COP-15 Cop Out In Copenhagen

19 December 2009

"The document currently under discussion has no more credibility than if they all initialled a napkin from the Conference centre cafe."

SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today lamented the failure of the Copenhagen climate negotiations to reach a binding, ambitious and transparent agreement which matches Scotland's ambition on climate change, and has virtually given up on any real prospect of a real deal despite confirmation delegates are to continue negotiations into the weekend.

Smith, who has been present in Copenhagen and last weekend took part in the Wave rally in Glasgow, has expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress seen in these talks and the chaotic way in which the previously agreed common EU position was systematically ignored by EU leaders, instead advancing their own British, German or French vision. He has also remained vocal in his call for Scotland to be present at the negotiations.

The Scottish Government's Climate Change Act, passed earlier this year, is the most ambitious in the industrialised world, committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050. It seems clear that whatever deal is reached will come nowhere near that ambition or clarity.

Smith said:

"Only a week ago I marched alongside thousands of Scots calling for a strong resolution to the negotiations in Copenhagen and we have been sorely let down. It has been a pretty unedifying few days and an eye opener for anyone who thought that the post Lisbon EU would be coherent, or that the UN was much of a forum for global governance. The nation state is still very much in charge. Independence has never been more important.

"So, after all the sound and fury,no clear total emissions reduction targets for 2020. No robust inspection regime. No detail as to the source of the financing for developing countries. No detail at all really. And not even a pledge to meet the 2 degree target. This is not good enough. And we in Scotland will not settle for it and it makes it all the more achingly frustrating that Scotland was reduced to a sideshow by the UK government when we could have been front and centre, and who knows, we could not have done worse than this.The document currently under discussion has no more credibility than if they all initialled a napkin from the Conference centre cafe.

"But this cannot be allowed to rest here. This problem will not go away. A signed napkin to wave in front of the world's media will not stop climate change. While this particular clash of the egos has not achieved the results I would have desired, there is still room for individual countries to set their own targets, to make their own declarations and agreements on this issue. Scotland has shown the lead, and in the days and weeks that come I think there will be a real need to continue the momentum this conference has dissipated. There is nothing stopping us in Scotland from entering into a series of bilateral agreements with like minded progressive countries, and invite others to join us in time. If the consensus was simply not there, then that is not an excuse for those of us who are up for a bit of heavy lifting taking this forward.

"Our ambition in Scotland to tackle the problems of climate change puts us at the forefront of the industrialised world but I had hoped that these talks would have seen others join us. Unfortunately not. The EU, despite its rhetoric in advance of the talks, was posted missing and global governance unravelled to leave a chaotic spectacle marked by various diplomatic incidents and squabbles. Any semblance of unity and coherence coming from the EU dissolved as national interest took over - we saw the UK, Germany, Poland and France all arguing for markedly different things just for a start."