Copenhagen Accord a great failure -Sweden

EU calls for more U.S. involvement in climate works

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – The European Union called on  the United States yesterday to play a bigger role in combating  climate change, after Sweden described the Copenhagen summit  last week as a “great failure”.

Following a meeting in Brussels to discuss how to rescue the  Copenhagen climate process, EU environment ministers emphasised  the need for concrete, legally binding measures to combat global  warming.

The European Union went to Copenhagen with the hope of  achieving a broad commitment to at least a 20-percent cut in  carbon emissions below 1990 levels within 10 years, but that and  other firm goals failed to emerge in the final accord.

The two-week, United Nations-led conference ended on  Saturday with a non-legally binding agreement to limit global  warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial  times, but did not lay out how to achieve that.

Despite months of preparation and strenuous diplomacy, the  talks boiled down to an inability of the world’s two largest  emitters, the United States and China, to agree fixed targets.

“Expectations and pressure on the United States have risen  after Copenhagen … to really deliver,” Swedish Environment  Minister Andreas Carlgren told a news briefing yesterday after  Sweden, as EU president until Dec. 31, chaired pan-EU talks.

Ministers from the EU’s 27 member states will meet again in  January to discuss what role the EU can play in cobbling  together a stronger agreement.

The bloc went to Copenhagen with a unified position and a  plan for financing emissions cuts in the developing world, with  a commitment to spend around 7 billion euros ($10 billion) over  the next three years to aid poorer countries.

But those aims were largely sidelined as the talks failed to  produce a breakthrough. Carlgren described the summit as a  “disaster” and a “great failure”, despite what he called  Europe’s united efforts.

“Europe never lost its aim, never, never came to splits or  different positions, but of course this was mainly about other  countries really (being) unwilling, and especially the United  States and China,” Carlgren said.

Britain on Monday blamed China and a handful of other  countries of holding the world to ransom by blocking a    legally  binding treaty at Copenhagen, stepping up a blame game that has  gathered momentum since the talks ended.

In a sharply worded response, Chinese Foreign Ministry  spokeswoman Jiang Yu rejected accusations that China had  “hijacked” the climate talks and added: “The statements from  certain British politicians are plainly a political scheme.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the summit as  “at best flawed and at worst chaotic” and demanded an urgent  reform of the process to try to reach a legal treaty when talks  are expected to resume in Germany next June.

But Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard, who quit as  president of the talks midway through after being criticised by  African countries for favouring wealthier nations in  negotiations, said there was no point in getting depressed.

“What we need to do is to secure the step that we took and  turn it into a result,” she told reporters as she arrived for  the Brussels meeting yesterday. Asked whether Copenhagen had  been a failure, she replied:

“It would have been a failure if we had achieved nothing.  But we achieved something — a first step.

“It was the first time we held a process where all the  countries were present, including the big emitters.”

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