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Daily View: Conclusions on Copenhagen

Clare Spencer | 09:37 UK time, Monday, 21 December 2009

copenhagenAfter a failure to make a legally-binding agreement on climate change in Copenhagen, commentators consider what the conference can tell us.

The Guardian calls the Copenhagen deal empty and a sham but observes a change:

"... the rich world was forced to haggle with the bigger emerging economies on more equal terms than ever before."

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband reflects in the Guardian on the significance of China's veto on carbon emission reduction targets:

"Indeed, this is one of the straws in the wind for the future: the old order of developed versus developing has been replaced by more interesting alliances."

In the Wall Street Journal Lord Lawson says world leaders urging another conference are in a state of denial:

"Far from achieving a major step forward, Copenhagen - predictably - achieved precisely nothing. The nearest thing to a commitment was the promise by the developed world to pay the developing world $30 billion of 'climate aid' over the next three years, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020. Not only is that (perhaps fortunately) not legally binding, but there is no agreement whatsoever about which countries it will go to, in which amounts, and on what conditions."

Peter McKay in the Daily Mail concludes that the political negotiations were poor:

"Let's turn down the rhetorical heat, the 'days left to save mankind' bluster. More persuasion and less proselytising. Fewer bogus timetables. No circuses like Copenhagen."

Christopher Booker in the Telegraph says the only real winners from the deal are those who benefit from carbon trading:

"The only really concrete achievement of Copenhagen was to win agreement to the perpetuating of those Kyoto rules that have created this vast industry, which has two main beneficiaries. On one hand are that small number of people in China and India who have learnt how to work this system to their huge advantage. On the other are all those Western entrepreneurs who have piled into what has become the fastest growing commodity market in the world."

Johann Hari in the Independent says political leaders let the world down:

"Imagine a 50-a-day smoker who goes to his doctor and is told he must stop immediately or he will develop lung cancer. He says: 'I'll tell you what, doc - I'll cut down to 40-a-day, I'll eat a salad every lunchtime, and I'll slap on a few nicotine patches. How does that sound?' That's the official response to global warming."

In the Times Jonathon Porritt, the director of Forum for the Future, looks on the bright side of the outcome:

"Paradoxically, the greatest cause for hope lies in the depth of that failure. Before Copenhagen, many campaigners had argued that no agreement would be better than a weak agreement. And in effect, that's exactly what has happened."

Links in full

GuardianGuardian | Beyond Copenhagen: Dialogue, not diktat
MailPeter McKay | Daily Mail | Turn down the heat on warming
IndependentJohann Hari | Independent | After the catastrophe in Copenhagen, it's up to us
TelegraphChristopher Booker | Telegraph | Copenhagen accord keeps Big Carbon in business
TelegraphJanet Daley | Telegraph | There'll be nowhere to run from the new world government
TimesJonathon Porritt | Times | Selling a low-carbon life just got harder
Wall Street JournalNigel Lawson | Wall Street Journal | Time For Plan B

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