Two years of planning, two weeks of negotiating, and all we get is a worse-than-nothing deal slapped together in the last two hours.
The UN climate summit has just reached its anti-climactic close. The details of the deal reached here in Copenhagen are still being hammered out by ministers, but Heads of State are already on their way home, their photo opps and press conferences over. Even by their own admission, they have struck a deal that will not do what's necessary to stop global warming. I'm not sure that qualifies as even a half-measure. Also not really sure what else I care to say right now other than that.
But Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo, has plenty to say:
Not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding. The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.
The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through.
We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis.
During the year a number developing countries showed a willingness to accept their share of the burden to avert climate chaos. But in the end, the blame for failure mostly lies with the rich industrialized world, countries which have the largest historic responsibility for causing the problem. In particular, the US failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down.
Climate science says we have only a few years left to halt the rise in emissions before making the kind of rapid reductions that would give us the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. We cannot change that science, so instead we will have to change the politics — and we may well have to change the politicians.
This is not over, people everywhere demanded a real deal before the Summit began and they are still demanding it. We can still save hundreds of millions of people from the devastation of a warming world, but it has just become a whole lot harder.
Civil society, the bulk of which was locked out of the final days of this Climate Summit, now needs to redouble its efforts. Each and every one of us must hold our leaders to account. 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 room and onto the high streets. We can either work for a fundamental change in our society or we can suffer the consequences of one.