Climate Conference

Copenhagen Over Without Binding Deal

Updated 14:19

As the Copenhagen Climate conference drew to a close it slowly became more obvious that no legally binding agreement on reduced emissions would be reached. Instead the result was a political agreement without any concrete figures on emission reduction.

It wasn’t until in the early morning hours that it became clear than no legally binding agreement would be reached. The meeting where the powers that be would answer the call of scientists to halt climate change ended in a vague settlement.  And the voluntary organisations present in Copenhagen class the whole summit a grand fiasco.

According to Marlene Grundström, climate advisor for Apodrev, a network of European charities, the meeting has been a resounding failure and a let down of the developing countries.

“It is important to stress that it is the developed countries that have failed to shoulder their responsibility and deliver,” she said to Swedish Radio News.

The new agreement concludes that the average temperature should not be allowed to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius. But there are no other figures mentioned regarding emission reductions. And the figure that politicians discussed before – a reduction of emissions of 50% by 2050 – has been omitted.

However, there are promises of funds from the industrial to the developing countries to enable them to adapt to the consequences of climate change. A foundation will be established that will give 100 billion dollars per annum by 2020.

The head of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso, was disappointed in the result.

"But this agreement is better than no agreement. This is a first step and we need many more," he said at a press conference after the conclusion of the conference.

Although the result of the meeting received harsh criticism, the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, still heading the EU, said on Saturday morning that it should still be seen as a step in the right direction.

“We are 193 nations here – this agreement may take us closer to reaching commitments that will manage the 2 degree goal," he said to Swedish Radio News.

He admitted that the negotiations have been tough and said that the one of the reasons for failing to reach a deal was a multitude of other discussions, unrelated to climate change, which took time. Also other countries did not come as well prepared for the negotiations as Sweden.This meeting, he said to Swedish Radio News, must be seen as an indication of the world’s lack of willing to stand up against climate change.

"Anyone who has been following this question over the last few years is very aware of that," Reinfeldt said.

The head of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso, was also disappointed in the result but said that this agreement is better than no agreement. This view he shares with many of the Europe’s leaders, including Gordon Brown from the United Kingdom.  

In a press conference held straight after talks had finished, Brown said the agreement was a "vital first step" and that there was a lot more work to do to before a decision could be reached and a legally binding agreement put in place.