Copenhagen Climate Change Conference: Day 9 Recap

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The UN Climate Change Conference is entering the decisive phase, as heads of state and government begin to arrive for the final few days of negotiations.

While UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is saying the leaders are facing a “defining moment in history”. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, offers a more sobering assessment stating the deal “faces problems” and wonders if a deal will be reached at all.

There are many reports coming out of the Danish capital, suggesting that mood inside the conference is just as hostile as outside where police and protestors continue clash.

Politicians are already starting to manage the worlds expectations, and suggest the deal, if any will not be close to ideal.

Danish minister Connie Hedegaard said in her address “in these very hours, we are balancing between success and failure. Success is within reach, but, I must also warn you, we can also fail”. Even the normally positive UN Secretary General is sounding a little defeated, stating “three years of effort have come down to three days of action. Let us not fail in the home stretch. No one will get everything they want in this negotiation”.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is in Copenhagen without parliamentary approval of his proposed carbon trade laws, said “I think to land a strong agreement in Copenhagen we are going to have to see more compromise all round, from big developed economies as well as the emerging economies. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us”.

It always worries me when politician’s who by in large have spent most of their careers in some form of negotiation, come out and make obvious statements. It feels like the “spin machine” is hard at work.

Given the name calling between super-power nations, leaders of delegations walking out in anger, you begin to sense that the globe will be getting a lump of coal in their stocking this Christmas.

In other developments.

South Korea announced it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by four percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. This makes the country the first emerging economy to take on an absolute reduction commitment and not only a relative commitment compared to a business as usual scenario.

When Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama lands in Copenhagen he will have very big bundle of cash with him. It is reported that Japan is ready to invest $10 billion US dollars to help developing countries fight global warming. Japan is the worlds fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a speech Tuesday he encouraged international agreements, but also said they wont be enough to combat global warming. “The worlds governments alone cannot make the progress that is needed on global climate change. They need the cities, the states, the provinces, the regions. They need the corporations, the activists the scientists, the universities” said Schwarzenegger.

Three days to go, and by most accounts, a lot of work left to be done.

  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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