Lars Lokke Rasmussen: A hard-headed pragmatism must dictate talks in Copenhagen

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The Independent Online

The Copenhagen Agreement should capture progress already achieved in the negotiations and at the same time provide for immediate action from next year. The Copenhagen Agreement should be political by nature, yet precise on specific commitments and binding on countries committing to reach certain targets and to undertake certain actions or provide agreed finance.

It should be global, comprehensive and substantial, yet flexible enough to accommodate countries with very different national circumstances. And it should finally mandate continued legal negotiations and set a deadline for their conclusion. We have set out this vision of "one Agreement – two purposes" and we will consult you on the way ahead in our efforts to build global consensus on the specific terms of the agreement. In this regard, I would like to address some questions about the proposed format of the Copenhagen Agreement.

Will it be ambitious? Yes, it will: the overall aim will be to conclude a binding agreement that will set the path to limit global warming to a maximum of C as recommended by science. Will it divert from the agreed principles and instruments? No, absolutely not: the agreement will build on already agreed legal instruments and principles. Will it only be a partial agreement? No – we cannot do half a deal in Copenhagen and postpone the rest until later. The agreement will cover all the key issues and all parts of the Bali mandates. I do not share the view that it will be possible in Copenhagen to do some parts of the deal and not the other. We need the commitments. We need the figures. We need the action.

Will it be binding? Yes, it will be binding: even if we may not hammer out the last dots of a legally binding instrument, I do believe a politically binding agreement with specific commitment to mitigation and finance provides a strong basis for immediate action in the years to come.

What matters is the ability of this agreement to capture and reinforce global commitment to real actions. Equity and realism must guide our efforts. We should not look for another international declaration of intent but strive for an agreement to commit.

Taken from the Danish Prime Minister's speech to leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum in Singapore yesterday