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Europe snubbed in Copenhagen?

Gavin Hewitt | 12:20 UK time, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

World leaders negotiating in Copenhagen, 18 Dec 09Imagine if you believe you have had the smart ideas, that you have set the agenda, that you are leading by example, that you are defining the future and at the defining moment, when all your hard work should bear fruit, the door is shut in your face. You think it is almost your party but you are stopped at the rope line.

Others who you never imagined were even players are being waved into the inner sanctum. A deal is being done and you are not invited.

Some say this was Europe's fate in Copenhagen. To be "snubbed", "bypassed", "sidelined". All those words have been used.

In the final hours of a chaotic and exhausting meeting a two-and-a-half page accord is drawn up. The United States is there. So too China. They are the big two and the chief carbon emitters. Also present: Brazil, India and South Africa. Powerful emerging nations and a new world order.

As for Europe, the world's biggest trading bloc - they get a text message.

The Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, current holder of the EU presidency, learns about the accord on his mobile phone. He is still negotiating, but the real business has been done elsewhere. He senses that President Obama had been desperate to wrap the summit up and muses whether it was because "there was a snowstorm coming" towards Washington.

Some European leaders felt they ended up as the rubber-stampers of the accord and not its architects.

There is an element of caricature here. Some of Europe's leaders were very active in Copenhagen. Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy worked tirelessly to get a deal and the British prime minister has scarcely been able to hide his frustration at the summit's chaos. Certainly British officials had influence on the final outcome but, even so, the sense of being on the outside remains.

Spool back to some recent European Council meetings. At the last one, while Copenhagen was in session, I remember being told that the new money that Europe had pledged to help developing nations in the short term (before 2012) would lead to a breakthrough. It would demonstrate that the rich world would pay to reduce the global impact of climate change. This was a "show the money" moment. I was told that Europe's offer would persuade the poorer countries that down the road many more billions would come their way. Gordon Brown was bullish. Europe and the UK was leading by example, he believed.

Then go back further to another council. European leaders believed they were setting an example by agreeing that by 2020 the developing world would need 100bn euros to adapt to climate change. Early on they had committed the EU to cutting emissions by 20% by 2020. If others joined in it would move to 30%. The message was that on climate change Europe was leading the world.

Here are more questions than answers. Did Europe misjudge its influence? In Copenhagen should it have made a larger offer to cut emissions, to create momentum? Would it have made a difference? Was Europe's hand weakened because it was masking deep divisions among its nation states? Why does the EU not have the stronger voice it so obviously craves?

Occasionally a still photograph gives an insight that moving pictures do not. It happened in Copenhagen. It is a group picture. To the right is Barack Obama. To his left is Gordon Brown, bent over a piece of paper. He appears to be amending a text. To Obama's left is Sarkozy. Across from them is Chancellor Merkel. To her side is Jose Manuel Barroso. Fredrik Reinfeldt is there too. The meeting appears informal and spontaneous. What struck me was that these were Europe's power-players. As always the big three were there: Germany, France and the UK. Sitting alongside was the President of the Commission and the leader of the country that holds the rotating presidency. Now it may be too soon after the Lisbon Treaty was signed to expect to see any difference. But this question will be returned to time and again in 2010. Will Europe's new "big names," Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton, be in the frame or will Europe's big beasts continue as the face of Europe?

Europe is disappointed at the outcome of the summit in Copenhagen. Some believe, however, that it is a step along the road to a binding global agreement. Attention moves to a meeting in Bonn in the late spring. How will Europe approach this? How will it settle its differences and how will it ensure it remains at the table when the deal is done? It will be another test for Europe's ambitions.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:57pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Not surprised at the absence of Von Rompuy as he was supposed to be an internal middle/chairman type. Ashton is more of surprise as I would have expected her to try something (anything!) to raise her profile and convince us she is not a waste of space (and large salary). Perhaps she could have brought all the real players tea and biscuits?

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  • 2. At 1:04pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Just a thought...but as Europe is sadly due to pay for up to half of this farce, someone should have reminded the Obamessiah about that phrase involving pipers and calling the tune.

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  • 3. At 1:20pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    It's a good picture because it conveys an emotion; tedium. Obama has his eyes shut. Reinfeldt is propping himself up with one eye on Merkel's shoulder, perhaps thinking it a convenient place to rest his weary head. Merkel is droning on to the only one who is paying attention; Sarkozy’s interpreter. Brown is out of focus and amusing himself.

    We need incentives and practical alternatives that will encourage real people to turn off their light bulbs and leave the gas guzzler at home. Which recognise this problem was made in the developed world and so cannot be solved by large-scale transfers of money to the developing world. Which encourages each of us to clean up our own neighbourhood and make the world cleaner by encouraging everyone else to do the same because it is in their own interest, and not because they are locked into 'legally binding' commitments against their better judgment. I have the feeling that climate change is going to be solved by new technology and the private sector with one eye on the fossil fuels running out, and not by the soporific individuals in this picture who seem incapable of conceiving of any problem to which more legislation and public money is not the answer.

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  • 4. At 1:41pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Van Rompuy won't be calling the shots. He might be present but not calling the shots. Those with the money will be those attending. The EU's yearly budget is merely what has been promised to poor nations to fight climate-change related problems. With the Lisbon Treaty the confusion is even greater. I thought the 6month rotating presidency had changed with Lisbon. Now I understand that it keeps going. The only thing that changes is that Van Rompuy will now chair the meetings. Does this mean that in the next picture when there is a US-EU meeting Obama will have to deal with

    EU3 (Uk, France, Germany) +
    Commission President +
    Rotating country head of government +
    Van Rompuy +
    perhaps Ashton?

    No wonder Europe is being sidelined. It is lost in utter confusion about who represents whom.

    If I was Obama I wouldn't even bother meeting with them. Just like he snobbed the Norwegian King its time to snob us Europeans. Maybe that will teach us a lesson.

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  • 5. At 1:49pm on 22 Dec 2009, ahershko wrote:

    To add on what Freeman said above: Europe is treated like this because it lets itself be treated like this.

    It's the world's biggest economy, will pay for a huge percentage of this deal, is leading in the struggle against climate change, and yet when the US just brushed it aside in this conference it (Europe) didn't shout in outrage. In fact, I don't think anyone in Europe even whispered a rebuke at Obama.

    When you let yourself be treated like this, you have only yourself to blame. When Europe will take itself seriously, so will others.

    And by the way, to take yourself seriously also means sending a leader (yes, singular) to discussions with the US, China, etc.

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  • 6. At 1:50pm on 22 Dec 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Why would anyone even consider trusting or indeed listening to this bunch of self important pillocks masquerading as Europe's leaders. No one trusts them , and certainly no one is going to take a great deal of notice of their questionable view of global warming and or it's causes. Do they really imagine that the public believe that their concern for the planet is any more than an excuse for extra tax raising powers or failure to deliver services ? Does anyone really believe, including our politicians, the wild claims and demands from the "third world"? They too are playing the game of pocket lining at the expense of the west's taxpayers. Nothing, I suspect will make any appreciable difference to the changes occurring in the world's climate, and for certain no half boiled agreement of a theoretical holding of temperature rise to 2 degrees will make any impact. If changing the climate was that simple, it would be a fait accomplis, not a silly accord agreed at an ego fest in Copenhagen.

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  • 7. At 1:58pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

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  • 8. At 2:13pm on 22 Dec 2009, ahershko wrote:

    Freeborn John - The UK isn't significant enough by itself (when compared to the US, China, etc). None of the nations of Europe are when standing alone. That's just a fact of life.

    So if you want *someone* to represent you at the world's top table, we need to come together. That's the basic federalist argument, in a nutshell, and you know what - this conference, yet again, proved it.

    A powerful, elected European president would represent the UK just like the prime minister represents Birmingham (despite being elected by a much larger electorate than just Birmingham).

