Climate shame: get back to the table

Initial analysis of the Copenhagen climate talks

Publication date: 21 December 2009

Copenhagen was a unique opportunity to turn the world’s course away from climate disaster, towards a safe future for all of us on this small planet. Massive global public mobilization demanded it.

But leaders of the major powers negotiated for their national interests, instead of safeguarding our shared destiny:

  • In the closing hours of negotiations, world leaders drew up the Copenhagen Accord. It grabbed headlines, but offered no lifelines – and so may end up on the sidelines. The talks ended with little more than agreement to keep talking, offering just a dim beacon for the way forward.
  • At a time when the urgency of the climate challenge is blatantly clear, stand-offs between the most powerful countries have left the world heading towards 4oC global warming – a catastrophic prospect, most especially for the world’s poorest people.

Negotiations must get straight back on track. All countries need to get back round the table and deliver what science – and people worldwide – are demanding: a fair, ambitious and binding deal in 2010.