This publication, released a few days after the end of COP15, is a first analysis of what has just happened in Copenhagen. 


The two weeks of negotiations in Copenhagen (7-18 December 2009) have been full of twists and turns. The outcome of the first phase, when heads of delegations and Ministers had the leadership, is a set of draft decisions, heavily bracketed, and not recognized by all Parties – especially the US – as a basis for negotiations. It proves the difficulty – if not the impossibility – of making progress towards an agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol (KP) process. The lack of clarity of the Bali Roadmap – setting a two-track process, one under the UNFCCC and one under the KP, but leaving open the form and legal nature of the final outcome – and the lack of skill of the Danish Presidency, did not help. 

The outcome of the second phase, when a small group – around 30 – heads of State took the lead, is a minimalist agreement, disappointing in substance, and hectic in process. It proves that the pileup of countries redlines did not leave room for an ambitious agreement: the agreement found is somehow the lowest common denominator. This is not the deal we hoped, but given the context, and especially given the perception that States had of their own national interests, this was probably the best possible deal.

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  • Emmanuel Guérin