The emergence of a deal in Copenhagen – albeit one not satisfactory to smaller developing nations – came after hours of tough negotiations. A US- led group of five nations, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa reached a last-minute agreement when it seemed the summit was bound to end in disarray.
Broadly agreed by EU leaders with some reservations – French President Sarkozy summed up the response of the developed nations:
“It caused a lot of tension, I am not going to deny that. There was a time we even thought some of the major participants were ready to leave the conference and we were facing the possibility of not reaching any agreement…… But had there not been an agreement, this would mean that two countries as significant as China and India, which represent two and a half billion out of six billion inhabitants of this planet would have been released from any form of obligation or constraint.”
The compromise deal is non-binding and sets no overall target for curbing greenhouse gas omissions.
Even some European leaders are sceptical. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it a first step. And President Obama stressed the need for more cooperation:
“The most important thing I think we can do at this point – and that we began to accomplish but are not finished with – is to build some trust between the developing and developed countries.”
So the outcome has proved a disappointment to those who anticipated the Copenhagen Accord would result in a legal commitment to a CO2 reduction target. As protesters held an all-night vigil outside the conference venue, Greenpeace condemned the deal as lacking substance and taking several steps back from the Kyoto Protocol.