Copenhagen: flop or foundation for later success?

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The EU was left on the sidelines during the final stages of the negotiations. Perhaps the EU should add some flexibility to its negotiation tactics?

During Copenhagen, it became quite clear to the forest industry that the world is not ready for a low-carbon bioeconomy, but instead remains stuck on fossil fuels.  Renewable natural resources such as wood were still not granted a special status and the work to define the concept of forest sinks remains incomplete.  

The commitment made in Copenhagen is not in any way comparable to the EU’s climate and energy policy commitments. The problem of carbon leakage was not resolved. An equal competitive status for companies from different parts of the world was not guaranteed. The EU’s unilateral climate targets still resemble a minor working bee, falling far short of the effort required to clean up the world.

Developing countries were promised some dough to help curb climate change, but, as a whole, the negotiations flopped like a pancake. The necessary effort will once again balloon to unruly proportions by the Mexico convention, but matters will hopefully be brought to conclusion in that warmer environment.
The EU and the USA are worlds apart

The EU has for long been flying at the head of the flock on climate issues, but an elegant landing was now beyond its capabilities. It should finally have become clear that the USA, for example, is not at all interested in following the EU’s lead on the climate – meaning that the final outcome of the Copenhagen Convention was a hastily drafted statement by the USA, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

World nations will announce their own emission reduction targets during the early part of 2010. The USA is expected to announce a “drastic” goal to reduce emissions by three percent from 1990 levels. The EU should not increase its own targets in any way against such a trivial offer because this would weaken the EU’s competitive standing even further. Instead, we should establish a genuine negotiative relationship and work to resolve the deadlock.

European industry needs a stable climate policy that enables it to anticipate future developments. The EU should establish clear operating prerequisites for clean industry. Europe is in an excellent position to lead the way in the creation of a low-emission bioeconomy, and the forest industry wants to contribute to this effort.

Industry means doing, manufacturing and producing. The development of European industry must be encouraged in order to supply people with climate-friendly products and services at a reasonable price. This development presupposes an equitable competitive position with the rest of the world.

I hope that an agreement on how to reduce emissions sufficiently and in a fair manner will be reached under the Mexican sun at the latest.

Ahti Fagerblom,
From the land of the Little Mermaid and Santa Claus

The author is in charge of energy and climate policy at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and he is observing the decisions being made at the Copenhagen Climate Conference and the phenomena surrounding the event from land, water and air.