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The 2009 Copenhagen Conference “took note” of Accord, but it did not progress beyond a talk fest

The 2009 Copenhagen Summit “took note” of an 'Accord'.

Well, what a hell of an expensive note taking exercise that was!

The full cost of the Copenhagen Conference (or was it 'talk fest'?) should be disclosed including all return flights, accommodation, livestock killed and A4 paper printed off, etc. Given that green house gases are their specialty, the conference hosts (the UN) should also disclose the total tonnage of greenhouse gas emissions of this latest Conference of the Parties (COP15). This then must become the decadent standard never to be exceeded in future.

Why could the Copenhagen Conference not have been done online through a series of video conference calls? It would have set a leadership example of how human behaviour can be modified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Stephen Minas in his review article ‘Flight From Copenhagen’ of 21 Dec 2009 at New Matilda is right – “Copenhagen shrank…from the comprehensive, legally binding treaty envisaged in the Bali Road Map”.

The Bali Road Map came out of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Climate Change Conference in Bali Indonesia in December 2007. Many developed and developing countries agreed to step up their efforts to combat climate change and adopted the ‘Bali Road Map’, which included the ‘Bali Action Plan’ charting the negotiating course leading up to the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009 (just gone).

But for the Copenhagen Conference to have been in an "oven-ready" political framework, capable of immediate implementation, time shouldn’t have been wasted since Bali. Just like cramming for an exam rarely works, drafting workable legislation, which was what Copenhagen was headlined to be, invariably takes many iterations of drafting and negotiating.

As Minas points out, "For the legally binding Copenhagen 'Accord' to have stood a chance of success, the positive willingness that emerged from Bali needed to have had its enthusiastic momentum tapped."

Between Bali and Copenhagen there were 24 months. What was achieved during those two years?

To label the outcome of Copenhagen Conference as an 'Accord' is false and misleading. An Accord is a binding agreement and that did not transpire. Copenhagen as an event was indeed an important global summit. But in terms of results, at best it was an 'in principle' broad undertaking by a few of the attending nations that requires follow up. Those now using such a label are only perpetuating the hype in an exercise of face saving - most notably China.

Perhaps the most poignant assessment of Copenhagen comes from Oxfam Executive Director, Andrew Hewett, in Fairfax's The Age and The Sydney Moring Herald papers simulateously dated 21 December 2009, in his article: 'Poorest of the poor ask why Copenhagen failed to listen'

"...it's hard to see how the Copenhagen 'Accord' delivers justice to people in poor countries that are least responsible for climate change but suffer its impacts right now.

The accord is an empty political statement, shredding two years of negotiations down to 2½ pages of purely aspirational goals.

While it recognises the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be kept below 2 degrees, it does not set out a trajectory for achieving this.

In February, countries will list their emissions reduction targets, which will be voluntary. They will have little to do with climate science and everything to do with the political climate in capitals around the world. If this is all the world can muster, we can expect a world that is 3.9 degrees warmer, year-round droughts in southern Africa, and water shortages affecting up to 4 billion additional people."


One wonders what the thousands of delegates at Copenhagen achieved and whether any of them feel an obligation to follow up what is clearly unfinished business.

As for Australia's contribution, why was Australia not part of Obama's late minute accord that tried to salvage what was left of any undertakings over the two weeks?


The Australian newspaper on 11th December 2009 reported 'Aussie footprint 1817 tonnes, and counting' by Christian Kerr:

"THE Australian delegation to the Copenhagen climate change conference could number 114, official documents reveal.

The carbon footprint for 114 people travelling to Copenhagen and back business class amounts to 1817 tonnes of emissions -- the equivalent to the annual output of 2500 people in Malawi. The list appears to contradict assurances from Kevin Rudd's office last weekend that fewer than 50 federal officials would attend.

It includes 10 attendees listed as members of the Prime Minister's personal staff, on top of six representatives from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The names of 29 officials from the Department of Climate Change are listed, along with bureaucrats from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Agency for International Development, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Treasury and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Tim Wilson from the Institute of Public Affairs, who discovered the list, told The Australian from Copenhagen yesterday: "I keep spotting commonwealth bureaucrats here. It seems to reflect the enormous bureaucracy that will grow to support any agreement from Copenhagen."

Was this Rudd putting on one hell of an extravagant staff Chistmas party to Scandinavia at taxpayer expense? If not, what return on investment did the Australian contingent make at Copenhagen?

See also: "A climate con: Analysis of the 'Copenhagen Accord' of 21 Dec 09.

