With less than 80 days remaining until government officials and national delegates convene in Copenhagen to agree on a framework that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, target expectations and hopes for a framework that will satisfy both developing and developed countries have begun to ebb.
Since gaining the EU’s rotating Presidency in July, Sweden has been outlining the position that the EU will take on the negotiations in Copenhagen this upcoming December. While initially optimistic, Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren have recently begun to adopt a slightly less optimistic tone when speaking about the likelihood of a solid and satisfactory framework to come out of Copenhagen.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says that the conference should be seen as a starting point
, as it seems that an agreement to keep global warming below the two degree target will likely not be reached by that time.
“I am confident that we will have an agreement, but at this point I doubt it will be enough to reach the two degrees target. The world is set on making a deal, but compared to the 2006 situation a lot of momentum has been lost. Too many seem to want others to take on the burdens.”
While attending a UN-DESA forum in New York this past Friday, I heard similar sentiments from the forum leaders. Kim Carstensen, Leader of the Climate Change Initiative for the World Wildlife Fund told our group, “There will be a framework that can be used. Maybe not out of Copenhagen but as a result of that process […] Copenhagen will not be enough.”
Is it possible to work through these set-backs and develop something more than a bare framework as we approach the final hour? There are only a few more events before Copenhagen where progress can be made and I believe such progress is highly unlikely. Despite the numerous meetings, negotiations, and summits this past year, it appears that much less has been achieved than originally hoped following COP-14 in Poznan last year and two months will unlikely change this trajectory.
Paige Andrews is a regular contributor to Change2 and is currently the Director of Research at Climatico which provides independent analysis of international climate change policy. Paige will be attending and reporting from COP-15 in Copenhagen this December.