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  • 9. At 2:15pm on 22 Dec 2009, ahershko wrote:

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  • 10. At 2:41pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

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  • 11. At 2:50pm on 22 Dec 2009, Greg wrote:

    This summit is just a rouse for Obama to funnel billions to the leaders of corrupt African nations.

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  • 12. At 2:52pm on 22 Dec 2009, Jim wrote:

    Europe doesn't have much bargaining power, because it has shown that it will limit its emissions either way. Besides, the European Union maltreats foreign companies, while its individual leaders sing a siren song. Individual countries bargain to limit military and political co-operation around the world, while undertaking unilateral actions abroad when it suits them. Indeed, these are the headaches of confederation, but large populous countries often find it too much of a hassle to engage Europe and its many small units.

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  • 13. At 3:17pm on 22 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

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  • 14. At 3:21pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

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  • 15. At 3:24pm on 22 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    There presist this notion that people need permission from others to adopt their own plans. The EU should proceed and move forward simply because it is the right thing to do. If others want to join in that is good but if not they will have the problems they sew for themselves. The real question is about the change from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels. That is the future for economies as well as energy. If an improved encomy is a goal that can be obtained by the adoption and implementation of new fuel sources. Coal and oil and the poltiical system that only responds to the wishes of the people when it has no other choice will need to be addressed. The realities of national politics is that they have become corrupt and that the interest of wealth greatly outweight the interest of a nation or the people. Until that changes everything else doesn't matter.

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  • 16. At 3:30pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Freeborn John,

    I disagree with your statement from comment #10.

    First, the UK is NOT the 5th largest economy anymore. In fact, it is now only the fourth in the EU, after Germany, France and Italy. This is the consequence of the pound dropping 30% and your overreliance on financial services.

    Either way, you're still top ten in the world. However, this will change very soon and this is where you seem to stop thinking.

    You are stuck in time. In fact, you are stuck in the 19th century. The UK is a small nation that enjoys a disproportionate level of influence due to its early industrialization (as do other European countries). None of Europe's countries will be much relevant in this century if they don't unite their forces and tackle issues of common interest, such as the economy, environment and security. This can only be done through enhanced cooperation. How do you achieve enhanced cooperation? You create an international/supranational body that deals with such issues and will create rules that benefit the people. This body already exists. It is called the European Union. We made it. For us. Without it, we will be lost in oblivion.

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  • 17. At 3:38pm on 22 Dec 2009, Dempster wrote:

    Europe snubbed in Copenhagen?

    Possibly

    Tax payer snubbed at Copenhagen?

    Definitely.

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  • 18. At 3:42pm on 22 Dec 2009, minuend wrote:

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  • 22. At 5:43pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

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  • 23. At 5:48pm on 22 Dec 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Those that called for the UK to have a 'stronger voice' by being in the EU have been proven totally - and farcically - wrong.

    The EU was totally sidelined. Halleluja!

    In fact, Tuvalu (population: 11,992) had more of an impact on the proceedings of this taxpayer-funded circus.

    As for our superannuated Super-Duper-High-Representative Baroness Cathy Ashton: Can anyone confirm whether or not she was even present at this fiasco?

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  • 24. At 5:49pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

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  • 25. At 5:58pm on 22 Dec 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Being wholly 'anti' UK/England Membership of the EU I should gloat at Mr Hewitt's assessment headline, 'Europe Snubbed in Copenhagen?'

    However, such a sentiment would be misplaced if even only the gist of Hewitt's opinion of what happened to the Europeans as a whole is actually the case.

    It seems clear from all the post-conference rhetoric the USA and China cobbled together a form of wording to cover their collective ostrich-head-in-ground absurdity concerning Climate Change! A truly dire situation for the World: Let's face it, India, Brazil, South Africa were just there to make up the numbers and publicly appear to endorse an unseemly and artificial deal. All 3 Nations' Governments are busily trumpeting how they sat in with Obama etc. and made heap big pow-wow...

    Yeah right!

    Nevertheless, yet again, the uncomfortable truth for the EU in particular is that it is about as effective internationally as a blind man looking for the bull at a darts match: No use at all.
    No matter how Paris-Berlin-Brussels seek to put a gloss on the Copenhagen negotiations for all the EU's much vaunted 'stength through numbers', 'collective voice', 'unity is power' etc. this is the 3rd Global-International crisis at which it has failed utterly to make any impression: The other 2 being World Economic Slump and the Banking debacle.

    I know EU supporters will line-up to say 'well, if they ignored the EU how much worse would it have been for the UK/England etc?' in isolation: And, they are right, but the fact is the European Union fared no better than a UK/England acting independently at Copenhagen.

    This must be a truly worrying moment for the Federal EU enthusiasts; despite Msr Barroso, IMO making substantive and entirely laudable proposals at the EU and for most of them backed by London-Paris-Berlin, he was largely forgotten the moment the 'big' beasts arrived on the scene and announced the real agenda for Copenhagen was whatever was in the combined interests of China-USA.

    Coming so soon after the EU's triumphant ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the successful 'new' EU appointments the shattering psychological realpolitik of Copenhagen must have dealt a humiliating blow to Brussels: Does anyone know if Baroness Ashton or Msr von Rompuy have actually been given anything to do exscept hold the coats of the National representatives?
    For 27 Member Nations of a supposed unified political-economic-judicial club representing 490 million Citizens to secure nothing whatsoever of substance from 3 weeks is enough trauma in itself for Brussels. For that rejection to be compounded, magnified and made worse by a public metaphorical roasting of EU chestnuts in the last 48 hours by literally 2 men, is surely further revelation of the inadequacy and illusion of le design grande!?

    Climate issues will no doubt get worse as Copenhagen's results unfold into almost nothing of feasible effect.
    The EU's failure to be recognised will be revisited many times in the next couple of years and if there is any similar overwhelming snub delivered then surely the unification of continental and British Isles Europe becomes as unfeasible as Copenhagen's spurious eco-deal.

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  • 26. At 6:12pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW

    I partly kind of agree with your comment. However, do you think we (Europeans) could have had a bigger impact if we had sent ONE single person or would you have preferred there not even being any EU representatives (Barroso, Swedish Presidency)?

    Please explain your answer.

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  • 27. At 6:37pm on 22 Dec 2009, mike wrote:

    Why was Europe not included in the negotiations? Well, as an American, it seems to me that EU policies will have relatively little to do with reducing future carbon emissions. China and India are developing at a breakneck pace and are clearly the future source of most emissions. The US has much higher per capita emissions then the EU, plus a large portion of China's emissions service our consumer market for junk... Even if the entire EU adopts the most advance and restrictive technologies, their possible contribution to reducing carbon emissions is just not significant..

    Europe wasn't there because Europe isn't really important to a global solution for reducing carbon emissions.

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  • 28. At 7:11pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Mike, you're saying that Europe "wasn't there" because we are already much more efficient than others. Shouldn't we have been there especially BECAUSE of that? After all, it was in Copenhagen.

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  • 29. At 7:36pm on 22 Dec 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @28,

    The EU (not 'Europe') was irrelevant to the proceedings because:

    a) it has already signed up to the AGW religion; and

    b) it is needed only as a cash cow. If and when the time comes for this lunacy to be paid for (i.e. the transfer of money from hardworking taxpayers in rich countries to corrupt and rich people in poor countries) then the EU taxpayer will pick up the tab.

    As for this circus being in Copenhagen: there really should have been a little boy to point out to the adoring masses that the Emperor was not wearing any clothes.

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  • 30. At 7:46pm on 22 Dec 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    My interpretation of the Copenhagen 'snub' to the EU is that it would have happened whether or not there was 1 representative speaking on behalf of the 27 or the multi-national mix that was actually there.