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Comments

World government is a nonsense. We need to act locally. That is where we need to be empowered. And the States and nations need to take their orders from local constituents. And the locals need to stop land-clearing and new construction and the population growth that drives these. And we all need to work less to produce less emissions. With stable populations we would not need to pay for land for housing; we would simply inherit it. So we would not have to work and churn out all those emissions to pay greedy banks and developers just to sleep under a roof. Life would become ours again.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

Sheila,

Humanity's perpetual desire to extract meaning from the world is ageless. Also ageless is humanity's desire to control the world.

The formation of the United Nations (UN) after the Second World War on 24th October, 1945 was a product of global humanity's desire to steer a form of moral control of the world, delegated to a centralisation collaboration model - the UN.

The UN was a global control model formed as a response to a global war designed with a committee of the leading 10 nations at the time to discuss (read 'shape') social and economic issues. "The United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union, and China would enforce peace as "the four policemen"

But look at the UN's results to date! Look at the conflicts that have had the UN sent in to resolve and consistently botch! Look at unresolved social unrest, humanitarian crises and abandonned genocides to date! Look at the UN's performance since 1945:

1948 Palestine - failed
1949 Kashmir - failed
1956 Suez - took 11 years
1958 Lebanon - failed
1962 West New Guinea - failed
1964 Congo - failed
1963 Yemen - failed
1964 Cyprus - failed
1965 Dominican Republic - ?
1965 Kashmir - failed again
1973 Sinai - took six years
1974 Golan Heights - failed
1978 Lebanon - failed again
1988 Afghanistan - failed
1988 Iran-Iraq conflict - failed
1989 Angola - failed
1989 Namibia - ?
1989 Nicaragua - took 4 years
1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwait - failed (USA had to invade)
1991 Angola - failed
1991 El Salvador - took 4 years
1991 Western Sahara - ?
1991 Cambodia - failed (Khmer Rouge slaughtered millions)
1992 Yugoslavia - failed (Bosnian genocide proceeded unchecked)
1992 Somalia - failed
1992 Eritrea - failed (go to 2000)
1992 Mozambique - took 2 years
1993 Somalia - second attempt failed
1993 Rwanda - failed (Tutsi genocide)
1993 Georgia - failed - still continuing in 2009
1993 Liberia - took 4 years
1993 Haiti - failed first round
1994 Libya's withdrawal from Chad - success
1994 Tajikistan civil war - took 6 years
1995 Angola - failure
1995 Croatia - ?
1995 Macedonia conflict with Albania - took 4 years
1995 Bosnia and Herzegovina - allowed genocide, took until 7 years
1996 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium - took 2 years
1996 Prevlaka penninsula (Croatia) took 6 years
1996 Haiti - second round failed
1997 Guatemala - ?
1997 Angola - took another 2 years
1997 Haiti - failed
1997 Haiti - took 3 years
1998 Croatia - ?
1998 Central African Republic - took 2 years
1998 Sierra Leone - failure
1999 Kosovo - doubtful
1999 Sierra Leone - took another 6 years
1999 East Timor -failure
2002 East Timor - failed again (go to 2005)
1999 Guinea-Bissau - ?
1999 Democratic Republic of the Congo - failure
2000 Ethiopia conflict with Eritrea - took 8 years
2002 East Timor - took till 2005
2003 Liberia - ?
2004 Côte d'Ivoire - ?
2004 Haiti - third try- ?
2004 Burundi - took 2 years
2005 Sudan - ?
2006 Timor-Leste - ?
2007 Darfur - ?
2007 Central African Republic and Chad - ?

In the 60 year history of the UN, it has chronically failed its conflict resolution mandate.

Look at how the UN steered and controlled the Copenhagen summit! It didn't. The UN failed the global community on its undertaking to execute tangible targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN is a convenient instrument for the most powerful developed countries to delegate unwanted their complex multi-national problems. But over 60 years it has consistently proven to be a chronic failure.

The first step is to review the UN failures, starting with UN Development Programme's (UNDP) failure at Copenhagen. The UN World Government model is utopia at its most utopian.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

Of course there was never going to be any binding agreements! Australia is one of the worst climate change offenders in the world. How was Rudd to agree to be cutting greenhouse gas emissions when he is going full-forward in the contrary direction! Action speaks louder than words, and the Copenhagen conference was doomed to fail.

We are encouraged to change to low-emission light bulbs and install water-saving shower heads, but at the same time we are being seduced into Christmas spending to support commercial mass markets, and are under pressure from developers to submit into larger populations.

According to Choice online, Australia has the fourth highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, per capita, in the world. At 25.6 tonnes per person, we emit more than twice the EU average and four times the world average.

How are we to decrease greenhouse gas emissions? This is clearly an impossible task when we continue to increase the numbers of consumers within this country. We can't expect people from low-emitting countries to reduce their lifestyles while we continue ours. The best way to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions is to decrease population growth. By importing people here from developing countries they are magnifying their emissions to our high levels.