Well, we have all read the papers, seen the TV and the press reviews; it’s now time to reflect fully on what was achieved or otherwise at Copenhagen. There is some good news, although precious little; we do have a global agreement on an overall limit of two degrees Centigrade warming but – and it’s a big but – the accord is not a legally binding agreement. As Gordon Brown said at the conclusion of the conference, the UK will need to lead an international push to reach a treaty as soon as possible in 2010, but don’t hold your breath for an early resolution.
In addition the developed world has agreed to provide $30 billion of immediate short term funding over the next 3 years, although the track record of developed countries in terms of payment to the developing world - think ‘Make Poverty History’, ‘Millennium Goals’ – is not good so it will be interesting to see when this funding is actually forthcoming. Probably more important than the short term is the longer term financing promised of around $100 billion a year by 2020 which was incidentally the figure that Gordon Brown was talking about 18 months ago at Gleneagles. So, so much for the good news, but regardless it was hardly a fantastic advert for how to develop international agreements was it? With tantrums, walk-outs, and accusations of replicating the Holocaust it was a fairly unedifying spectacle and that’s if you were one of the lucky ones to actually witness the conference inside the hall, as 45,000 – yes, 45,000 people – attempted to get into a conference centre that provided for 15,000. I won’t even speculate about the carbon footprint! It’s true that in a democratic process you have to make provision for all comers, but I do believe that two weeks spent like this trying to push together 190 odd countries into one single agreement can’t be the best way of doing things. And then finally we saw the emerging struggle, not between Europe and the New World, not even between the developing and the developed World, but between the superpower that is (USA)and the superpower that would be (China) with the fall-out from those disagreements likely to rumble on long after Copenhagen. Sorry to end on a depressing note just before signing off for this year. Let's hope that 2010 sees the delivery of an agreement that will unite the World together in the fight against climate change.
Ironically, there’s little sign of global warming where I am currently, it’s looking remarkably like a version of Scandinavia as we speak. White and cold.
Anyway, I hope that you and your family have a wonderful break. I'll speak to you again in the New Year.