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Climate change summit results 'failure'

Dec 21, 2009 - Energy Central

The climate change summit in Denmark, expected to produce a historic document, fell way short of the mark, officials and organizations said.

European leaders called the two-week gathering at Copenhagen "disappointing" while environmental organizations characterized it as a "failure," the EUobserver.com reported.

After nearly two weeks of stalled talks on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gases, the countries approved a five-page document that recognizes the need to limit global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius over 10 years, but doesn't require signatories to take measures to address climate change.

As explained by U.S. President Barack Obama Friday, countries will list "concrete commitments" into the document's appendix, and would be subject to international consultation and analysis, leading to a hoped-for more binding document later. Among other things, the accord also sets a goal of delivering $100 billion annually to developing countries to help them address climate change.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden's prime minister and sitting as EU's six-month rotating president, said the conference's document won't counter global warming.

"Let's be honest. This is not a perfect agreement. It will not solve the climate threat," he told EUobserver.com.

The agreement, while a step forward was "clearly below our ambitions," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. "I will not hide my disappointment."

The United States bullied developing countries "into backing a plan that completely undermines the existing U.N. process," said Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth executive director. "This summit has been a complete failure -- the climate accord should be sent to the recycling bin."