Smith Despondent In Copenhagen

17 December 2009

SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today expressed his disappointment at the proceedings in the COP15 Climate Change talks in Copenhagen. Smith is in Copenhagen to raise awareness of Scotland's commitments on climate change and renewable energy, working with other MEPs from across Europe and NGOs.

Speaking from Copenhagen, Smith said:

"I have been watching the speeches and taking the temperature here and I have a sinking feeling. I watched UK Prime Minister Brown's speech and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and could not help but feel they were preparing the ground for a blame game. My concern is not so much that a deal will be struck, but that the deal will not be worth the paper it is written on and various spin doctors will try and hoodwink the people that this has been a useful exercise. Mrs Clinton's promise in particular that the US will "work towards" 100 billion of funding "from public and private sources" of technology transfer money "by 2020" seems a particularly superficially attractive but painfully vague promise.

"I am struck by the fact that it seems this is just too big an ask for the global community, and that the burden of expectation on this summit meant it was always going to disappoint. I'm also struck by the difference of expectation from the NGO community and the representatives of the governments. The fact is, there is no global consensus, so it follows that attempts to broker an all singing all dancing climate change deal were always going to be an uphill struggle, and the international NGOs are actually considerably more joined up than the global community itself. The latest draft has more square brackets in it than an algebra textbook, too much remains undecided.

"For my part, I'm still clear on what sort of deal I want to see. It has to be legally binding. It has to have ambitious targets on emissions reduction. It has to have common measuring criteria across all countries, and a transparent verification mechanism to make sure everyone plays fair. It has to provide for proper financing from the developed to the developing to help mitigation and technology transfer. I'm not sure the eventual paper will come anywhere near.

"So where now? The talks are not over, and I have no doubt there will be some sort of piece of paper at the end of the process, too many egos are in the same room for there not to be. The prospect of continued talks in Mexico next year will I suspect quickly lose public support, so I think the way forward has to be for like minded states to work bilaterally.

"Scotland has led the way in ambitious legislative aims for emissions reduction, and in promoting renewables. We should propose that those other countries able to sign up to the same aims work together to provide joint leadership, and thosecountries that can then opt in in due course do so. I fear that further efforts to achieve an all things to all men deal will prove fruitless."