    The EU is not fully formed as many 'pro-EU' often remark, but even if it were there was no way it could have got 1 or a dozen representative's to effect the outcome of the conference. A fully fledged EU is going to always remain on the periphery of 'international debate' as it is of itself an unworkable entity. The other big powers know this to be the case though many pro-Brussels Europeans refuse to acknowledge it. They know 27 European Nations do not and will never all have the same/common interests in 'banking', 'industry', 'trade' and even 'climate'; therefore the EU cannot feasibly claim to represent 27 independent States.

    This lack of commonality of purpose and interest is the overall, glaring and insurmountable obstacle to European Union which Paris-Berlin-Brussels always try to deny: Sweden - Austria - Greece, or alternatively, Eire - Spain - Poland, and so on... it is just too fanciful to pretend the Citizens of these Nations are all in the same swimming pool and even absurd to suggest they are also all in the one lane of the pool each urgently trying to help the other onwards! Okay, say the 'pro-EU' think of it as a relay with Nations at either end cooperating in getting from start to finish of whatever project is underway!
    Well, say I, 'what about those late for the start, those half down the length of the pool and those really powerful swimmers who have completed their swim!?

    That is the European Union at Copenhagen; it is the EU at any key international event. There is no USA, or China or even South Africa with the very best swimmers having outdone the rest representing all of them in that pool and therefore cooperating to get the right result for their team. Neither will there ever be an EU President the equivalent of Obama or an EU Foreign Minister the equivalent of Clinton - - the EU is based in Brussels but that is not a Washington or Beijing style Capital of the Nation with all the attendant power-bases and decisive policy-making units - - for how could 27 Nations vest such powers in 1 or 2 people without abandoning the very thing the EU claims as makes it different, the independent member States!?

    That Brussels fancies such a role (core leadership) is beyond doubt, but Paris-Berlin (and even London to some extent) only see Brussels in terms of what is in it for their 'common' interests and purposes; Brussels is not the centre of the 27 Nations it is the dispenser of what the power-brokers decide will be suitable on any and every aspect of membership. So it was in the past and clearly again at Copenhagen.

    Of course, if the truly ardent 'pro-EU' want to come clean and start admitting they really do want to make the 'Nation' a redundant image and entity, then fine by me: That way, the demise of the EU is hastened and its internal collapse even more certain. European Citizens have been told they are Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Maltese etc. and the EU that tries to tell them otherwise will not last a 12 month in the UK/England and under 24 months across mainland Europe.

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  • 31. At 7:59pm on 22 Dec 2009, mike wrote:

    Gheryando, that's exactly what I was saying.
    What does the EU have to bargain with?

    -Are you opposed to verification of emissions and reductions, as our media claims the Chinese have been?
    -Will the EU commit to not bring on line power plants using dirty coal?
    -Will the EU invest heavily in renewable energy sources?

    My understanding is that the EU already has embranced these things.

    What would the leaders of the EU nations have done during the US-China-India talks?!? Point fingers and praise themselves?



    28. At 7:11pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:
    Mike, you're saying that Europe "wasn't there" because we are already much more efficient than others. Shouldn't we have been there especially BECAUSE of that? After all, it was in Copenhagen.

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  • 32. At 8:30pm on 22 Dec 2009, nautonier wrote:

    There is an element of caricature here. Some of Europe's leaders were very active in Copenhagen. Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy worked tirelessly to get a deal and the British prime minister has scarcely been able to hide his frustration at the summit's chaos.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Brown made a very serious series of errors of judgement including talking about massive sums of money being paid by so called 'wealthy nations' as incentives for undeveloped nations to sign up to a deal.

    This backfired spectacularly in Brown's face as it raised the financial expectations of the poorer countries and frightened some of the wealthy countries from even participating - and left China somewhere in the middle - not willing to help anyone - including themselves.

    Incredibly naivety by Gordon 'Disaster' Brown and - Are you still sure that you can trust the Chinese Mr Brown?

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  • 33. At 8:37pm on 22 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    There was no need for the EU to be there, in fact there was no need for any of the 27 EU leaders to be there, they had already shown their cards it was up to the other players to come up with the goods. The EU should have taken it a step further or even now take it a step further and say that products from countries that do not match our carbon emissions will be taxed to their ears and the money collected given to the EU companies that have to buy carbon credits. End of story then let everyone else talk all they like and make as many agreements as they like. As for the poor countries getting hand outs I don't get it. They are the ones that will suffer more from global warming, if they can't see it is in their interest to reduce emissions then let them enjoy the effects, Europe will always be a cooler country than Africa.

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  • 34. At 8:43pm on 22 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

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  • 35. At 9:01pm on 22 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    also regarding the EU role, I think Gavin is trying to confuse me now. My understanding of the job descriptions are:

    EU President: European leaders elect an EU President to chair their 4 summits a year and set out the agenda ahead.

    So no role for him here!

    High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Will chair meetings of Foreign Affairs Ministers, oversee the multi-billion EU aid budget and run the proposed European External Action Service - a European diplomatic corps.

    So no role for her here either!

    The EU had already made its position clear and it spoke with one voice. The mistake it made was not to agree and attach penalties to its positions for nations that don't meet its expectation. I can't see the point of this meeting at all, other than having at a place in order to give it a name. I guess it also helps to collect all sort of lunatics at those meetings, from climate change deniers to green fanatics, to lobbyists, to anyone that wanted publicity.

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  • 36. At 9:14pm on 22 Dec 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The EU is a business association that pretends to be political. It would work much better if it were honest. The bankers and investors should meet and prepare recommendations for countries and submit them. If made public, everyone would know what they are asking for and could voice their own opinion. The EU provides a shield for business and what are clearly business deals are meshed through some corrupt politcal process to make it sound like it is the will of the people. This is all like a play put on by children where everyone pretends to suspend reality. Business and banking could do all this and pay for it themselves since they are the primary ones who benefit from this process. Does everyone still want to pretend that politicians are independent of bankers and big business, if so, you need to pretend that the governments didn't bail out the banks.

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  • 37. At 9:20pm on 22 Dec 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    I expect that Europe was left out of the accord not as an intentional "snub," but merely because the US president wanted to go home with some kind of agreement rather than nothing, however weak. This will help him get legislation he wants from Congress.

    Here is an analysis from The New York Times: NYT

    Senator Lugar's aide seems not to know what he's talking about, but that doesn't matter.

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  • 38. At 9:23pm on 22 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Thank you for the report, Mr Hewitt, and the many vital details.

    There are two maps of the human population of the world. The one we are most familiar with has the political borders marked out: we speak of "Europe", of "France", of "Brazil". Leaders affix their signatures to agreements that hold their political territory accountable for performing according to a certain code, and implicit in that is the belief that the population of Sovereign Nation XYZ will comply.

    But there is also another map, one harder to visualise. It emerges from the Copenhagen meetings as probably the most important one, certainly the one that holds the key.

    On this map, political borders are considerably less important than the geographic distribution -- the specific GPS mapping -- of actual committed human populations, according to their degree of engagement in attempts to mitigate climate change. According to this map, political affiliation, parties, even ideologies are far less specific -- and less significant to the outcome -- than the degree of engagement.

    "Europeans" becomes not just the citizens of the EU, but also perhaps all persons of European ancestry, wherever they might be -- in Brazil, in South Africa -- who identify with the view prevailing in Europe, even if they have neither voting rights, nor tax-paying obligations in that part of the world.

    Allied with these "Europeans" are all those humans of other ancestries whose direct experience compels them to plead & act for environmental sanity.

    Conversely, the anti-Copenhagen element in the EU might feel more comfortable with GOP apologists in the US, or even Chinese, Saudi or India-based commercial interests that resent any kind of tampering -- even in the name of health -- with the current industrial architecture, regardless of how flawed it has been shown to be.

    On this map, clearly, an unambiguous majority of people on the planet stand with the EU leaders, and commend them for their efforts. To the diplomats, it may be important who was humiliated by whom, and even how profoundly or how glancingly humiliated. But to the average global citizen who wants a cleaner environment, it is blatantly obviously who was the obstructionist at these meetings.

