The Copenhagen Accord, which President Barack Obama said was a step forward and not legally binding, has been denounced by civil society and several international organizations.
The accord provides no legally binding framework to cut emissions of greenhouse gases nor does it provide firm commitments to provide funding for developing countries to help them cope with climate change.
The World Wildlife Fund’s Global Climate Initiative said the Copenhagen Accord draft mainly reproduced what leaders already promised before they arrived.
The leader of the Initiative, Kim Carstensen, said, “After years of negotiations we now have a declaration of will which does not bind anyone and therefore fails to guarantee a safer future for next generations.”
Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, stated the obvious: “Not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding. The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.”
“The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through,” said Naidoo.
“We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis.”
He blamed the rich industrialised world, countries which have the largest historic responsibility for causing the problem. In particular, he said it was the US that failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down.
“Civil society, the bulk of which was locked out of the final days of this Climate Summit, now needs to redouble its efforts. Each and every one of us must hold our leaders to account.
“We must take the struggle to avert climate catastrophe into every level of politics – local, regional, national and international. We must also take it into the board room and onto the high streets. We can either work for a fundamental change in our society or we can suffer the consequences of one,” Naidoo declared.
Christian Aid warned that the poor in the developing world will pay with their lives for the strong arm tactics and intransigence of rich countries which today led to a seriously flawed outcome of the conference.
The organization said that the statements that emerged from Obama after he attended the summit amounted to a shadow of what could and should have been achieved.
Senior climate change advocacy officer Nelson Muffuh said “rich countries resorted to strong arm tactics and intransigence to shirk their responsibilities. A statement of inadequate political intent is not the fair, ambitious and legally binding deal that is required. It represents a set back in the fight for climate justice, but the battle goes on.”
Mr Muffuh said the US, EU and other developed countries faced a moral imperative to restart the talks as soon as possible with a view to agreeing: At least 40 per cent cuts in carbon emissions by rich countries by 2020 from 1990 levels; At least $150billion in public finance from rich countries every year to help poor countries counter global warming. The money must be additional to aid.
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