COP15: the Cop-out

“it is now evident that global warming will require a radically different model of politics than the one on display here in Copenhagen.” John Sauven, Greenpeace Director
The smoke(or is it tear gas) is clearing and the mirrors are being taken down from the Bella Centre at Copenhagen. The stories in the press tell us of politicians ‘scurrying off to their jets’ and NGO representatives in tears after the Climate Change talks resulted in little more than a ‘hat tip’ to climate change yesterday……. and the blame…well it is being placed squarely at the feet of the wealthy nations.

Thousands of delegates, with developed countries disproportionately represented and a week of negotiations have left us with no commitments to cuts in CO2; only woefully insufficient repackaged tied aid(which should be called compensation) and there are no legally binding targets. Once again the USA the biggest per capita polluter walked out scot free from any legally binding commitment (it shamefully never signed up to the first Kyoto either). The silencing of descent using extremely underhanded tactics both inside and outside the talks were clearly evident from the leaked memos early on, to the shocking footage of hundreds of protestors sat on the roads around the Conference, handcuffed in minus temperatures. And Gordon Browns response to all this? Well it’s typically him, believing that ‘we have made a start’ is an acceptable response to the outcome; this despite it being 15 years after Kyoto initiated the first wave of takes on collective action to tackle rising emissions! It as if they dont know or care that by delaying action, they are condemning millions of the world’s most vulnerable people on the frontline to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates at rates startling most credible scientists.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-aping, head of the G77 China Team said: “Gross violations have been committed today against the poor, against tradition of transparency and participation on equal footing by all nations and parties to the convention and against common sense because the architecture of this deal is extraordinarily flawed”.


The only small comfort – if you can call it that – is that it will be less spin to fight through when campaigning on climate change issues. The Great Greenwash Extraveganza that COP15 started out as, has become a victim of its own hype and we have been left with no unrealistic targets designed around carbon markets(aka accounting tricks). None of this will provide much comfort to the countries on the frontline, the small island nations but I doubt they will be too surprised. How could a system which has only increased global inequality ever provide the answer to tackling climate change?

That said, despite my deep cynicism about the entire process from the beginning, l cant help but feel disappointed, another chance at collective action, lost to short term profit……….

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