    The US-BASIC bloc made itself known. Now they get to face the music -- rather, the firestorm of opprobrium -- that their ridiculously ill-conceived actions naturally enough provoked.

    The EU leadership, including of course the newly-elected leaders, and others who will rise to the exigencies of the occasion, are far too intelligent not to take all the new data inputs -- including these new, latest, vital ones -- and apply them to a new strategy. That strategy will pretty rapidly unfold. Some of its key elements are already in place, even though they should not yet appear in any news reports, for all sorts of good reasons.

    The two groups -- pro-reform & anti-reform, let's call them -- are solidifying along their lines of commitment. There will be some leakage from the anti-reform side, as the slow thinkers come around. There will be no leakage from the pro-reform side, because the very nature of the devious tack taken by US-BASIC serves to reinforce the resolve of those who had hoped an agreement would be an obvious & easy thing.

    US-BASIC have chosen to isolate themselves. They will be at the receiving end of considerable criticism even from their own national populations.

    What is certainly to be regretted is that the COP15 organisers managed to stress the Chinese delegation with mishandled credentials. That was, indeed, a serious mistake -- and that it took several days to rectify inevitably put a dent in the reserves of good will that probably existed at the outset.

    Still, in the long run, I believe the US manipulated the Chinese skillfully.

    But the outcome is not in doubt. The EU did accomplish something extremely important: all together, we pushed the agenda forward by a significant amount, even by such a critical measure as Awareness per se of how difficult it will be to reform a deeply flawed international industrial system, as well as exaggerated lifestyle expectations. For how can anyone plan an approach without knowing the terrain it will apply to?

    The EU will not do less, it will continue to do more than other nations. In that regard, it retains actual leadership on this issue, and in this process. The engaged, committed & interested parties of that second map of human civilisation all know this. We will continue to push; we will continue to correct the strategy & improve upon the considerable leverage we all have -- in different ways -- to push back at the countries, and individual leaders or decision-makers, that don't care if we all die because of their intransigence.

    Whatever the human psychological dimension of the efforts & motivations of personalities that Copenhagen brought together for COP15, CREDIT certainly is due all those who made the effort -- and certainly to all those Heads of State & Heads of Government, whatever their views, who by their arrival and patient presence already proved just how important the matter is to them, and how determined they are to support intelligent action.

    In that very real sense, measurably, Copenhagen was indeed a success -- and a step up from anything done or said previously by G8, G20 or MEF gatherings. Additionally, I expect some results from Davos, coming up: meaningful results, fruitful discussions.

    We have effectively entered the implementation phase. All of it remains to be worked out, to be sure. But we are, in fact, there. And even if ultimately the Copenhagen Accord is just a very diluted, largely symbolic & possibly even diversionary move on the part of its engineers, it did represent a firm departure from prior positions being clung to by the worst offenders.

    In that sense, the EU leadership did indeed push the Big Smokers off the cliff of inaction, into the waters where they must now sink or swim -- and where they will require our help, in either case.

    It would indeed have been worse if there had been no consensus event of any kind, nothing even to "take note" of -- and I do agree that the document as is only merited that Taking Note. But it still transpired, and thus, still counts. And we can use it to hold them accountable to Something that was not there before.

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  • 39. At 9:37pm on 22 Dec 2009, nautonier wrote:

    If in future the UK has to suffer Messrs Gordon Brown/Miliband attending a world summit on climate change on behalf of the UK, I recommend that either or both of them would be 'more useful' if they attend carrying oversized condoms pulled down over their heads, so as to indicate the importance of 'population containment' on future climate control.

    All countries need to contain their population levels with appropriate incentives and policies on family size etc. otherwise no amount of CO2 related measures can be effective with an unconstrained population growth trend which will destroy our planet within 50-100 years or so.

    We've had a partial debate on CO2 global warming but not a full debate on the role that containment of population levels can make in reaching CO2 reduction targets.

    Arguably it is population growth that is the 'underlying problem/cause' of CO2 expansion/ global warming etc and not CO2 levels per se. It is surely pointless handing over billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to poor countries which have no intention of containing their own population growth.

    I know that population growth is a difficult concept for politicians to grasp but can someone please try and explain it to Mr Brown?

    Go on Gordon and Ed - make yourselves useful - at least once while you are in government!

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  • 40. At 9:55pm on 22 Dec 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

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  • 43. At 10:47pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    nautonier (39) - You're right, spot on!! They should follow China's example.

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  • 44. At 10:50pm on 22 Dec 2009, macedonia4eva wrote:

    The EU showed the world how weak it was when it allowed itself to become ruled by it's "lowest common denominator" in regards to expansion, and the whole world saw this in the days leading up to the summit. It didn't have the strength of will, or power to force a majority decision on the membership aspirations of the Republic of Macedonia, it became ruled in effect by a bankrupt nation and its lackey. To that end the Americans, Chinese and others quickly concluded that they could do business far more effectively without it.

    The Eu (and I use a small "u" as it is quite obviously not much of a union) speaks with many voices, and many languages. It says a lot, promises much but actually delivers very little. It cannot even follow its own rules.

    If you cannot control your own backyard or deal with your own trash, you have no place in global decision making. They should learn that it's Obama's way or the high way. He has no time for extended debate where the majority loses, and certainly no time for weak-willed politicing.

    If the EU wants to be taken seriously, then it has to be serious, and not simply act it.

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  • 45. At 11:05pm on 22 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    Fyrom4Eva,

    nice try to hijack the agenda. Someone told me that as much of Macedonia lies in FYROM as Turkey lies in Europe: 5%. Why don't the Turks start calling themselves Europe then? Hilarity ensues when Europe then cannot join the EU.

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  • 46. At 00:01am on 23 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Others who you never imagined were even players are being waved into the inner sanctum. A deal is being done and you are not invited."

    Welcome to the real world Mr. Hewitt, not the one Europeans imagine. Far worse than Europe being snubbed which is a tempest in a teapot is that the Chinese insulted President Obama. Don't think he doesn't know it. He comes from a particular culture, the African American culture of the inner city in America where insults are well understood and eventual payback is inevitable. Not a happy prospect for the world. How was he snubbed? A low level Chinese delegation was sent to negotiate with the US while Jiabao met with other major players without the US being invited. President Obama barging in on their meeting was his message that the game was over for China. Is it really the G-2...or the G-1. The insult has implications on a whole host of issues besides climate that exist between China and the US. Don't be surprised if one day Jiabao is kept waiting outside a meeting room for an appointment in the White House just the way Gordon Brown was. Perhaps with this President of the United States, its time to take out those old flags with the slogan emblazened on them; "Don't Tread On Me."

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_phrase_'Don't_tread_on_me'_mean

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  • 47. At 02:15am on 23 Dec 2009, David wrote:

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  • 48. At 02:20am on 23 Dec 2009, eva wrote:

    China wants to grow at any price and environmental commitments will increase their production costs, making them less competitive.Therefore, don't expect any environmental goals or aspirations from the Chinese. Will they forge ahead to accomplish what they plan to do? Yes
    Will they insult or slight whoever they consider "unfriendly" or just contrary? Yes, it's very satisfying
    Will WE go along with it? Hmm. Maybe it's time for some re-evalution of our everyday routines, actions?

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  • 49. At 02:31am on 23 Dec 2009, David wrote:

    It just seems to me that all this amounts to just agonizing worrying --...Who would WANT to be associated with that document and proceedings anyway? (with a shaky rebound from the global recession still only beginning)

    I bet it was widely appreciated by European leaders that Obama put his "stamp" on this agreement and NOT Europe's.

