Climate Groundhog Day

“This agreement is a vital step forward for the whole world,” Gordon Brown after the Bali climate summit in December 2007.

“This is the first step we are taking towards a green and low carbon future for the world,” Gordon Brown after the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009.

“A pivotal first step toward an agreement that can address the threat of climate change,” Ban Ki-Moon after the Bali climate summit in December 2007.

“It is a step in the right direction,” Ban Ki-Moon after the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009.

Copenfailure: a first analysis

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.

Test your social media IQ

From Sparxoo, this:

1. Do you have a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook?
2. Do you have more than 300 friends on Facebook?
3. Do you know what a twestival is?
4. Do you have so many Facebook friends, that you’ve actually started to de-friend people?
5. Have you tried other social networks such as Friendster, Myspace, or more niche communities?
6. Do you have a Facebook app on your phone?
7. Do you know who Mark Zuckerberg is?
8. Do you update your Facebook status at least once every 24 hours?
9. Have you heard of FourSquare?
10. Have you read Trust Agents or the New Influencer?
11. Do more people follow you than you follow on Twitter?
12. Do you have a “persona” (i.e. use the same pseudonym across all social platforms)?
13. Are you on more than 15 Twitter lists?
14. Do your friends like four out of five of your Facebook status updates?
15. Are you such a social media maven you need a manager like HooteSuite?
16. Do you have more than 5 Twitter lists?
17. Do you find out about valuable articles through Twitter?
18. Do you participate in Twitter games, like #followfriday?
19. Do your followers retweet your tweets?
20. Do you have more than 250 connections on LinkedIn?

Now count up all the times you answered yes and let’s see how you did:

18-20 — Social Maniac
14-17 — Social Climber
8-13 — Social Wannabe
Less than 7 — Newbie

On the web: nuclear progress, gold bubbles, Ashton’s diplomacy, and key thinkers of 2009…

– With the US and Russia reportedly close to agreeing a successor START deal, Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi chart the next steps for a secure nuclear future. Details of their recently published report on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament can be found here. Henry Kissinger, meanwhile highlights the importance of kick-starting progress on six-party talks with North Korea.

– Elsewhere, Nouriel Roubini reflects on “gold bubbles” and the need to beware the calls of “gold bugs”, given that the “recent rise in gold prices is only partially justified by fundamentals”. The FT’s Alphaville blog offers an alternate view.

– Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, outlines her vision of a “quiet diplomacy” keenly focused on “getting results”. The BBC’s Europe Editor, Gavin Hewitt, assesses the upcoming challenges she is likely to face – whether a winter energy crisis, shaping a coherent EU policy towards the Middle East, or establishing the much-trumpeted EU diplomatic service. Charlemagne, meanwhile, argues that when it comes to European foreign policy there are simply “too many cooks”. Philip H. Gordon, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, offers his thoughts on what the post-Lisbon landscape is likely to mean for US-EU relations.

– Finally, Prospect presents 25 key public intellectuals that have helped us navigate the squalls of the financial crisis – Simon Johnson, Avinash Persaud, and Adair Turner make up the top 3. Niall Ferguson, meanwhile, offers his take on the most influential thinkers of the past now showing renewed relevance – Keynes, Polanyi, Kindleberger and Darwin, among others, have places on his list.

Another Lord Monckton classic

This just in from Andrew Ward:

Environmental groups have complained about heavy-handed tactics by Danish police throughout the conference. But they can be reassured that climate change sceptics are receiving the same treatment.

Christopher Monckton, the British hereditary peer and high-profile sceptic, claims to have been knocked unconscious by police after being refused entry to the conference hall. The 57 year-old, who was an adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, gave a blow by blow account on his blog.

“I came to some time later, to find my head being cradled by my friends, some of whom were doing their best to keep the police thugs at bay,” he wrote, adding a characteristically right-wing interpretation of the incident. “It is exactly this species of tyranny that the UN would like to impose upon the entire planet.”

More from Lord M later in the programme…

Heading for the crash? – Obama’s Copenhagen speech

David Corn at Mother Jones has been one of the must-read bloggers from Copenhagen over the last fortnight. Here’s an edited-down version of his take on Obama’s speech in the plenary session this morning (emphasis added):

Obama’s eight-minutes of remarks signaled a global train wreck. Not hiding his anger and frustration, he said, “I think our ability to take collective action is in doubt.” He maintained that his administration has started to mount an “ambitious” plan to cut emissions. And he contended that it is “in our mutual interest to achieve a global accord in which we agree to  steps, and to hold each other accountable for certain commitments.” According to his prepared text, Obama was next supposed to say, “I believe that the pieces of that accord are now clear.” (Emphasis added.) Instead, he asserted, “I believe that the pieces of that accord should now be clear.” That is, there was no consensus among the major global leaders regarding what a deal would look like–not even one that would paper over the deep differences that have plagued the Copenhagen summit from the start: what targets to set; how to include both developed and developing countries within the same framework; what financing would be available for international programs to help poorer nations contend with climate change.

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