Copenhagen Looks Stuck

Jeffrey Ball, Stephen Power, and Guy Chazan write for the Wall Street Journal,

COPENHAGEN — Negotiators at the United Nations climate summit scrambled Wednesday to bridge multibillion-dollar disagreements as President Barack Obama and other world leaders prepared to descend on the Danish capital Friday.

As night fell in Copenhagen Wednesday, it appeared that the leaders could arrive for the summit’s final sessions with significant work to do to achieve Mr. Obama’s goal of a “meaningful” climate agreement.

Mr. Obama has gotten personally involved in a last-ditch lobbying effort, calling large and small nations seen as pivotal to breaking an impasse. Failure to ink even a nonbinding political deal in Copenhagen would be an embarrassment to Mr. Obama, who has made attacking climate change a centerpiece of his agenda.

Mr. Obama has telephoned leaders in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Brazil, Grenada, France, Germany and the U.K. as U.S., European Union and Australian negotiators lobby others in the so-called G-77 group of poorer nations “who know it’s in their strategic interest…not to go along with the others,” said one official involved in the talks. In some cases, negotiators for G-77 nations approached their bigger Western interlocutors, offering input as they tried to hash out a deal.

The White House said Wednesday that the talks were deadlocked.

Danish negotiators talked Wednesday with officials from a number of delegations to try to hash out elements of a potential agreement. Ideas under discussion include calling on nations to make emission cuts by 2020 that they have already promised, outline cumulative emission limits the developed world should meet by 2030, and include a target for a cumulative emission limit by 2050 for the entire world. None of these would be binding.

Also under discussion is the creation of a fund of about $30 billion that developed countries would offer to pay for emission-reduction efforts in developing countries through 2012.

One element of a potential Copenhagen result emerged Wednesday as the U.S., Britain, France, Australia, Japan and Norway pledged $3.5 billion Wednesday toward slowing the cutting of forests in developing countries. But that offer depends on a broader agreement.

In addition, negotiators are looking at a way to resolve a dispute over how nations would verify that other countries are making promised emission cuts. Under discussion is a proposal that would set minimum standards of information sharing.

read more at the Wall Street Journal

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