position of the European Union
On 28 January 2009, the European Commission released a position
paper, "Towards a comprehensive climate agreement in
Copenhagen." The position paper "addresses three
key challenges: targets and actions; financing [of "low-carbon
development and adaptation"]; and building an effective
global carbon market".
by example, the European Union had committed to implementing
binding legislation, even without a satisfactory deal in
Copenhagen. Last December, the European Union revised its
carbon allowances system called the Emissions
Trading Scheme (ETS) designed for the post-Kyoto
period (after 2013). This new stage of the system aims at
further reducing greenhouse gases emitted in Europe in a
binding way and at showing the commitments the EU had already
done before the Copenhagen meeting. To avoid carbon leakage—relocation
of companies in other regions not complying with similar
legislation—the EU Commission will foresee that sectors
exposed to international competition, should be granted
some free allocations of CO2 emissions provided that they
are at least at the same level of a benchmark. Other sectors
should buy such credits on an international market. Energy
intensive industries in Europe have advocated for this benchmark
system in order to keep funds in investment capacities for
low carbon products rather than for speculations. The European
chemical industry claims here the need to be closer to the
needs of citizens in a sustainable way. To comply with such
commitments for a low-carbon economy, this requires competitiveness
On December 18 after a day of frantic negotiations between
heads of state, it was announced that a "meaningful
agreement" had been reached between the United States,
China, India, South Africa, and Brazil. The use of "meaningful"
was viewed as being political spin by an editorial in The
Guardian. An unnamed US government official was reported
as stating that the deal was a "historic step forward"
but was not enough to prevent dangerous climate change in
the future. However, the BBC's environment correspondent
stated: "While the White House was announcing the agreement,
many other – perhaps most other – delegations
had not even seen it.
comment from a UK official suggested the text was not yet
final and the Bolivian delegation has already complained
about the way it was reached – 'anti-democratic, anti-transparent
and unacceptable'. With no firm target for limiting the
global temperature rise, no commitment to a legal treaty
and no target year for peaking emissions, countries most
vulnerable to climate impacts have not got the deal they
on Saturday 19 December, delegates approved a motion to
"take note of the Copenhagen Accord of December 18,
2009". However it was reported that it was not yet
clear whether the motion was unanimous, or what its legal
implications are. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed
the US-backed climate deal as an "essential beginning".
It was unclear whether all 192 countries in attendance would
also adopt the deal. The Copenhagen Accord recognises the
scientific case for keeping temperature rises below 2°C,
but does not contain commitments for reduced emissions that
would be necessary to achieve that aim. One part of the
agreement pledges US$ 30 billion to the developing world
over the next three years, rising to US$ 100 billion per
year by 2020, to help poor countries adapt to climate change.
proposals, that would have aimed to limit temperature rises
to 1.5°C and cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 were dropped.
An agreement was also reached that would set up a deal to
reduce deforestation in return for cash from developed countries.
The agreement made was non-binding but U.S. President Obama
said that countries could show the world their achievements.
He said that if they had waited for a binding agreement,
no progress would have been made.