January 15, 2010
The last day of January marks the deadline for parties to the Copenhagen Accord to submit their respective plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The accord’s authors clearly wanted the deadline to serve as an indicator of whether the Copenhagen Accord is substantive enough to carry the world to the next stage of negotiations — a binding legal agreement to solve the climate crisis.
On January 24, negotiators from Brazil, China, India, and South Africa — the so-called BASIC group — are scheduled to meet in New Delhi to discuss the accord they helped to negotiate with President Obama on the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference. Actions by a number of nations, including the BASIC counties would provide evidence that the accord has the potential to be the agreement that many were expecting to see delivered in Copenhagen.
Will the world sign on to the Copenhagen Accord? That is not at all assured. U.S. climate organizations, for instance, generally support the accord as a measure of the Obama administration’s commitment to action, and an important step to build momentum for Congressional climate and energy legislation this year. International climate organizations are finding it more difficult to endorse the agreement. They assert that the Copenhagen Accord is not nearly ambitious enough, and fails to take into account the latest climate science and the urgency of global warming. In addition they warn that a delay in action will eventually increase the cost of pursuing real solutions by $500 billion annually.
If the four BASIC nations join the accord and include the emissions reductions they announced in the lead-up to Copenhagen, those two actions would encourage other developing nations to add their own reductions to the accord. The result could be an agreement approaching global scale. And that has domestic and international significance.
A Copenhagen Accord embodying significant reductions from all of the major economies of the world would simultaneously strengthen the administration’s work to gain a climate bill in Congress and sharpen the outlines of the binding global climate agreement that can’t come soon enough.
USCAN is documenting the signees to the accord and their emissions reduction commitments. Look for that information starting next week.
Talk to you again next week,