel sector which lobbied hard to undermine a deal and now has a license to continue to pollute.

There are a few plus points, however, it provides for the establishment of a new Climate Funding Mechanism and agrees on the need of large scale finance, up to 100 billion dollars a year, to allow developing countries to protect their forest, to put their economies on a low carbon pathway and to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Furthermore developing countries agreed to take both voluntary action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase those actions if financial support was provided by developed countries.

The conference did not agree a way forward to establish a legally binding agreement.

Although negotiations will continue next year, the loss of the "legally binding" objective made the Copenhagen Summit a huge missed opportunity. The world now has to resume the journey on the road from Bali to Mexico where a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement to avert catastrophic climate change must be adopted.

Contact information

  • Cindy Baxter +45 526-556-22 or +31 646 197 332