Copenfailure: a first analysis

by | Dec 19, 2009


So here’s a very rough first analysis of the Copenhagen outcome.

Of the three Copenfailure scenarios David and I outlined, we think this morning’s Copenhagen Accord is closest to a very, very weak version of Bali #2. On that basis, here are 10 initial thoughts on what happened, where we go next, and how countries performed at the summit.

1. Don’t Panic.

2. We need to own up to how weak and ineffective deal-makers have been.

3. We also need to face the fact that the international system for dealing with climate is broken.

4. With this said, as UN Assistant Secretary-General Bob Orr observed in a press conference this morning, the head of governmment level engagement was “the most genuine negotiation I’ve ever seen between leaders”.

5. The main thing deal-makers need to do now remains: be brave, and steer into the skid.

With regard to countries’ positioning:

6. The US is still all about domestic legislation – which is as far away as ever.

7. The EU had a shocking summit, captured for all to see in its exclusion from the closing hours caucus of US, China, India, South Africa and Brazil. The open question of whether any hypothetical deal would have been bad enough for the EU to reject it did nothing whatsoever to enhance EU influence.

8. Appeasing China has failed. Period.

9. Much of the G77 participated in its own shafting – a point seen most clearly in Sudan’s chairmanship of the bloc.

10. But there are some weak signals of fragmentation in the G77 – seen most clearly in the case of the Maldives, which showed real determination in standing up to China.

Author

  • Alex Evans

    Alex Evans is founder of the Collective Psychology Project, which explores how we can use psychology to reduce political tribalism and polarisation, a senior fellow at New York University, and author of The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? (Penguin, 2017). He is a former Campaign Director of the 50 million member global citizen’s movement Avaaz, special adviser to two UK Cabinet Ministers, climate expert in the UN Secretary-General’s office, and was Research Director for the Business Commission on Sustainable Development. He was part of Ethiopia’s delegation to the Paris climate summit and has consulted for Oxfam, WWF UK, the UK Cabinet Office and US State Department. Alex lives with his wife and two children in Yorkshire.


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