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  • 50. At 04:58am on 23 Dec 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

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  • 54. At 05:38am on 23 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Looking ahead towards what must continue to be driven home to the worst offenders -- since really not doing anything about climate change is not an option -- there are basically two paths open to those of us who ally with the EU position (and here using the "EU" idea in its broadest sense, to encompass Everyone, regardless of passport designation, who is in fact desperate for some reversal of irresponsible habits):

    (1) We can sit back, nervously, and allow the situation to deteriorate Considerably -- which would mean, inevitably, increasing adverse impacts on health -- until the obstructionist side is sufficiently alarmed by a worsening situation, that they will finally themselves begin to beg, and plead, and ask for Action;

    OR

    (2) We can direct our own actions first and foremost towards disengaging from those elements that stand in the way of Action -- that stood in the way of the EU programme as it was repeatedly articulated in Copenhagen, by all the key Europeans: Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Jose Barroso...
    everyone.

    We can send unambiguous financial messages, in Plain Sterling (or other currency of your choice), that there will be a hefty price to pay for failing to take our concerns & recommendations seriously.

    The idea of the EU emerging as a kind of "planetary emissions policeman" was a very good one. It can be elaborated on further.

    The EU has some fantastic resources. One of the first things that ought to be delivered is a compilation of all the companies that exist on earth, nation by nation, complete with an assessment of how much damage they do to the environment. These can be sorted & cantegorised. There's no need to include the cobbler on the corner, of course -- but the companies that are traded on the stock exchanges, for one; the privately-held heavies (Monsanto, Cargill, etc.) -- the ones that have no declared intention of engaging in mitigation efforts of their own free will, for a start -- those need to be assessed, ranked, rated.

    The powers that were excluded from the UN-BASIC deal need to form their own action group that is not so much a "bloc" as a consultancy of sorts. They should as a matter of course retaliate by excluding the UN–BASIC members until those are willing to soften their isolationist stance -- and concurrently strengthen their commitment to binding targets.

    While the UN FCCC process continues according to its own internal dynamic (which by the way is not without merits), the leading powers should form a "rapid-reaction force on climate issues", as it were, and endow it with the capacity to recommend concrete, programmatic measures -- presented with minimal fuss.

    To be effective, it should include the most highly motivated of the leaders with actual executive powers.

    The first task of such a "RRF" should be to define what funds are immediately available where, and what the most critical -- cost-effective -- interventions are that might be rolled out on an accelerated timetable.

    Since US-BASIC left Europe out, as well as Spanish-speaking SA, Japan, Korea, Russia, Australia, North Africa -- those should probably be the areas that become the first focus of priority interventions.

    Let the reluctant members of US-BASIC stew in their own secretions for a little bit, while we deploy some effective model programmes.

    In the interim, talks & pressure continue, leveraged "persuasion" continues, data-gathering continues, job creation for the engaged communities ramps up.

    And we start directing our funds, our support & best efforts specifically to those Parties who share our vision, and understand the meaning of the word "urgency."

    The one thing that cannot be allowed is for time to be lost, momentum to diminish, or human resources to disperse. And the media have a huge role to play in this, because those pictures & reports & videos do indeed refocus minds.

    Our younger constituency -- those energetic kids, children of all ages, and especially the tweens, teens and young adults -- are a tremendous resource that must also be channeled into committed action, and above all towards a re-assessment of what makes a "good" life.

    We can do this. We can do more.

    A wonderful, joyful Christmas of surprises & delights to all of you! And if it's "just another day" where you are, may it be "just another Excellent Day," then! Long live Logic & Good hearts, Quick minds & Strong wills!

    Cheers! To all who love this planet!

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  • 55. At 07:34am on 23 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

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  • 57. At 09:58am on 23 Dec 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    Re #42 and my #30

    Thanks for at least conceding I have moments of clarity - - it's more than most 'pro-EU' allow for me or any who are 'anti'.

    However, cannot agree on the comparison of Texas-California-Massachusetts with any trio from the EU Member States. Each State of the US has its own Government, Judiciary, Cultural identities just like the Europeans, but the significant difference of the USA 'state' from the 'european' model is that they are not 'independent states'; the 'Federal Law' of the US embraces all 50 and there is a commonality of interest/purpose in being an American Citizen.
    Much as I have a Belge mother, German-Dutch grandparents and the English line too, there is no way I or anyone from my relations in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and indeed my wife's Finnish family ever express (or ever could) theirselves as being 'European' except in a 'geographical' context.

    It is possible that in WW2 there was a pan-European communality of purpose-interest from Wales to Stalingrad and from Copenhagen to Valletta in the cause of defeating fascism: In that sense, the political-military drive that united and led Americans to oppose the regimes of Germany and Japan there is no 'European' similarity in peacetime which the American Citizens retain at the core of their cultural-political outlook.

    Despite some on here questioning my veracity (as I do theirs) I have lived and worked extensively in Europe - - cannot say I ever met a European who introduced themselves as, "Hi, I'm a European, from Italy, France, Czech Republic.." whereas, in my travels I often met Americans in Europe and elsewhere who more-or-less said, "Hello, I'm American from Ohio...".
    No, the Frenchman, German, Latvian etc. never mention Europe: It is an alien entity for which they have no genuine respect or concern at all. I would suggest it goes some way to explaining the continuous fall in EU Voter turnout at elections despite the ongoing encroachment of the EU into Citizens' daily lives - - the average Citizen just feels alienated by something that bears no relation or degree of personal-family measure to their common interests-purposes at National level. People just don't care because they instinctively 'know' the EU doesn't actually care about them except as numbers and statistics. Whereas, even the Citizens of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina all 'knew' they mattered because the President came down in person (a 'political' common interest, of course), but there is no EU figure/leader going to ever do that for the victims-casualties of anything! The EU is for 'big-business/big-Government' and its leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss 'big' things. Somehow or the other little EU Citizens never get a look in (except those arrested by Danish Police for venting the Citizen's views on the streets).

    The EU is not for or on behalf of Citizens: Whatever the EU wanted from Copenhagen it did not stem from reference to Citizens within its borders. That is why the National leaders were there; Europe is a political construct not a Nation.

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  • 66. At 11:41am on 23 Dec 2009, funniinnit wrote:

    This whole Copenhagen fiasco had one agenda, one which has obviously been missed by many, to establish a structure by which to establish a one world government (greek: mind control). There never was any other agenda, all the woeing and whaling won't change that, most missed the point or steered round it so as not to alarm the prols (sub species that have nothing to offer but their childrens labour, willingly given at birth by way of birth registration). Not a single breath of truth was offered at C, no mention of any celestial bodies that have been photographed waltzing with the sun all summer. No mention of the 1800 underground fortresses almost completed world wide where all of those at C will hide as climate change bites. No mention of bank bailouts being bribes to keep some form of normality going until the celestial show becomes too big to hide, the prols might become agitated otherwise.....

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  • 76. At 1:58pm on 23 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    I just read in The Guardian that it wasn't the EU that was snubbed. It was China who snubbed everybody else.
    Here is the eyewitness acount of Guardian journalist Mark Lynas

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas


    He explains that the EU and US were deeply frustrated and Merkel was on the verge of desperation.

    Seems that the EU wasn't snubbed by the US. The West was snubbed by the East.

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  • 83. At 2:57pm on 23 Dec 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Was Climategate a factor? Yes!

    Was cold weather a factor? Yes?

    "Did Europe misjudge its influence?"

    Yes.

    EU hasn't noticed that the main center of power (including economic, scientific and technological one has shifted elswhere long ago.

    This century will belong to APEC countries (APEC being already the largest trading block): Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Peru, U.S.,.

    Perhaps also to Brazil and India if they get their act together.

    Just as USSR believed that it's number 1 even when it was already in a steep decline, so EUSSR believes that it's still a heavy weight champion.

    And with "big names" like Rompuy and Ashton and in the absence of common foreign, military or even energy policy EU's international influence can only wane.

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  • 90. At 3:34pm on 23 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW

    "why would I ever conclude I needed to 'belong' to Europe"

    Why would you ever conclude you belong to anywhere?

    It is all relative. The trend since humanity's humble beginnings has been to create larger cooperations. From individual to family, from family to tribe, from tribe to village, from village to city, from city to country.

