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Copenhegan Summit

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Negotiating 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".

Leading 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 and innovations.


Outcome
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.

A 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 wanted."

Early 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.

Earlier 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.

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