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Belmont Club

Half full? Or wholly empty?

December 19th, 2009 - 3:04 am

The “historic deal” left behind by Barack Obama, who decamped for Washington, has descended into chaos as a number of countries rejected the text, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The “historic” climate change deal at the Copenhagen climate summit has descended into chaos after some developing nations rejected the plan for fighting global warming championed by US President Barack Obama. …

Tempers flared during an all-night plenary session, held after most of 120 visiting world leaders had left.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese negotiator, said the draft text asked “Africa to sign a suicide pact”.

One Saudi delegate said it was without doubt “the worst plenary I have ever attended.”

Ed Miliband, the Environment Secretary, warned delegates that the plan would have to be endorsed to unlock funds outlined in the deal, including $30 billion in “quick-start” aid from 2010-12, rising to $100 billion a year from 2020.

The Los Angeles Times was more upbeat. In a story headlined “Climate deal fails to lift delegates’ mood”, the LAT focused largely on the dissatisfaction of the African nations and the NGOs. But in reality there was very little to either denounce or celebrate about. The AP noted that the Copenhagen agreements simply set the stage for more meetings to work out the multitude of disagreements and details. The delegate from New Zealand said that Kyoto was a “first step” and that Copenhagen was another “first step”, a suggestion that the climate change parade was advancing with all the grace of a mummy.

With no clear narrative emerging from the Danish capital, the significance of the decisions taken there are still unknown. It is as if the world were still in the Malamute Saloon, after the shots were fired in the dark but before the lights came on. Everyone is in an agony of suspense to know what happened. Maybe nothing did. Or nothing obvious and when the lamps are relit there’ll be blood on the floor but no bodies in evidence and everyone will go back to drinking whiskey.


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