COPENHAGEN - President Obama may have improved his chances for passing global warming legislation in the Senate by forging an interim international agreement here that puts both rich and poor countries on a path to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
The Copenhagen Climate Accord was engineered by the US and BASIC countries, that is, Brazil, South Africa, India and China. Considering that despite being a major polluter the US has stayed out of UN negotiations on climate change and that emerging economies were not part of the policy-making process, it is good that climate talks have now become more inclusive.
The negotiations ended on Friday with the conclusion that emission cuts will be open to international review. Obama still has much to do both to sell the Copenhagen Accord internationally and move climate legislation on Capitol Hill. Conservative Republicans and longtime industry opponents quickly savaged the agreement as a toothless failure. And many other moderates that Obama likely will need to pass a climate bill remained far from convinced the international deal has any merit.
Even if the intentions are clear, a way towards achieving it is far more clear . What are the quantifiable targets for rich countries to reduce emissions? What is the time frame? How will the UN ensure that the promised $30 billion between 2010-2012 and the $100 billion a year from 2020 onwards as assistance from the rich to poor countries (announced by the US, not the UN) are deposited in the fund and disbursed equitably? The deal acknowledges that countries need to work towards limiting global temperatures but experts say that the accord has long way to go. We are more likely to see a rise in global temperature because the accord is not an implementation yet.