Shortly before leaving Copenhagen yesterday, President Obama announced that he had succeeded in finalizing the text of an interim political agreement, the Copenhagen Accord, with the cooperation of a surprising array of parties from the developing world, including leaders from Brazil, South Africa, India, and China. This is a first step toward finishing a new internationally ratifiable agreement on climate change, which leaders hope will happen as soon as possible in 2010.
Most significantly, the accord — which has been recognized but not fully accepted by all nations — will launch a new Copenhagen Green Climate Fund next year, providing international financing to reduce deforestation and global warming impacts in vulnerable nations. The accord also marks the first time that the major polluters in the developing world, like India and China, have formally recognized they must commit to reducing global warming emissions.
Although this marks the first progress in the right direction on the international stage after eight long years of inaction under President Bush, much more must be done to stem the harm climate change has already done and to reduce the risk of catastrophic impacts in the future with a “fair, ambitious and legally binding deal,” starting with passage of strong climate legislation by the U.S. Congress. International environmental and human rights organizations agree that we’re “not done yet“:
Millions around the world look to the future and see hope, justice, and opportunity. It is up to each of us to make our voices heard and to get the real deal that the world needs. The world’s leaders still have a chance to get it right. They must realize that we expect, and will not accept, anything less. They’re not done yet. Neither are we.
Read the Wonk Room’s full coverage from Copenhagen here.
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said, “If this makes it through the meeting in a couple of hours’ time then I see it as a modest success. We could have achieved more.”