COP15: Copenhagen Fails, Next Stop Mexico
Talks have broken down in Copenhagen at the United Nations Climate Change Conference as China has said that it will not back an operational agreement outlining long-term carbon and green house gas targets. The breakdown comes ahead of President Obama’s arrival in Copenhagen tomorrow.
Politico, citing a Reuters report, writes that China’s climate negotiators have told Western counterparts they can’t agree on an “operational agreement” on climate change. Instead, in a bid to save face, China, which since the start of the conference has been the de facto spokesperson for the G77 group of developing nations, is now proposing a noncommittal collective statement to fight climate change with no binding agreement.
This is a serious setback for the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, who had hoped to bring back some sort of agreement from Copenhagen to pass a climate change and energy bill.
Britain’s energy and climate minister, Ed Miliband, said failure to reach a substantive agreement in Copenhagen could turn the two-week long conference into a “farce”. ”We may not get there on the substance. It is quite possible we’ll fail on the substance. But at least let’s give it a try,” he said.
After Copenhagen, the next U.N. climate change conference is set to convene in Mexico City next November.
Is this a negotiation ploy by Chinese climate change negotiators? Underscoring the paralysis in Copenhagen Todd Stern, the lead U.S. climate change negotiator, told Politico that his team had not held talks with their Chinese counterparts for a whole day.
While the mood in Copenhagen is gloomy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ahead of President Obama’s Friday arrival, said the U.S. would commit an unspecified amount to a $100 billion “green fund” to help poor nations adapt to climate change. This is the first time the Obama administration has made a commitment to a medium-term financing effort. Last week, European Union countries offered €2.4 billion ($3.51 billion) a year for the next three years for developing countries.
Developing countries say they will need $100 to $200 billion a year by 2020 to fight climate change.