Yesterday, leaders of 120 countries reached a non-legally-binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Plus-minus of said agreement a.k.a the Copenhagen Accord as quoted from The Guardian.
What was agreed at Copenhagen – and what was left out
National leaders and sleep-deprived negotiators thrashed out a text late last night that could determine the balance of power in the world and possibly the future of our species. The list below gives a breakdown of the key points:
"The increase in global temperature should be below two degrees."
This will disappoint the 100-plus nations who wanted a lower maximum of 1.5C, including many small island states who fear that even at this level their homes may be submerged.
Peak date for carbon emissions
"We should co-operate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries …" This vague phrase is a disappointment to those who want nations to set a date for emissions to fall, but will please developing countries who want to put the economy first.
"Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 as listed in appendix 1 before 1 February 2010."
This phrase commits developed nations to start work almost immediately on reaching their mid-term targets. For the US, this is a weak 14-17% reduction on 2005 levels; for the EU, a still-to-be-determined goal of 20-30% on 1990 levels; for Japan, 25% and Russia 15-25% on 1990 levels. The accord makes no mention of 2050 targets, which dropped out of the text over the course of the day.
"Substantial finance to prevent deforestation; adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity."
This is crucial because more than 15% of emissions are attributed to the clearing of forests. Conservation groups are concerned that this phrase lacks safeguards.
"The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources amounting to $30bn for 2010-12 … Developed countries set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries."
This is the cash that oils the deal. The first section is a quick financial injection from rich nations to support developing countries' efforts. Longer term, a far larger sum of money will be committed to a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. But the agreement leaves open the questions of where the money will come from, and how it will be used.
Key elements of earlier drafts dropped during yesterday's negotiations:
An attempt to replace Kyoto
"Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments …"
This preamble, killed off during the day, was the biggest obstacle for negotiators. It left open the question of whether to continue a twin-track process that maintains Kyoto, or whether to adopt a single agreement. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada are desperate to move to a one-track approach, but developing nations refused to kill off the protocol.
Deadline for a treaty
"… as soon as possible and no later than COP16 …"
This appeared in the morning draft and disappeared during the day; it set a December 2010 date for the conclusion of a legally binding treaty. The final text drops this date, but small print suggests it will still be next year.