The Copenhagen Accord explained

Following two weeks of tense talks delegates at Copenhagen's COP15 have presented the world with an Accord.

The Copenhagen Accord stops short of being legally binding but does have some powers.

It is operational now and will be reviewed in 2015 when it could be improved depending on new agreements and the scientific evidence then.

The Accord starts: "We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

"We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."

The Chinese delegation proved to the sticking point in making any Copenhagen deal more meaningful.

China refused to agree to an international emissions monitoring, but has said it would measure then itself and report the findings.

Along with other developing countries this will be done on a two year reporting schedule, apparently due to start in 2011.

Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, denied blocking any deal saying today (December 21) his country had 'played an important and constructive role' in pushing the Copenhagen climate talks.

However, the Accord also says nothing about limiting pollution and while it's described by delegates as 'politically binding' in reality it has no legal ramifications and there's no timescale for changing that.

The deal protecting rainforests by paying developing nations to protect them, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), has been agreed.

But, as with other parts of the Accord, there is no timescale in place and it's unclear how it will be funded with only limited cash put forward so far.

Arguably the Accord biggest success is an agreement to keep world temperatures below 2C, which is an achievement, but one that Non Government Organisations (NGOs) were lobbying for more on at the talks.

Cash will be offered to the developing world to help them adapt to climate change and to invest in green technologies - nations also agreed to share their green technology but again set no date for starting this.

The Accord appears to show $30billion earmarked for supporting developed nations from 2010 to 2012, but a sticking point throughout the talks remains, with developed countries giving little sign of who pays what and when.

The next meeting will take place in Mexico next year in late November and early December.

Luke Walsh


COP15 Climate Talks


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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