World leaders failed to deliver a legally binding deal in Copenhagen that will begin to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions that are the cause of climate change.
It’s that simple.
While we can point to the attempted happy face that politicians are trying to put on the so-called “Copenhagen Accord” that came out of this two-year negotiating process, the bottom line is that what has been delivered here is a promise to do something later on down the road.
Politicians love to make commitments to commit to action later. This “let’s strike a committee” technique allows them to look like they’re doing something while doing nothing at all.
Outside of anything politicians did over the last two years in this negotiating process, there were a few bright lights.
First was the coming together of disparate groups behind the single issue of climate change. Whether it is human rights groups, environmentalists or anti-poverty campaigners, almost the entire body known as civil society has now made climate change an important mandate within their organization. This has galvanized a worldwide movement that will put immense pressure on world leaders in the coming months.
The second bright light is an outcropping of the first.
I have never had so many people I know, everyday people who are normally not interested in the issue, want to talk about climate change. The everyday person has woken up to the issue of climate change and is interested in not only learning more about it, they are starting to question the lack of concern and desire for immediate action on behalf of they’re elected officials.
Combine these two bright lights: the galvanization of a worldwide movement and the concern of everyday people and you have a formula for success. If I were a politician, I would be sweating today because the days of platitudes and pretty “green” photo-ops is over. Failure to deliver an international treaty in the coming months will see a lot of grumpy voters in forthcoming elections.
So our politicians have failed us here in Copenhagen and anyone who says they have not needs to take off their rose-colored glasses and take this failure for what it is: an opportunity to fight like never before with the support of more ground troops than any time in history.
There is a coming storm on the issue of climate change.