    Do you see a pattern? We are just continuing what we have been doing ever since. Acting on the realization that bigger is better.

    Next will be country to regional union (EU, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, NAFTA etc) and hopefully at some point there will be no more borders, passports or any other obstacle to being fully fledged Earthlings.

    We have to understand that we might not see these days but should nevertheless be pragmatic and understand that the EU is just a natural development in our quest to higher civilization and equal rights for everyone.

    Thank you, thank you

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  • 98. At 4:20pm on 23 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    @funniinnit

    I don't believe doom gurus or snake-oil medicine sellers if anyone has anything of substance to prove they should submit it to peer review, not post videos of it and expect people to believe them.

    I can tell you that if your greatest fear is some cosmic body shaking earth out of balance in 2012, then you have nothing to fear, live happy, enjoy your life:)

    Recycle as much as possible though ok?:)

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  • 99. At 4:23pm on 23 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

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  • 100. At 4:25pm on 23 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    U4466131 (86): Nobody is forcing you to read my comments. If you don't like them i suggest you exercise your right to put something else in front of your eyeballs. Indeed i would strongly recommend that to you because i am not going to stop pointing out that the pro-EU people here and elsewhere do not know what they are talking about.

    ChrisArta (79): The national parliaments do not have any real additional powers under Lisbon to object to legislative proposals from the EU Commission. Under the 'yellow card' system the EU Commission is free to ignore the national parliament’s objections. And the 'orange card' system requires so many parliaments to object that the Commission proposal would anyway be guaranteed to be defeated in the EU Council of Ministers anyway. Therefore the 'yellow' and 'orange' card mechanisms are completely toothless. It is even possible they will never be used because no national parliament has any incentive to waste its time on such toothless procedures. The creation of these toothless procedures in no way compensates for the fact that national parliaments are obliged to permanently withdraw any and all national legislation that conflicts with whatever EU legislation is created under the Lisbon treaty in all the years to come. The one-way expansion of EU law is actually reducing the remaining arena within which national parliaments are still free to legislate towards vanishing point, so that national parliaments are the big loser.

    Also, the 'yellow' and 'orange' card mechanism can only be used to object to legislative proposals from the Commission (and only on the grounds of subsidiarity) and therefore have no bearing on the reduced legitimacy of other decisions when the EU Parliament is involved, such as the choice of EU Commission president.

    The power to make a decision such as who becomes president of the EU Commission is a zero-sum game. If that choice was formerly the exclusive choice of heads of government, and then becomes a choice involving both them and the EU Parliament, then whatever power has been gained by the low-legitimacy EU Parliament has been lost to the high-legitimacy democratic leaders of national government.

    If you believe that the EU Commission is "obliged" to amend or remove EU legislation because of petitions, then you simply do not understand the Lisbon treaty. The treaty speaks of the so-called "Citizens Initiative" as "inviting the European Commission . . . to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required". The Commission is not obliged to do anything other than "consider" such an "invitation", which can only be for more EU laws, and which it can ignore or reject as it pleases.

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  • 101. At 4:43pm on 23 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #100 Freeborn John

    I'm not talking about your right to express yourself I'm talking about your arrogant, bad mannered, intellectually barren posts. Where you describe others posts as 'rubbish' or tell Isenhorn "If you promise to think before you write, i promise to stop pointing out how much of what you are currently writing is junk."

    Bad mannered, boorish, a credit to MA11 really. Maybe you are clones.

    In my view most of what you post is nothing more than a boring rehash of the same tedious democracy deficit over and over again, slightly repackaged and oh so boring.

    Some time ago I christened you a memebr of the 'myopic fringe' now I would have to add bad mannered to that.

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  • 102. At 4:48pm on 23 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    @100,

    those provisions are there, so it is up to the national government and the public to use them. I can't tell the future (unlike "funniinnit") how those things will be used, you can guess that they will be used in the wrong way, but for now they are there to be used in the correct way and until they are used the wrong way, I'll have to say, it is just a guess and nothing more.

    By it is not only to intruduce new laws but to also remove or change existing laws.

    So there are provisions to enhance the role or the national parliaments, there provisions to make the commision president selection more democratic and there provisions to make direct people involvement easier. So they are all good and it is proof that the EU is not a dictatorship and that we are lucky to have it and should support it and improve it

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  • 103. At 5:01pm on 23 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Gheryando (88): QMV is not democratic in international organisations which is why none of them use it except the EU. All international organisations that take serious decisions binding on their membership use decision-making by unanimity instead, because this is the only way to prevent the majority at national level being coerced against their will, which is undemocratic. This is true of even very large international organisations like the WTO with 150+ members.

    Decision-making by majority is only accepted, everywhere on earth, within the context of a national community or 'demos'. Above that decision-making by unanimity must be used. There is no example in the history of mankind when it has been otherwise, with the breakdown in EU legitimacy since Maastricht (when the EU first began to use QMV to make politically contested decisions) being just the latest proof that democracy defined as majority-rule only exists in nation-states.

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  • 111. At 6:03pm on 23 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #105 cool_brush_work

    Well at least you are polite about it and don't call it rubbish or stupid etc. It was also intended as fun but you can't please everyone.

    In the meantime with more interminable posts about the democracy deficit boring us to tears I would like to mention an idea that has popped up a couple of times during conversations with friends within the EU. Given that the EU is a 'work in progress' and will no doubt change much more in coming years I think this concept is worth a mention.

    I have contacts within both the Catalan and the Basque communities and it is interesting to note that while some of them would like independence from their respective countries, those who are pro independence also state that they would like to remain part of the EU and the Euro, I have also had conversations over the years with more than a few Scottish nationalists who also state EU membership to be an objective and membership of the Euro.

    So perhaps what we should be doing is getting rid of the nation state and replacing it with the regions, we could use the old ones which would be tidy, they have splendid names, Aquitaine, Bavaria, Hesse, Burgundy, Piedmont, Andalucia and so forth. The nation state is in fact about as much use as legs on a snake in the context of the EU so maybe that's the way to go. We would get rid of whole swathes of bureaucracy and no longer have the silly situation where we have a European Parliament but the big decisions are still taken by a cabal of 'heads of state' in private like the shambles at Copenhagen. The regions would be smaller, the electorate much more in touch with their elected representatives, all in all a good thing.

    The 'Nation State' concept is only a couple of hundred years old anyway and has probably passed it's sell by date, so here is a suggestion for the future. Just think how much more interesting would it be to elect the representative for Ooost Vlaanderen or, for the Brits, Wessex.

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  • 116. At 6:54pm on 23 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

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  • 117. At 6:59pm on 23 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

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  • 118. At 7:09pm on 23 Dec 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

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  • 119. At 7:10pm on 23 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    @113,

    people do read the newspapers and do believe them (believe it or not) and the newspapers spread lies about the EU, in this forum alone EUPris was happy to quote some "facts" from the Telegraph that an Italian court had overruled the ECHR. The report was claim that, the rulining showed that people had enough with the EU. No where did it mention that the EU and the ECHR are two seperate things.

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  • 126. At 8:21pm on 23 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, INDEED, cool_brush_work. May Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, or the Christkind, or some lovely Angel bring you all your heart's desire this night, and for all time to come.

    Here's what I was given today -- courtesy of the BBC -- an elegant little news report, complete with music to match the beautiful camerawork, of the retrofitting of the Empire State Building in Manhattan. 6500 windows are being replaced with an eye to reducing the carbon emissions... And in the process all kinds of added benefits emerge.

    Yes, we can do this. Building by building, country by country, everywhere we work & live... Yes, it will take massive capital investment -- but think of the work being created! Think of the economic gain!

    And this is happening in a country that is not at the forefront of the battle for eco-sanity, alas. That means even more can be achieved in the UK, in Europe, in countries that are completely committed.

