Copenhagen's Silver Lining: Is the Accord a Big Step Forward?

cop15 silver lining photo

Photo via Inhabitat

The general reaction to the Copenhagen Accord, as you're likely well aware, has been disappointment. Especially in green circles, the lack of legally binding initiatives and the vague parameters outlined seemed like an overwhelming cop out (pardon the pun). But not everyone is down on COP15--the Natural Resource Defense Council points to the silver lining, and is now calling the accord a 'big step forward.' Here's what's got the group looking on the brighter side.First published last Wednesday, NRDC policy directory David Doniger says there are three primary accomplishments that have arisen from the talks:

The Copenhagen climate deal that President Obama hammered out Friday night with the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa broke through years of negotiating gridlock to achieve three critical goals. First, it provides for real cuts in heat-trapping carbon pollution by all of the world's big emitters. Second, it establishes a transparent framework for evaluating countries' performance against their commitments. And third, it will start an unprecedented flow of resources to help poor and vulnerable nations cope with climate impacts, protect their forests, and adopt clean energy technologies.
I do think it's useful to bear in mind that some progress was made during the talks, the most encouraging development being China's agreement to independent verification on emissions cuts. And there's the fact that nearly 200 nations gathered to engage in the discussions in the first place, which was an historic event in of itself, and bolstered the priority level of the climate issue on the world's stage. But such consolation prizes can nonetheless seem pretty meager considering the hopes many had for a global, legally binding treaty going into the talks.

The NRDC goes on to offer its optimistic response to much of the criticism leveled at the Copenhagen Accord in this piece, which is well worth a read. It may just assuage a scant few of your dashed hopes for COP15.

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