Copenhagen Day 9: Are We There Yet?

A new draft negotiating text is circulating in Copenhagen. With less than four days left, the negotiators are still far apart on key issues including emissions targets and climate aid to developing nations. China and the U.S. remain locked in a dispute over international monitoring of emissions. China offered to cut its emissions, but it is refusing any kind of international monitoring to verify its cooperation.

Several negotiators from European countries have called on China and the U.S. to resolve their differences.

South Korea pledged to reduce its emissions to a level 4% below what they were in 2005 by 2020. In percentage points, this is comparable to the U.S.’s target, even though South Korea’s per-capita GDP is only 60% of America’s.

The elected leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S. held a 50-minute video conference today to coordinate their positions.

Africa and the BASIC bloc (Brasil, South Africa, India, and China) say they’re holding their own draft in reserve.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reminded the delegates that time is running out. “Nature does not negotiate with us,” Ban said. Ban later sparked controversy when he urged delegates to focus on limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. This comment angered many small island and low-lying states, which have been campaigning to lower the maximum temperature increase to 1.5 degrees or even 1.0 degree.

A spokesman for Climate Justice Action (CJA) was arrested by plainclothes officers as he left the Bella Center today. Danish police say that Tadzio Mueller will be held overnight and charged in court tomorrow morning. Officials wouldn’t say what charges Mueller will face. His arrest comes on the eve of a major action by Reclaim Power!, an activist group dedicated to “confrontational non-violent civil disobedience. Climate Justice Action is an umbrella group with ties to Reclaim Power!

Frustration is mounting as the pace of the talks continues to lag. Ban and other UN officials insist that there is still time for delegates to overcome their differences and strike a deal. Heads of state will arrive in Copenhagen on Friday. Hopefully, by then, there will be an accord ready for them to sign.

Get occasional updates from UN Dispatch

* indicates required

Our free service for global affairs professionals

  • Want to learn more?