Obama has 'wrecked the UN' - anger and disappointment at Copenhagen accord
Addressing a pack press room at 10:30 pm local time in Copenhagen, Barack Obama declared last night that there had been a "meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough" that had been reached amongst five countries (not including Canada), though much work still needed to be done to reach a legally binding treaty.
Though the negotiations are still officially continuing today, this 'Copenhagen accord' seemed to have been the inevitable conclusion of Barack Obama's scripted visit to the summit - make a general, but moderately encouraging speech to delegates to work together, several secret, behind-door meetings to give the illusion of last-minute progress, and the announcement of a weak accord that falls short of committing any nation to pollution reductions and calling it a 'success' - and still its considered a "first step" and not legally binding.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org sent out a statement:
"This is a declaration that small and poor countries don't matter, that international civil society doesn't matter, and that serious limits on carbon don't matter. The president has wrecked the UN and he's wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it's at the expense of everything progressives have held dear. 189 countries have been left powerless, and the foxes now guard the carbon henhouse without any oversight."
Friends of the Earth:
"Climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with
no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a
just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old
positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the
rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily
inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world
who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate..."
In an editorial in the Guardian this morning:
"Only two years ago, the world's leaders swore this would be the summit to build a new carbon order. The threadbare agreement thrashed out last night has not even laid the foundations. The progress on financial assistance over the fortnight is welcome, but with much of the money earmarked for climate adaptation, the global community is left resembling an alcoholic who has decided to save up for a liver transplant rather than give up drink."
Immediately after Obama's press conference speech, roughly 300 environmental advocates descended upon the Bella Centre to call out to the delegates who were leaving the negotiations, "history will judge you," and "shame on you Obama". Standing amongst the crowd last night in the wee hours of the morning in the freezing cold, it was such a visceral moment of dread, that for them, and for many people around the world, the 'Hopenhagen' dream had ended, and the real chance to create a global climate treaty had slipped away. Literally on the outside looking in, for many, the negotiations had compromised their future.
Tuvalu, Bolivia and other countries have also protested against the new so-called agreement.
They are still talking at the negotiations today, with even rumours that they will extend until Sunday. Most world leaders are quickly leaving Copenhagen after their drop-in visits. An update from a friend still working inside the Bella Centre from 2am:
"Rasmussen (Prime Minister of Denmark and President of COP) is getting a grilling and is surrounded by Secretariat people looking stern, meanwhile the delegates in the room have started taking photos of the huddle that is taking place on the stage....It's all a bit embarrassing for the United Nations I think...firstly the negotiating teams didn't get a workable agreement ready for the politicians to sign, and now they appear to be bungling the final stages....it's a good thing Obama isn't here anymore I think..."