Green lobby attacks failure of leadership

Michael McCarthy
Saturday 19 December 2009 05:45

Early today environmentalists reacted with great dismay at the accord, while there was still confusion as to its exact status.

Although the document referred to all nations present at Copenhagen, it was essentially agreed between the US and the European Union, and the four leading developing countries – China, India, Brazil and South Africa – while the rest of the 192 nations present had still to accept it formally, which was not certain.

The Sudanese chairman of the G77 group of 130 developing countries, Lumumba Di-Aping, fiercely criticiSed the deal, saying it had committed "grave errors" and was "extraordinarily flawed". "What has happened today concerns what we have been suspicious of – that a deal will be superimposed by the United States with the help of the Danish government on all nations of the world," he said. "Let me put it in clear terms. President Obama, in acting the way he did, definitely eliminated any difference between him and the Bush tradition."

But although it was possible that the pact would be accepted in the early hours of the morning, green campaigners rejected it out of hand. "It's not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding," said Kumi Naidoo Executive Director of Greenpeace International. "The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.

"World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through. Climate science says we have only a few years left to halt the rise in emissions before making the kind of rapid reductions that would give us the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. We cannot change that science, so instead we will have to change the politics – and we may well have to change the politicians."

"They may think it's all over, but this deal is far from done," said David Nussbaum, chief executive of the UK branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature. "After years of negotiations we have reached a declaration of will which currently binds no one and fails to guarantee a safe climate for future generations. As it stands, this weak accord will not keep global warming below the dangerous level of C."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments