A Sham” and “A Climate Crime Scene” or “A Major Step Forward”? Mixed Reactions from Environmental Groups on Copenhagen Accord

By Lindsey Ellerson

Dec 18, 2009 6:51pm

“The Copenhagen outcome is not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding,” Nicole Granacki chief organizer for Greenpeace in Chicago emails. “The job of world leaders is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change. The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. 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.”

But while Carl Pope of the Sierra Club agrees “the official political statement coming out of COP15 is relatively weak and incomplete — more of a commitment to keep talking than a real agreement” – he also calls the accord, in his blog, “a major step forward. And perhaps most importantly, it puts to rest the claim that China and India would never join, nor be held accountable for, an international accord — the core argument that has held back Congressional action on U.S. clean-energy legislation.”

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund in the United States, writes that the “agreement that will capture commitments of key countries and achieves agreement on transparency with China – a key contentious issue that has now been solved. As the President acknowledged, there still remains a huge gap between what we need to do to solve climate change and the commitments on the table.  We need the US to reduce emissions further, and to challenge others to do the same.  The next step is to take these announcements and give them life, by passing climate legislation at home, and do so with the urgency that this crisis demands."

But Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth U.S., calls the accord a “sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one — it isn’t even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate.”

“We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one facing humanity is a leadership crisis,” Granacki continues, saying “the US failed to take any real leadership and dragged the talks down. 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.”

-jpt

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