Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Compromise climate deal emerging in Copenhagen

  • Talks led by Danish PM Rasmussen dragged out until late at night. (Photo: Image.net)

A draft climate pact was emerging in the early hours of Friday (18 December) at the UN conference in Copenhagen, calling for a two degree Celsius cap on global warming and €70 billion in aid for poor nations by 2020.

The political agreement falls short of legally binding pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, an initial target at the so-called COP15 conference in Copenhagen. Late night talks on Thursday dragged on until early Friday morning, the last day of a two-week long event gathering some 120 world leaders.

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The draft still under discussion proposes limiting a rise in global average temperatures to within two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, anonymous sources told Reuters. It did not mention carbon emission reduction targets for industrialised nations.

The EU on Thursday night convened a special meeting of 26 influential leaders from all continents.

"We tried to find an umbrella political accord," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who holds the EU rotating presidency.

"We tried to advance the main points and have asked the 'sherpas' to work on the text through the night so we can discuss them tomorrow morning," he added.

US President Barack Obama was not present at the event, as he is due to arrive this morning. His foreign policy chief Hillary Clinton on Thursday indicated that the US would back a rich nations' contribution of €70 billion annually by 2020, to help poorer states fight climate change.

The key US demand for China, the world's greatest polluter, to show "transparency" when using money from the developing countries pot. Beijing has been hostile to this condition, with vice foreign ministerHe Yafei saying that China was ready to engage in "dialogue and co-operation that is not intrusive, that does not infringe on China's sovereignty". Mr Obama is set to meet Hu Jintao in Copenhagen for a one-on-one.

In a separate development, Mr Obama will use the opportunity of meeting his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to hammer out an agreement in principle on nuclear arms reduction. The US and Russia are in talks to produce a replacement for the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired on 5 December.

Greenpeace breaches security at gala dinner

Two Greenpeace activists dressed up as guests at a gala dinner on Thursday hosted by the Danish queen managed to get to the entrance and put up banners with "Politicians talk – leaders act." They were then escorted out by security officials.

Greepeace pulled a similar stunt last week in Brussels during a meeting of EU leaders which also focussed on the climate negotiations.

Stalemate in Copenhagen as climate talks enter final stretch

Ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama at the global climate talks, the Copenhagen process is on a knife-edge, with movement on some issues hinting at a deal, but at the same time the underlying acrimony between rich and poor nations suggesting the process could collapse in a morass of mutual suspicion.

Four EU states want 'automatic' refugee relocation

The interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy, and Malta are meeting on Monday to discuss a new temporary and voluntary agreement for the relocation of asylum seekers, that will prevent EU countries from negotiating case-by-case.

Opinion

Blocking Brexit will boost the far-right

Mainstream British politicians have a responsibility to find ways how to counter the growing far-right extremist threat. Overturning Brexit will only serve to intensify it.

Investigation

EU institution beset by harassment claims

Insiders at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the EU's smallest institution, have described a culture-of-fear environment in the workplace, in the wake of the probationary appointment of its newest secretary-general.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

News in Brief

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Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

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