And so, it’s over. After two straight weeks of negotiations, the conference that was originally supposed to save the world from irreversible climate change limped across the goal line Saturday. “Chaos”, said the NGOs, media, and vast majority of the delegates. ”A disaster,” said the Swedish delegation. And those were two of the more dipomatic descriptions of the COP15 conference.
“It was a roller coaster ride,” admitted Yvo de Boer, the U.N.’s top climate-change negotiator and ringmaster of a show that P.T. Barnum would have admired. Within a 12-hour period on the final day, there was a deal, then there wasn’t a deal, then there was a deal. And then, after the majority of NGOs and most of the press were on planes back home, the UN delegates pulled a last-minute stunt, blocking the acceptance of the document known as the Copenhagen Accord. A small group of world leaders from the U.S., Japan, the EU, China, India, and Brazil flew in to edit and revise the accord, which the U.N. then debated. The debate went on, and on, and on. Some media reported that a deal had been reached, packed their bags and went home.
But a snag remained. African nations were not happy with the accord and, with only a few journalists in the press room, they launched a series of moves designed to get the accord off of the table. Finally, at around 6 a.m., after an all-nighter, the Danish Prime Minister announced that the UN could not “adopt” the accord.