(IP) –The historic 18th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Summit held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the largest ever gathering of its kind, was attended by approximately 15,000 delegates: official representatives from 192 nations, political leaders, members from hundreds of non-governmental organizations, and thousands of citizens of the world. All arrived with no delusions about the ideological, logistical, and strategic battle that would take place in the Belle Center in the Danish capital. The hope and anticipation stemmed by the prospect of the adoption, by the most powerful nations of the world, of binding measures to replace the Kyoto Protocol of 2007, curtail global warming at less than 2 degrees Celsius and prevent catastrophic climate change quickly evaporated under the heated debate of each day’s sessions.
A final proposal of the U.S., India, China, South Africa, and Brazil, negotiated behind closed doors, served as the last-ditch effort to produce some collaborative action on the apparently elusive challenge posed to the delegates – to reach a meaningful, viable, and legally binding international accord. The twelve-page document proposes to limit global warming to the two degree limit, however, does not detail how this would be achieved. President Barack Obama, visibly frustrated during points in the negotiations, announced the plan, which was largely criticized. “It will not be legally binding, but what it will do is allow for each country to show to the world what they’re doing, and there will be a sense on the part of each country that we’re in this together, and we’ll know who is meeting and who is not meeting the mutual obligations that have been set forth.”
The summit rapidly assumed the form and tone of a global microcosm, with lines of demarcation already in place as the addresses commenced; each delegation, with its central and monumental concerns, agendas, and perspectives that were elaborated in succession.
Questions also surfced of emails taken from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in England implied that trusted researchers had been tweaking the math to make climate change look worse than it actually is.