Arab News editorializes on the recently concluded Copenhagen Climate talks finding that all that was accomplished was to kick the ball down the road. It says that delegates seemed more than willing to simply sign an anodyne agreement and get out of Denmark, though what little that was achieved seems to have annoyed developing countries to no end.
AFTER 12 days of wrangling, the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen effectively ended with an agreement to agree at some later date. It, therefore, was not simply all the hot air generated in hours of often-furious argument that has damaged the climate change issue. The way in which realpolitik asserted itself to the detriment of the vast majority of the 192 countries that turned up to have their say, left many very unhappy delegates heading for home Saturday night.
In the end it all came down to US President Barack Obama. He flew in aboard Air Force One, lectured the summiteers about the need to reaching an agreement but offered no further concessions on behalf of a wary United States. Then he went into private conclave with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, which meeting was later extended to include three other key countries, India, Brazil and South Africa and within hours there emerged the Copenhagen Accord. A shell-shocked summit, less a few delegates who had already flown home in disgust, wearily endorsed the deal Saturday night and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the breakthrough.
But how real is a deal that has no reference to legally binding targets, plumps for a 2 degree Celsius limit when many countries claimed 1.5 degrees was the maximum that should be allowed, promises $100 billion a year to developing countries without saying who is going to pay these immense sums, fails to agree on any firm monitoring process and gives no firm framework on the much-touted carbon-trading markets?
The editorial points out that the science of global warming was pushed to the background in favor of the politics of global warming. It notes that support for major actions to combat it is plunging among Americans on the heels of the ‘Climategate’ reports. The Rasmussen polling organization finds that American attitudes are shifting significantly, with 50% now believing that global warming is the result of ‘long term planetary trends’. If that is the case, then there’s nothing much a treaty is going to do to stop it; massive restructuring of economies around the world won’t either.
A Wall St. Journal blog reports that the OPEC countries, led by Saudi Arabia, had raised a ruckus before the conference on the issue of being made whole for any losses to income that resulted from political decisions which would harm their economies. As it turned out, OPEC was largely silent because nothing from the conference ended up in the least threatening.