    For that, you can thank Father Christmas, or the landlords of the Empire State Building, or the benevolent forces of the media... or someone's wife & children, pleading & arguing at home & in private.... or some significant-other, or, indeed, all of the above.

    I thank Everyone, friends and sparring partners alike.

    We need to do this. We can even have fun & make money while we do it. Just let's get it done.

    Lots of love to all of you, and to all those whom you love, in turn.

    Happy Christmas. Merry Christmas. Joy to the World. Joy to the Universe, and even to the Multiverses.

    Be pleased with yourselves. We are getting quite a bit of it right.

    With kisses for all those who can stand such demonstrations of affection.

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  • 129. At 9:28pm on 23 Dec 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

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  • 130. At 10:26pm on 23 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

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  • 131. At 10:38pm on 23 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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  • 132. At 11:12pm on 23 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 133. At 00:15am on 24 Dec 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    CBW

    Merry Christmas to you.

    I don't know why everybody is talking about 5% but lets talk about the circulation figures being a mirror of the national trend. Its like taking a sample and transfering the results onto the bigger population. Sort of like: I am 95% confident that, should all UK citizens be forced to buy a daily newspaper, they would proportionally buy The Sun followed by the second in line etc.

    Anyways, merry christmas to everyone!

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  • 134. At 00:46am on 24 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

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  • 141. At 03:44am on 24 Dec 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote an excellent piece on Copenhagen, in today's (December 22) issue. Very easy to find online at the nytimes.com website.

    It reinforces the validity of the COP15 lessons, the example of Denmark, and the EU approach.

    Very much worth a read.

    Alice, poetry is always welcome. We have about 2 weeks until Julian Christmas, so we get a preview now, and a reprise in 2 weeks -- with New New Year in between, and Old New Year to mark the end of all the festivities...

    And then Lunar New Year with any Asian friends, so by end of Feb we will definitely know it is 2010.

    I'll be around pretty much the whole time. The Half, as we say, will be visiting your neck of the woods, though. I was there this time last year: gorgeous. This year, his turn. We shall see if he finds signs of intelligent life...? I fully expect it!

    Cheers! And music! How about a little Handel?

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  • 142. At 04:44am on 24 Dec 2009, David wrote:

    I think, Web Alice,

    that Europe will only be powerful if it just resorts to common sense and takes power. Don't look around for it..

    Britain needs to leave the USA to its own devices and join with Germany, France and Italy (the others can have a "small European club" for power w/in Europe--Spain, Greece,etc.)

    and then these four major European countries would represent all 27 nations of Europe at major summits or in the world--the UK-Italy-France-Germany "entente"--better than the word "axis."

    Then, Europe would have a powerful voice -- with Unity. But, only if G. Britain joins in and quits acting coy by dithering between the Europe and the USA.

    And then, WA, Russia could join in and stir things up by at least asking to enter the Euro zone and the EU. What harm could occur to or from a Russia within its natural place, Europe?

    The USA is gravitating eastward toward China, Japan and the new moneyed Asians-where we would fit right in. There would then be balance in the world and everyone would all be happy:) !Viola! ?N'est pas? LOL

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  • 143. At 07:13am on 24 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    @142

    David you analysis is good. Because most people assume that the trick is power. It depends what one wants if it is happines and lifestyle then don't need power just everyone else to work in a peaceful way with you and everyone is happy. If one wants power then fighting and all hell breaks loose.

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  • 144. At 09:04am on 24 Dec 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    An almost bizarre choice of angle on the matter. The article is quite unsufficient. The greatest producers of carbon are also the biggest brakes on the political process, and one day this will be clear even to BBC.

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  • 145. At 10:00am on 24 Dec 2009, Freeman wrote:

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  • 146. At 10:23am on 24 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    @145

    What it is now is better that it was a few years ago and it is on the right direction to get even better in the future. So, stop having concerns and enjoy it :)

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  • 147. At 10:28am on 24 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    As for the summit saying the EU didn't play its part is wrong. Short of telling the developing world we'll pay for your president's next airplane, telling the Chinese you are right it is all our fault no one else should have to reduce their emissions, keep burning as much as you like. Telling Obama you don't have to make any changes either just in case you upset the congress and they will not pass your healthcare bill.

    The only thing I blame the EU for is it should have said, sorry guys that's your deal we are not interested in it. We'll try again next time.

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  • 148. At 10:42am on 24 Dec 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Sorry Chris, but I cannot have your faith in the Petition idea. I prefer to call it the Cap-In-Hand provision as that is what the citizens who actually do this will be doing. "Please Sir, could you.....No" or possibly "It fits the agenda...OK". This is a party for the new European 'aristocracy' and peons are not invited.

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  • 149. At 10:42am on 24 Dec 2009, Freeman wrote:

    And Merry Christmas all. :)

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  • 150. At 11:01am on 24 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #131 MarcusAureliusII

    Marcus you are pathetic Have a nice Christmas, maybe Santa will bring you a brain.

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  • 151. At 11:07am on 24 Dec 2009, U4466131 wrote:

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  • 152. At 12:19pm on 24 Dec 2009, rg wrote:

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  • 153. At 12:22pm on 24 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    merry xmas to Freeman, CBW, WA, MAII, all the "U"s etc.

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  • 154. At 12:27pm on 24 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

    BTW U4466131 your wish for "santa" to bring a "brain to MAII" is full of fairytale talk, i.e. "santa", brain & MAII" :))) pretty much like some Europhobes talk about EUSSR:))))

    You are learning from them I see :))

    sorry MAII, I mean no offence just a joke as it is Xmas time :))

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  • 155. At 12:28pm on 24 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    To Maria Ashot, CBW, freeman et al who already wished a 'Joyeux Noel' and to Gavin Hewitt and all who contribute to his blog, i wish you a Happy Christmas, and above all that 2010 will be a better year than 2009!

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  • 156. At 12:39pm on 24 Dec 2009, lochraven wrote:

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  • 157. At 12:55pm on 24 Dec 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    U4466131 re #125

    "#124 Angryjohn

    No I'm afraid you completely miss the point. I'm a Brit and I really really don't like Murdoch interfering in Britain and come to that I'm not very keen on Berlusconi either but I didn't elect him and he mostly sticks to his own country. At least the Italians get a chance to get rid of Berlusconi as a politician.

    So your point was? "

    I was answering a point of Gheryando (the best pro EU voice on this debate I think) who stated that the EU is not working as well as it might as the Anti EU people didn't let it become federal enough.

    My point was that the EU will not work until we all see ourselves as being European first and Nations second. Until there is that will in deed as well as word, then the EU project will be about partisan national promotion.

    As evidence I presented Mr Sarkozay who gleefully told people that at last France was in control of the City of London (to the horror of the EU).

    I added that in my opinion people living in different nations had too disperate ideals, acceptances and objectives to be able to accept a one size fits all set of rules and ideals.

    As evidence I pointed out Berlusconi who would probably not be accepted in the UK when he is quite accepted in Italy. I also mentioned the mediterrainian culture of bribes in yachts when going in and out of harbours which would be intolerable in the northern Germanic ports.

    You helpfully mentioned Murdoch in the UK who might be unwelcome elsewhere in the EU.

    I was not saying "Berlusconi is bad." My personal opinion of Murdoch is also not significant to my point.

    I don't disagree with anything you wrote in #125. It doesn't conflict with my arguement.

    -EU won't work without more federal powers and a stronger sense of EU identity than national identity.

    -This stronger EU identity will not happen until we have more common ideals and acceptances.

    I hope i've explained my thought process well enough whether you agree or not :-)
    federal powers

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  • 158. At 1:01pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 159. At 1:11pm on 24 Dec 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    David re #142

    I think you are spot on. If this happened then it would work.

    I don't think anyone wants it to happen though which is a stumbling block.

