Obama: Climate Deal is Imperfect
By Alec Rivera
Published: December 18, 2009
The Washington Post reports that President Obama, at the final days of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, has urged all 193 participation states to take action and reach an accord on a deal that he says is far from perfect. The deal which looks to be taking shape at the moment does not go nearly as far as many developed countries would prefer. The language in a proposal drafted by negotiators prior to President Obama’s arrival is not nearly as detailed as many governments would like.
The deal calls for “aggregate” cuts on emissions, which basically means that there will be two scales for determining country emissions cuts: the first (preferred by the European Commission) calls for cuts based on 1990 emissions levels, while the second (preferred by the United States, Japan, and other developed countries) has a 2005 baseline. President Obama has called upon all countries to set aggressive emissions cut targets, as the United States and many others have. He also has called for a legally binding agreement, without which any agreement at Copenhagen would be “empty words.”
When the plenary began, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon pleaded for world leaders to come to an agreement. “I implore you to seize this opportunity,” he said. “Now is the time for common sense, compromise and courage, political courage . . . the world is watching.”
Obama, in his own address, echoed the urgency. “As the world watches us, our ability to take collective action is in doubt right now, and it hangs in the balance,” he said. “That’s why I come here today, not to talk, but to act.”
Calling himself “frustrated,” Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva appeared to scold his fellow leaders for the disarray of the summit on its final day — a time when they should have been dotting crossing t’s and dotting i’s, rather than wrestling with key issues. He also vowed that Brazil, one of the world’s leading developing nations, would agree to contribute to financing to help poor countries deal with climate change.
“We did we face all these difficulties?” da Silva said. “because we did not take the care in advance to work with the responsibility needed.”
The proposed political statement calls for independent emissions monitoring, which falls far short of the international regime which the United States and many European countries wish to establish to monitor cuts. Opposition from the Chinese, however, makes anything more stringent unlikely.
Photo (via Wikipedia)