5 april 2009

Hopes for climate treaty set back by G20's weasel words

World further from agreement than two years ago

Independent, April 5, 2009
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor.

It was meant, in Gordon Brown's words, to strike "a global green new deal" to tackle climate change and pull the world out of recession at the same time. In fact, the G20 meeting has sharply put back the chance of an international pact to stop global warming running out of control.

Far from being at the heart of last week's London summit, the looming climate crisis was relegated to a brief, vague and weaselly-worded afterthought at the very end of the communiqué. This has had an immediate dampening effect on negotiations on a new treaty supposed to be agreed at a vital meeting in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Participants in the negotiations – now under way in Bonn – say that, partly as a result, they are now further from reaching agreement than they were towards the end of George Bush's presidency, despite the new energy and commitment brought to environmental matters by the Obama administration. Rich and poor countries now appear to be further apart than at the end of 2007, when the former president was still trying to obstruct progress.

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