The title of this Copenhagen retrospective at Economist.com says it all, although many would disagree with the judgement. The accord sets no targets, and requires no action from anyone. It’s not clear if more talks will flesh it out. The process was ‘fractious and unproductive’ but it did produce a deal, however minimal.
Tom Friedman of the New York Times calls Copenhagen a ‘bust’ in this OpEd piece, which really compares the governance of Denmark and the US. Denmark is well on its way to a green economy; in the US all of the good ideas are ‘off the table.’ Such dysfunction dooms the US to losing to Denmark and others like it.
Philip Bowring argues in this OpEd New York Times piece that only unilateral action, not horse-trading, will induce countries to cut their emissions. Only the US can provide leadership. If it does, the rest will follow. If it doesn’t, emission cuts, like trade liberalization, will happen slowly if at all.
This New York Times report touches on energy efficiency, economics, public health, and the environment in New York City. Heavy heating oil causes an inordinate amount of the city’s pollution; just 9,000 (1%) of the buildings create 87% of the soot. Yet boiler conversion and unit fuel costs can be recouped in about 2 years
This Copenhagen assessment at CNN.com is by Lisa Margonelli of the New America Foundation. She sees the 3-page ‘Copenhagen Accord’ as a futuristic document personally crafted by the leaders of the new century’s big powers: China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and the US. Led by President Obama, the leaders of 3 billion people propelled climate to global relevance. Carbon will be part of regional trade pacts, with emissions monitored remotely. The US must define a fairer low carbon 21st century.