Possible Copenhagen Agreement Announced
by Terry Hurlbu
After a day of raucous protest and often violent and apparently indiscriminate police reponse, the delegations of thirty of the 192 participants in the Fifteenth Conference of Parties produced a draft political agreement, with explicit plans to transform this into a treaty within six months. However, recent reports suggest that this agreement, when presented to most of the other delegates, did not pass muster.
The announcement of a draft agreement came in the early hours of Friday morning (Central European Time), as first reported by Agence France-Presse, as quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia). The agreement specifically mentioned a plan for an annual climate-change mitigation fund, similar to that mentioned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday. Further details were sketchy, but the AFP quoted an anonymous participant as saying that the agreement might “call for preventing global temperatures from going up more than 2.0 degrees Celsius [2.0 Kelvins] compared to pre-industrial times.”
However, within hours of the presentation of this agreement to the delegates, several G-77 delegations stated that the limitations proposed on their own emissions were too great. Furthermore, the Chinese delegation does not appear to have abandoned their stance on a pledge to reduce “emissions intensity,” a calculation that would still allow them to increase emissions overall.
Yesterday another anonymous source had suggested that the Chinese delegation had predicted that “a short political declaration of some sort” would be the ultimate result of the conference. This draft agreement would fit that description. The Chinese delegation did participate in the all-night session.
Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley had predicted, a month before, that some sort of eleventh-hour agreement would be reached. Yesterday he filed this report on the Science and Public Policy Institute blog, criticizing the often brutal and indiscriminately violent police response to the protests that took place outside the meeting. The viscount reported that the UN had abruptly decided to exclude all but a relative handful of the 20,000 accredited observers from the conference. Worse yet, when he showed up, not having been notified that he (and thousands of others) had been barred from the conference, a Danish police officer twice grabbed him, and then, as he turned away, the officer shoved him from behind and sent him sprawling. He was treated at the scene for minor cuts and bruises.
Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK) was briefly on hand in Copenhagen to remind eveeryone concerned that the United States Senate would never pass any sort of cap-and-trade regime, nor any treaty. Treaties to which the United States is a party require the concurrence of two-thirds of the full membership of the United States Senate.
President Barack Obama arrived in Copenhagen today to make his own efforts to produce an agreement. He spoke of transparency and information-sharing among nations, an apparent reference to China’s refusal to allow international monitoring of its carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions. Speaking apparently of the draft agreement, he said:
There are those developing countries that want aid with no strings attached, and who think that the most advanced nations should pay a higher price. And, there are those advanced nations who think that developing countries cannot absorb this assistance, or that the world’s fastest-growing emitters should bear a greater share of the burden. But here is the bottom line: we can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward, and continue to refine it and build upon its foundation.
Fox News commentators Major Garrett and William La Jeunesse summed up by suggesting that the President was frustrated at the lack of progress and the dim prospects for any sort of binding agreement.