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US, China flayed for Copenhagen fiasco

December 23, 2009 13:46 IST
Terming the outcome of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen as an abject failure, scientists and environmental groups have blamed the US and China for blocking a legally binding treaty on reducing global warming.

"China acted at the conference with brutal logic and cool strategy to avoid binding obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the framework of an international treaty," Prof Schellnhuber Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research said in a newspaper interview.

US President Barack Obama's negotiations in Copenhagen were "guided above all by domestic policy interests", Schellnhuber said.

The UN climate summit has shown that it will be extremely difficult to solve a major global problem like climate change if national interests are given higher priority, he added.

Criticising the United States' offer to provide around $3.4 billion annually between 2010 and 2013 as immediate assistance for climate protection, He said: "The US offer was

nearly the equivalent of the expenditure for financing a few days' war in Iraq."

The 12-day conference, which ended last week, recognised for the first time the need to limit global warming since the pre-industrial times to below 2°C, but could not agree on any legally binding emission reduction targets to achieve that goal.

Klaus Toepfer, former director of the United Nations Environment Programme also expressed his deep disappointment over the outcome of the climate summit and asked world leaders to make renewed efforts to achieve a binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Prof Mojib Latif, head of the Department of Marine Research at the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, University of Kiel said he was deeply disappointed by the meagre gains of the conference.

"It was quite unfortunate that even after 20 years of efforts by climate researchers and scientists to highlight the urgency of tackling global warming, world leaders have once

again failed to agree on decisive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he said in a television interview.

"The conference produced nothing which deserves to be called a result," Latif said.

He also blamed the United States and China, the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases who together account for more than 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, for blocking a global climate deal by waiting for the other to take the first initiative.

He asked the United States to take the leadership role also in global climate policies and help avert disastrous consequences for mankind from global warming by implementing

"bold and effective" measures to reduce carbon emissions.

As the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, both the United States and china have a great responsibility to take the first concrete steps to reduce their CO2 emissions.

Prof Peter Lemke, head of the Department of Climate Sciences at the Alfred Wegener Institute in the German port city of Bremen said it would be impossible to limit global

warming to 2°C without concrete emission reduction targets.

He said he too was disappointed by the outcome of the conference especially because the world leaders have once again failed to respond adequately to global scientific community's warnings about the dangers of global warming.

It has been proved beyond doubt that greenhouse gas emissions are the main causes of global warming and its consequences are felt all over the world, he said.

Sigmar Gabriel, former German environment minister and the present chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) lambasted Chancellor Angela Merkel for attempting to "sell a foul compromise in Copenhagen as a success."

The Copenhagen accord on climate change has "nothing which deserves to be presented as a success," he said in a TV interview.

Juergen Trittin, former environment minister and present parliamentary leader of the ecological Green Party, said the European Union was partly responsible for the outcome of the Copenhagen conference because it failed to play its leadership role there.

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