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Today's Report From Copenhagen


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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 December 2009, 8:00 AM
Highlights from the climate change conference on Dec. 18

(Editor's Note: This file presents news and information from the Copenhagen climate change conference on Dec. 18, distilled from news outlet reports. We will be updating developments during the day.)

<Update>: What is described as a 'meaningful agreement' was announced by the U.S., but is far from the powerful end result that most had hoped for.

<Update>: An agreement has been reached in Copenhagen on a plan to combat climate change, The Los Angeles Times is reporting. President Obama has scheduled a press conference.

<Update>: The BBC says President Obama and other national leaders are meeting deep into the Copenhagen night to create some kind of agreement as this final day of the conference -- wrapped in confusion and consternation - nears its end. Reuters reports that the Chinese premier accepted Obama's offer to continue meeting today to achieve some kind of bilateral agreement. The New York Times'  headline is, "Heading Into Overtime."

<Update>: This news alert from AP: A third draft climate agreement being considered by world leaders at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen has introduced greenhouse gas emissions targets for both industrialized and developing countries. The document, titled the Copenhagen Accord, says rich countries should reduce their greenhouse emissions by at least 80 percent by the year 2050.

<Update>: Here's how the Philippine Daily Inquirer summed up President Obama's speech this morning to the conference: "He came, he saw, he didn’t conquer. The most anticipated event of the entire two-week-long climate change conference in this icy Danish capital was U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech, which many negotiators hoped would drive the newly re-started talks to a successful conclusion. Instead, it may have had the opposite effect." The China Daily had its own news analysis of the speech.

"Transparency" may be a synonym for failure at Copenhagen if China continues to refuse to allow verification of its emissions control efforts, reports AP. Despite last minute meetings with President Obama at Copenhagen, China apparently isn't giving in. Any hopes for a meaningful political agreement from the conference are pegged to an agreement between the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, leaders of more than 100 countries are in Copenhagen, many expressing frustration at the stalled progress.

On this last day of the climate conference, President Obama's speech to the world on climate change—highly anticipated as the climactic moment—fell short of expectations by most reports, and conference organizers were in crisis mode to create some kind of agreement. The president said the world was in peril and called for bold action, but he offered no new pledges, hinting that China and Congress were cuplrits in preventing real action. After the speech he went into private discussions with the Chinese premiere. Read The AP news report.

Leading up to today's final moments, the hard work of negotiations was carrying on amid deep emotions. “The catastrophe is at our door,” declared the environment minister of the Central African Republic. Earthjustice attorney Erika Rosenthal describes what she observed in the final hours.

For perspectives, news and information from environmental groups at the conference, check out the The Copenhagen News Collaborative.

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