Today the IPCC launches its latest review of world climate. But how to translate its grim findings into action when US is deploying its full armoury of intelligence and diplomatic dirty tricks to sink any prospect of an effective global climate agreement?
The climate talks were deliberately and highly effectively scuppered by a ‘dirty tricks’ operation carried out by the NSA and other US security agencies – including the pivotal leak to The Guardian of the Danish text.
Today the IPCC revealed its latest information on how human emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting planet Earth, and will continue to do so way into the future.
The diagnosis, and the prognosis, both make terrifying reading. We can expect declining crop yields, increasing climate instability, more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ocean acidification – and all the rest of it.
But what really matters is what, if anything, we do about it. And despite the increasing certainty that the world is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, there is precious little chance that the world’s governments will suddenly take effective action.
Last time they seriously tried, at Copenhagen in 2009, that attempt was spectacularly blown out of the water. Today we ask – how, why, and who did it?
What really happened at ‘Hopenhagen’?
The 2009 Climate Summit in Copenhagen was promoted as being the world’s ‘great hope’ to secure an international agreement to tackle climate change.
Most countries entered into the negotiations with immense goodwill – even though there were always going to be thorny, complex issues to tackle, such as: how emissions cuts were to be divided up among countries; and how much money rich countries would pay over to poor countries suffering the impacts of climate change to help them adapt and move to low carbon development pathways.
But the hope did not last long. As The Guardian‘s Environment Editor John Vidal commented on Democracy Now:
“Copenhagen was just a complete nightmare, a diplomatic meltdown, I think is the fairest way to say it, where you had countries accusing each other of genocide.
“You had a total failure of the diplomatic process, that text which was meant to enhance everybody and bring them together in fact did the absolute opposite, and it shattered the confidence and the trust between different countries.”
So what caused the meltdown?
The event that caused the initial breakdown in trust at Copenhagen was the leak of the so-called ‘Danish text‘ by The Guardian on 8th December – an outline agreed by several EU states. The US was deliberately kept out of the formulation of the text due to suspicions by Denmark and other countries that it would abuse the information.
As the newspaper reported in its lead news story of the day:
“The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.”
Among other measures, it proposed ending the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, getting developing countries to agree to emissions cuts, and to weaken the role of the UNFCCC in taking negotiations forward and running climate financing arrangements.