Good Intentions Plus 20 Kroner Gets a Cup of Coffee in Copenhagen – But No Climate Deal

COP15 Copenhagen - the whole world is watchingUNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer’s 6:30PM press briefing was postponed nearly forty minutes last night due to his meeting with demonstrators and activists standing vigil in the cold outside the Bella Center. When later asked what took place to cause the postponement, de Boer only said he had “met with representatives outside.”

UN Minister to the Convention Connie Hedegaard joined de Boer at the briefing. Both said that “significant progress” has been reached today in Copenhagen as ministers arrived to wade into the fracas, but tempered the remark with the usual “much remains to be done”. Hedegaard and de Boer acknowledged the general “good intentions” of all parties involved, with de Boer adding “some say the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and that action as well as intentions are what is needed in the coming days at COP15.

With the general (if begrudging for many – most – all) acceptance of the draft texts released from both working groups yesterday (available here and here), Hedegaard has also cautioned that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

Moving on that line, a reporter asked what issues show the most progress. De Boer said the that adaption, technology, forestry, and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) have shown “significant progress,” with mitigation targets and financing continuing as the bone of contention amongst delegations.

Many see a fight brewing between China and the US (and no doubt it is), but Hedegaard said that in all of the six COP conventions in which she has participated, there has never been “more constructive talks between the two nations,” adding that “both nations need to do more.”

When asked if the outpouring of emotion in demonstrations, vigils, and marches in the streets of Copenhagen and throughout the world would have any impact on the outcome of the negotiations, Hedegaard answered that civil grievance expressed throughout the world reflects the release of “years of pressure” that “contributes to the political price of failure,” adding that the price might be more than most leaders will be willing to accept.

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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