Campaigners reject Copenhagen deal fears


Hopes of a binding agreement at the Copenhagen summit in December are fading

Campaigners have rejected claims that December’s Copenhagen climate summit cannot produce a legally binding climate deal, and called on the EU to stand up to US negativity

Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Miliband has told MPs that Copenhagen is unlikely to deliver a legally-binding agreement.

Speaking during a debate on climate change in Parliament on Thursday, Miliband said:

‘I think the important thing about the agreement we now seek in December is that, while it may be a political agreement, it must lead, on a very clear timetable, to a legally binding treaty.’

His admission follows reports that the EU and US have given up hope of reaching a global climate change treaty. Two senior figures within the US adminstration - John Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Todd Stern, State Department Climate Envoy - said yesterday that a binding deal was unlikely before next year. 

Deal still possible

However, both Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace said a legally-binding agreement could still be reached if developed countries made the necessary commitments.

‘They said we wouldn’t get an agreement at Kyoto but we did,’ said Greenpeace campaigner Cindy Baxter. ‘President Obama can come to Copenhagen and commit the US to a legally-binding agreement.’

Friends of the Earth senior climate campaigner Asad Rehman said a strong stance by other governments would send a signal that a legally binding treaty at Copenhagen was still achievable.

'The US position can’t be used as a smokescreen by other countries,' he said. 'A politically binding treaty won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on, what we are seeing here is a deliberate attempt to reshape perception of Copenhagen.'

Greenpeace said the EU needed to stand up to US attempts to 'kill the prospect of a legally binding Copenhagen treaty'.

'What's unfolding today is being driven by America, which in turn is being steered by big fossil fuel interests,' said climate policy director Martin Kaiser.

He added: 'now is the time for Europe - Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown -  to stand up, not give up. The world is watching, and waiting - the public expects a lot more from our leaders.'

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