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EU leaders disappointed with Copenhagen Accord

23 December 2009

The European Union (EU) leaders have expressed their disappointment with the Copenhagen Accord, a five-page-long document which, after an extremely bitter debate, was not adopted, but merely “noted” by the delegates. ”It will not solve the climate threat,” said Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s prime minister representing the Presidency of the EU. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said that the outcome is “clearly below our ambitions.”

The text states that “deep cuts in global emissions are required” and that countries will take action to limit the increase in global temperature below 2°Celsius from pre-industrial levels. However, it lacks any mid-term greenhouse emissions reduction targets for 2020, and even a previous long-term target of cutting the emissions by 80% by 2050 was abandoned. The EU, on its part, has committed to cut its emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, but it did not raise the target from 20% to 30% as previously offered, saying that the reduction targets of other countries were not sufficiently ambitious. Nevertheless, Mr Barroso insisted that “this is not the final say” and such a move was not ruled out at some point in the future.

The accord states that developed countries will provide new and additional funding for the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, “approaching” US$30bn from 2010 to 2012. For long-term finance, developed countries agreed to support a commitment of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

Reporting on the Copenhagen summit, the European press laments the modest role of the EU in the final negotiations, despite its leadership ambitions. The Copenhagen Agreement in fact was negotiated and drafted by the United States, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, without the participation of most of the world’s countries. The EU was practically ignored in this process. As it was described by Mr Reinfeldt: ‘‘We had very tough negotiations two and a half hours after I read on my mobile telephone that we were already done.’’

Countries are supposed to submit their emission reduction plans for 2020 to the United Nations and the next UN Climate Conference set to be held Mexico City next November/December. However, the implementation of the Copenhagen Accord will be reviewed only by 2015.

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