After the heat, a face-saver
Copenhagen, December 19
Tuvalu and Sudan said it was too weak, while Venezuela and Bolivia were upset because it had not been negotiated in the open by all the 192 countries attending the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference.
The impasse lasted seven hours, including three adjournments, after the final plenary session of the conference was convened at 3 am on Saturday, already 12 hours behind schedule. But when it was reconvened after the third adjournment, the chairman took just 30 seconds to say this conference was "taking note" of the Copenhagen accord, and brought down the gavel before any of the surprised delegates in the main plenary hall could react.
The chair's only concession to the countries with objections: The countries that approved the accord would be listed on the title page, he said.
Once they had taken in what happened, almost all the delegates stood and applauded loud and long.
Soon afterwards, a relieved-looking UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon came out of the plenary hall to tell the media: "Finally, we sealed the deal."
“It has been a long and interesting couple of days,” Ban said, referring to the negotiations after US President Barack Obama got together with the heads of India, China, Brazil and South Africa Thursday evening to stitch the Accord together.
Ban, who had not gone to his hotel room for two nights and had slept for a total of two hours during this period, said: "Bringing world leaders to the table paid off. This may not deliver what everyone hoped for, but it's an essential beginning." He added that now there was "convergence" on "transparency" over actions taken by developing countries to control their greenhouse gas emissions, referring to a long-fought dispute between rich countries and emerging economies. The Copenhagen accord would "launch a new era of green growth", Ban was confident.
He listed the next steps in the process: turning the accord into a legally binding global treaty; the launch of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund; and "turning our backs on the path of least resistance when it comes to mitigation actions" The accord had to be passed by the plenary session of the conference so that these steps could now be taken, explained an expert on UN procedures. Ban said: "It's a political accord, but with immediate operational effect."
He expected the fund to have $10 billion next month. Asked why the conference used the phrase that it had "taken note" of the accord, Ban explained it was to satisfy "some member states that were still reluctant. These are very difficult and complex negotiations". — IANS