Dispatch from Copenhagen

Major papers are reporting that a final deal has been reached in Copenhagen: the “Copenhagen Accord”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/19/science/earth/19climate.html?hp

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/18/AR2009121800637.html?hpid=topnews

The Post has a link to a copy of the deal, but I’m not sure if this is the final final, or just close-to-final.  My reaction on a quick read-through is that this is a fig leaf that papers over most of the major conflicts.  Most of what is in this deal was already agreed to before Copenhagen.  There is a commitment to an aggregate reduction in global GHG emissions of 50% below 1990 levels by 2050, but still no firm numbers for 2020.  There is some important new language on monitoring and verification in Par. 5, and the agreement sets a new benchmark for financing: $100 billion + will now become the standard debated in future negotiations.

News outlets are reporting that an earlier draft from this morning set a deadline to complete a binding treaty by the next Conference of the Parties in Mexico City (scheduled for Dec. 2010).  This Accord has no firm deadline to conclude a treaty, but merely calls for “review of this Accord and its implementation” by 2016.  That’s a long way away.  If there is pressure to conclude a treaty, it won’t come from this document, but rather from domestic politics.

All in all, a very depressing document for a conference that carried such high expectations.

Noah

_______________________________________________

Noah Sachs

Associate Professor

Director, Merhige Center for Environmental Studies University of Richmond School of Law Richmond VA, 23173

804-289-8555

nsachs@richmond.edu

http://law.richmond.edu/faculty/nsachs.php

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