December 18, 2009 / 9:20 PM / 10 years ago

INSTANT VIEW: Reaction to Copenhagen climate deal

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - President Barack Obama reached a climate agreement on Friday with India, South Africa, China and Brazil, a U.S. official said. The deal outlined fell far short of the ambitions for the Copenhagen summit.

Here are reactions.

YVO DE BOER, HEAD OF THE U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT

“The mountain goes on and on, it seems. I do think we need to see how this text is received by the broader group of countries. It’s great that small group of leaders gets together and tries to advance the process. But ultimately the way things work here it has to be acceptable to every country.”

“If this makes it through the meeting in a couple of hours’ time then I see it as a modest success. We could have achieved more.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT, NICOLAS SARKOZY

“The text we have is not perfect.. If we had no deal, that would mean that 2 countries as important as India and China would be liberated from any type of contract....the United States, which is not in Kyoto would be free of any type of contract. That’s why a contract is absolutely vital.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, GORDON BROWN

“I came here to Copenhagen wanting the most ambitious deal possible. We have made a start. I believe that what we need to follow up on quickly is ensuring a legally binding outcome.”

GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL

“The decision has been very difficult for me. We have done one step, we have hoped for several more.”

EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESWOMAN

“A deal is better than no deal. What could be agreed today, falls far below our expectations. But It keeps our goals and ambitions alive. It addresses the needs of developing countries. It was the only deal available in Copenhagen.”

CO-AUTHOR OF A U.S. SENATE CLIMATE BILL, SENATOR JOHN KERRY

“This can be a catalyzing moment. It’s a powerful signal to see President Obama, Premier Wen, Prime Minister Singh, and President Zuma agree on a meeting of the minds. These are the four horsemen of a climate change solution. With this in hand, we can work to pass domestic legislation early next year to bring us across the finish line.”

HEAD OF CHINA’S CLIMATE DELEGATION, XIE ZHENHUA

“The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy. After negotiations both sides have managed to preserve their bottom line. For the Chinese this was our sovereignty and our national interest.”

BRAZIL’S CLIMATE CHANGE AMBASSADOR SERGIO SERRA

“It’s very disappointing I would say but it is not a failure...if we agree to meet again and deal with the issues that are still pending.”

“We have a big job ahead to avoid climate change through effective emissions reduction targets and this was not done here.”

JOHN SAUVEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE UK

“The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport. There are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty.

“It seems there are too few politicians in this world capable of looking beyond the horizon of their own narrow self-interest, let alone caring much for the millions of people who are facing down the threat of climate change.”

ALBERT BINGER, FROM GRENADA, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES

“It seems they didn’t want to make any hard decisions and they found some sort of compromise. But I don’t think it does the job. The science is telling us we need much more cuts. We need definitive cuts, we need a peaking (year), we need things that people can be held accountable to.”

ROB STAVINS, PROF OF BUSINESS AND GOVT AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY

“The most striking thing, it’s incredible, virtually unprecedented, is that heads of state sat down in a room together and did the negotiations themselves.”

“It’s less than many people had hoped for and expected even two weeks ago. What was needed was to bring the rapidly growing economies and that’s what was achieved.”

PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, ELLIOT DIRINGER

“If accepted by other parties, this tentative agreement would be an important step forward. As President Obama said, it’s well short of what’s ultimately needed. But it would provide a reasonable basis for negotiating a fair and effective climate treaty. It would for the first time secure political pledges by all the major emerging economies to curb their emissions.”

STEVE SAWYER, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE GLOBAL WIND ENERGY COUNCIL

“Standing on its own a political declaration like that doesn’t do much other than paper over the fact that that governments have failed to keep the promises they made to each other (in Bali, Indonesia two years ago at the launch of the two-year climate talks meant ot agree a climate pact).”

JOHN ASHE, CHAIR OF KYOTO PROTOCOL TALKS UNDER U.N.

“Given where we started and the expectations for this conference, anything less than a legally binding and agreed outcome falls far short of the mark.”

“On the other hand though I’m a bit of a realist so I do realize that perhaps the bar was set too high and the fact that there’s now a deal ... perhaps gives us something to hang our hat on. I hope it sets the stage for serious work in 2010 so that we can conclude ... perhaps as soon as June, failing that by December 2010.”

NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

“The agreement reached tonight in Copenhagen is a breakthrough in the global effort to combat the climate crisis.”

TIM JONES, CLIMATE OFFICER, WORLD DEVELOPMENT MOVEMENT, ANTI-POVERTY LOBBY GROUP

“This summit has been in complete disarray from start to finish, culminating in a shameful and monumental failure that has condemned millions of people around the world to untold suffering.

“To say that this deal is in any way historic or meaningful is to completely misrepresent the fact that this deal is devoid of real content. It is actually meaningless.”

NNIMMO BASSEY, CHAIR OF FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL

“Copenhagen has been an abject failure. Justice has not been done. By delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the developed nations.”

CARL POPE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SIERRA CLUB

“The world’s nations have come together and concluded a historic if incomplete agreement to begin tackling global warming. President Obama and the rest of the world paid a steep price here in Copenhagen because of obstructionism in the United States Senate.”

JOHN LANCHBERY, BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL

“It sounds very vague. There’s no next step, nothing to link through to how to get a final deal done.”

FRED KRUPP, HEAD OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

“Today’s agreement takes the first important steps toward true transparency and accountability in an international climate agreement. The sooner the U.S. speaks through Senate legislation, the sooner we can set the terms of engagement for talks to come.”

LEADER OF WWF GLOBAL CLIMATE INITIATIVE, KIM CARSTENSEN

“They tell us it’s over but it’s not. Copenhagen produced a snapshot of what leaders already promised before they arrived here. The biggest challenge, turning the political will into a legally binding agreement has moved to Mexico. What was good about Copenhagen was the level of national pledges for climate action in most countries. We are disappointed but remain hopeful.”

JAKE SCHMIDT OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

The deal will “get big countries moving in the right direction” on reducing their carbon emissions.

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