An Incineration Pact for Africa

Like Barack Obama at his hoax press conference, STEPHANIE EDWARDS says the right deal at Copenhagen simply failed to turn up.

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The Copenhagen Conference, and its two years of hype, has finally produced a crucial ‘deal’ document. 

Predictably vague, one Sudanese delegate said it spelled "incineration" for Africa and compared it to the Nazis sending "6 million people into furnaces" in the Holocaust.

But what does the deal really mean? That is, besides £130 million, 600 arrests, 41,000 tons of CO2 and 1400 prostitutes (the number, according to The Daily Mail, offering ‘free services’ to delegates wearing their conference passes). The Tab's guide explains…

Article 9 (the big dog accord) fills 5 pages with just 1 solid commitment; to write more accords. So what did the 192 countries actually agree, informally that is?

1. That climate change is ‘one of the greatest challenges of our time’. 

2. That ALL countries ought therefore to limit their emissions before the climate changes irreversibly, a threshold that ‘science’ equates to a temperature change of less than 1.5 – 2 degrees (the developing nations walkout earlier in the week was in part due to a disagreement over this value).

3. But, that developing countries (particularly Africa and small island states, apparently) should (rightly) concentrate on poverty eradication.

4. And that developed countries should agree to provide a (sustainable yet adequate) amount of money to more ‘vulnerable’, developing countries to ‘support the implementation of adaptation action’ in developing countries. What that is, I’m not sure and I’m not convinced the delegates know either.

5. That developed countries should commit to specific emissions reductions by the 31st  January 2010, so that another accord can be compiled. Kyoto advocates aren’t let off the hook though; these parties will also have to increase their current targets.

6. Developing countries also need to submit targets by the 31st January. Well not so much targets, more voluntary action depending on the support of developed nations.

7. The progress of these promises will be both internationally and nationally monitored to ensure that ‘accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent’.

8. That developing countries should provide incentives for low emitting economies to continue to develop on a low emissions pathway.

9. That incentives should also be provided to stop deforestation.

10. The total funding from developed to developing nations for technological adaptation and incentives should increase to $100 billion p.a. by 2020. All this dosh should go through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, which will be managed by a new High Level Panel and other committees too dull to mention.. really.

11. That ANOTHER accord will be compiled in 2015.

Tragically, the deal has not produced commitments concrete enough to save the millions of potential climate change victims in the developing world.

But, Ban Ki Moon thinks it’s a start, and I’d be reluctant to disagree with him. It might not be the all encapsulating deal that The Guardian hoped for, but crucially the USA and China have agreed to something at least.

More action, less talk is ineviatably needed (thank you Mr.Obama), but the accord represents a tentative step in the right direction. Here’s to many more of them.