Copenhagen Climate Summit comes to chaotic end: Historic opportunity to avert climate chaos squandered in Copenhagen

Press release - 19 December, 2009
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 socalled ‘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 isfacing tragic crises of leadership. Rather than coming together to secure afuture 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 adaptto the impacts of climate change.

Furthermore developing countries agreed to take both voluntary action to reduce greenhousegas emissions and to increase those actions if financial support was providedby 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 theroad from Bali to Mexico where a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement to avert catastrophic climate change must be adopted.

Other contacts: Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International communications +31 62 129 6918