Foreign Policy Blogs

"The Copenhagen Accord"

This is the document that has taken many years and much blood, sweat, tears and toil from thousands of people to produce.  Yvo de Boer, head of the UNFCCC, described the accord as “politically important.” It provides an “architecture for a response to climate change.”

The “LA Times” had this story this morning:  Climate summit ends with major questions: ‘Breakthrough’ or ‘cop-out’? There was no formal vote to adopt the accord but the delegates “took note” of it, giving it something of an official seal of approval.  It is said that about 30 nations helped draft it.  “The Telegraph” has a useful Q&A on the deal here.

Clearly, there are warts but it was being touted yesterday by President Obama as a “a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough.” As everyone understands, there’s much more work to be done on the Accord to bring it into shape so that it can be fully accepted and signed as a treaty.  That may take a year, seeing it finalized at next year’s Conference of the Parties in Mexico City.

There is no dearth of opinion on the accord.  Many environmentalists are characterizing it as a failure.  The NRDC’s Dan Lashof, however, does call it a breakthrough “…because, for the first time, all major economies, including China, India, and Brazil, as well as the United States, Russia, Japan and the E.U., have made commitments to curb global warming pollution and report on their actions and emissions in a transparent fashion, subject to ‘international consultations and analysis.'”  I concur.

Mr. de Boer had this succinct summary of the outcome.




Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change