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Proposed Copenhagen Accord an embarrassment

18 Dec 2009

Rich countries will not avoid a PR disaster by bullying poor countries to accept a climate disaster

Friends of the Earth has described the latest draft text at the UN climate summit as an "embarrassment". Calling on world leaders to stay in Copenhagen until they agree a "real deal with actions strong enough to deliver on their aspirations", the environmental organisation said poorer countries will not be bullied into accepting an unfair and unsafe agreement.

In Copenhagen, Friends of the Earth Policy Officer, Molly Walsh said

"We will not let Obama and Brown bully African and Small Island states into accepting this failure. The big boys will do anything to avoid a PR disaster but nothing to avoid a climate disaster. You can't spin your way out of the climate crisis. If G8 leaders are serious about limiting global warming to 2C then they have to cut their emissions by 40% by 2020."

The latest draft re-states the ambition to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, but is vague on when global emissions will peak and on how much rich countries will cut their emissions by 2020. The EU has still not moved from its opening offer of a 20% cut and in his much anticipated speech Obama merely re-iterated the US plan for a 4% cut, compared to the standard baseline of 1990.

Ms Walsh concluded

"His speech appeared to be more of a face-saving exercise for President Obama than an attempt to unite countries around a truly planet-saving agreement. The United States came to these negotiations with a weak position, and now appears to be attempting to take the rest of the world down to their level. It simply must do better."

Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director, said

"The latest draft is an embarrassment. Politicians often break promises, but here the leaders are breaking promises in the second paragraph that they made in the first paragraph. You can't say you want to limit warming to 2C and offer emissions cuts that barely limit warming to 3C. The presidents and prime ministers need to stay in Copenhagen until they agree a real deal with actions strong enough to deliver on their aspirations."

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