Press Conference Results

11:10 pm.  The following is a summary of the press conference with President Obama reporting on any progress made regarding a tentative agreement (to be voted on tomorrow morning):

  • Financing, mitigation, transparency are key pillars
  • Final vote has not been done (tomorrow)
  • China, Ethiopia, South Africa, India, Brazil, US key players; all but Ethiopia had a meeting to finalize the drafted agreement
  • Max. warming 2 degrees
  • Keeps saying “actions”, but what kind?
  • Engagement of all nations equally
  • Renewable energy development part of developing clean economy
  • Each nation will put their own intentions regarding emission cuts into an appendix, to be subject to international analysis; not legally binding but voluntary, however precise reporting is expected
  • Targets are not sufficient on their own, hence this is a “first step”
  • Challenge for emerging countries in transition as this is the first time they offer mitigation targets
  • Example: US sets its own goals passed through its own house; will not be legally bound by an agreement but will reaffirm its commitment by its own actions (internally)
  • Claims the US entered with a “clean slate” since it was mostly on the sidelines
  • Common but differentiated responsibilities; everyone has to take responsibility, including those countries who need to be aware of their carbon output despite their need to develop (with financing mechanism in place)
  • More work and confidence/trust building between developed and developing nations before a binding treaty can be formed (apparently the US is in favour of a legally binding agreement despite all the internal action)
  • “Science indicates we are going to have to take more aggressive steps in the future”: but how far into the future?
  • This agreement is partially a starter for innovation, and tech breakthroughs are needed for real development, but we can start on what we have (which is the efficiency issue)

So…. basically the only things they have drafted, still to be voted on, are:

  • Maximum 2 degrees of warming
  • Financing mechanisms need to be put in place
  • Transparency and mitigation are important in the process
  • Each nation will annex its own targets
  • Common but differentiated responsibilities
  • Not legally binding, but rather a first step towards more ambitious actions and possible binding agreements in the (indefinite) future

11:30 pm

…And Obama has flown off with the Air Force One.  So basically the agreement is no real agreement. I’ll admit, while it’s not a great outcome, at least it’s not a terrible accord.  Tomorrow I’ll probably visit Sweden, and in the evening I’ll report on the vote. Summaries of the whole conference, including the COP, CMP, and Climate Summit, to be reported on sometime next week.

“Minute by minute coverage”: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6961367.ece

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