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  • 160. At 1:33pm on 24 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Looking at the photo, it seems to me that all of the people in that room could have used a drink or three...except for President Obama who looks like he's had at least one too many already. Ahhh, that sleepy feeling in a business meeting in the afternoon after a largely liquid lunch or in an evening sitting around after a large dinner wishing you were home in bed instead of politely sitting there listing to some tiresome fool spouting a poitless story which is where Obama seemed to be stuck.

    Well it looks like a post mortem on Copenhagen and maybe time to write the epitaph of life on planet earth as we've come to know it. You Euros especially would be a lot happier if you just resigned yourselves to the fact that the earth just can't support 6.5 billion people at the level of comfort, mobility, and freedom those of us in the Western world enjoy, the same levels other people around the world want just as badly as we do. So there are only three alternatives. We all agree to live in pre-industrial conditions which Americans, Chinese, and Indians won't even pretend they'll agree to. That's what Europeans really are insisting on even if they won't actually do it themselves no matter what they promise (piddling efforts like solar and wind power won't cut it), we reduce the number of people in the world to a stable level, say one or two billion which nobody even wanted to talk about, or the climate will change and decide capriciously who lives and who dies for us. Choice number three is what we've selected. Where and how people will die from climate change is anyone's guess but there is no disputing I think that if this climate change theory is right they will die in large numbers. So sit back, relax, batten down the hatches if you have to, and enjoy the party until the end comes. Time for that drink.

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  • 161. At 1:57pm on 24 Dec 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

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  • 162. At 3:06pm on 24 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As the Lilliputians and Belfescuans argued interminably over which end of an egg to open, so the Europeans will argue interminably over every issue in life. As a trade bloc, it is no longer in their self interest to go to war with each other but as a single political and cultural entity the prospects seem to me to be very dim.

    In the story, Gulliver found himself washed up on the shores of Lilliput and when he regained consciousness he was tied down by the Lilliputians. It didn't take him long though to free himself. Much larger and stronger than they were, he was far more wise and practical as well. President Obama was not washed ashore nor was he tied down. He blew in on Copenhagen like a tornado, did his damage, and quickly blew out. His battle in the US Congress to enact health care legislation was surely uppermost in his mind, American national security and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq high on his thoughts, problems of global climate change decades down the road a distant last. Small wonder he nearly fell asleep at the meeting. There simply was nothing for him to discuss. Like Gulliver, he probably cracks his eggs in the middle so why listen to the pointless prattle of mere Lilliputians.

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  • 163. At 3:24pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 171. At 4:33pm on 24 Dec 2009, Joao Coelho wrote:

    In the US, the EU has been sidelined a long time ago. Remember Old Europe versus New Europe, the comment by Rumsfeld? In the US, when i hear about competition, it is not Europe but China and India and even Brasil. I think Europe still has lots to offer but it has to change from being a tagalong nation that follows what the US does and says; in this case they should remove Barroso as he was the Portuguese puppy that followed along Bush's war in Iraq, eager to be part of the big power.

    Europe needs a revamp, get rid of the old guard eager beavers that lack new ideas. If the EU is going to make a difference, they do not need to try to compete in the new world order, they can create their own. Maybe reduce population, reduce immigration, focus on educating its people, give them good health care, retirements and a healthy environment to live in and grow their children. The EU does not need to get into the race of gadget making to prop its economy. There are many good things coming out of Europe, in science, technology and the arts. We need to play to our strenghts not our weakenesses: runaway capitalist competition at the cost of the wealfare of the population is just an old idea that is getting us nowhere and we will see that same idea fail China, the US and India. It's already failing the US.

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  • 172. At 4:39pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 173. At 5:28pm on 24 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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  • 174. At 6:19pm on 24 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

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  • 179. At 10:48pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 181. At 10:58pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Still, in this un-balanced :o) planet - resources are suddenly of importance again. Technology won't feed livestock, onto the high-tech all over-relied as well, I'm afraid. Simple things like land and water and grain are needed again, because of the population growth in the planet.

    And in this sense it is still possible to "plug in into Russia and get a relief.

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  • 182. At 11:08pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 184. At 11:40pm on 24 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:



    The most important thing - Merry Christmas to our moderators!

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  • 185. At 00:28am on 25 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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  • 186. At 02:37am on 25 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 189. At 03:18am on 25 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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  • 191. At 03:40am on 25 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    A mother of clinical idiots.

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  • 192. At 08:47am on 25 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, I don't see here any lack of foreign investment.
    What is the point?
    Any money made won't be shared with Russians, but selected few.

    Not all Russians can work in a foreign company. And when they do, foreign companies way too often start to behave like the local one, that is - profits to own pockets in thousands percent, and a tiny stream down to personnel.
    Will never forget how I worked for a five star hotel here, foreign managed, all clean, nice, good, interesting job. Various travel fairs abroad, interesting events to organise, conferences, parties, what not. Marketing manager. Salary - 30 dollars a month.

    That's a tip to the bar. All floor-cleaners and F&B LOL pitied me, were saying drop that stupid marketing, we are also paid 20 LOL (Mavrelius - 20 dollars - it's two pairs of stockings here, in case you think it is any thing) but we have tips in hundreds, and you, office workers, have nil.

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  • 193. At 12:38pm on 25 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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  • 196. At 8:43pm on 25 Dec 2009, Chris wrote:

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  • 202. At 00:38am on 26 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Chris_Arta, I don't object. Everyone having as much history as they could. What's the problem nothing to quarrel about. Problems are health, an odd climate week o:)), and that distant past I mean, Jesus Christ Godsky Almightsky :o)))
    Besides who would say all here was one big "Russia". Who are Russians. I don't know. A mixture of all the locals from left to right, exercising the culture :o)))

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  • 208. At 03:33am on 27 Dec 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin---I honestly think that Europe was snubbed in Copenhagen but, also, many other countries were snubbed also...

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 209. At 04:34am on 27 Dec 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

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  • 212. At 1:49pm on 27 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    DJ;

    "Europe was snubbed in Copenhagen but, also, many other countries were snubbed also."

    The US was snubbed...by China. In the case of Europe it's just a matter of hurt egos that doesn't add up to a hill of beans. But in the case of the US it is a far more serious matter and it was a personal matter, a slight against someone who will not take it lying down. China has a very complex relationship with the US. A two trillion dollar American debt to China is not a weapon that can have any effect on the way China act towards the US. It is a very dangerous game they are playing. China like Europe would find America a formidable enemy. That economic growth in China could be turned into a deep and perpetual recession in a heartbeat if relations soured to the point where America felt its ability to act as an independent agent on its own behalf was in jeopardy. Europeans who are so willing, even eager to give up their national sovereignty in the dim light of their longstanding impotence may have forgotten and now not understand the psychology of those who are not in similar circumstances. China seems to be playing with fire. Before it gets fatally burned in a conflagration, perhaps the US should bring it back to reality by just demonstrating that it still holds all the aces by singing it a little...just as a reminder and a wake up call.

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  • 223. At 2:26pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 224. At 4:24pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 225. At 4:32pm on 28 Dec 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 226. At 5:22pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 227. At 5:32pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 228. At 5:42pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 229. At 5:43pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 230. At 6:07pm on 28 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 231. At 7:55pm on 28 Dec 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 232. At 01:05am on 29 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 233. At 01:13am on 29 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 234. At 01:23am on 29 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 235. At 01:44am on 29 Dec 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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  • 236. At 00:09am on 01 Jan 2010, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Since the entire fiasco was a complete failure by politicians to actually achieve anything perhaps the biggest snub is by ALL politicians to their entire species.
    Nationalistic finger pointing is just a distraction away from that.

    The real question now is since they have failed so dreadfully do we actually need politicians any longer?

    Complain about this comment

  • 237. At 2:03pm on 05 Jan 2010, crash2 wrote:

    who cares,the global warming hoax needs to go up in smoke anyway

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  • 238. At 5:15pm on 05 Jan 2010, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    Who cares wins...

    Time to make man made climate change denial legally the same offence as holocaust denial.

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