Environmentalists on Friday lambasted a minimalist deal reached by world power-brokers and aimed at slowing global warming, with activists shaving their heads in disappointment.
“Negotiations under the U.N. have all but failed today and have been unable to deliver an agreement that even comes close to what is needed to keep climate change in check,” Greenpeace said in a statement issued after an 11th hour agreement among world leaders on the sidelines of a United Nations conference in Copenhagen.
Critics said the deal failed to set a “clear timeline and mandate” for a binding treaty to be signed and expressed disappointment at the role played by the European Union.
“Copenhagen was the biggest political meeting the planet has ever seen and the EU decided to take a back seat,” said Greenpeace’s Joris den Blanken.
WWF said it was “disappointed.” “After years of negotiations we now have a declaration of will which does not bind anyone and therefore fails to guarantee a safer future for future generations,” said Kim Carstensen, who heads WWF’s Global Climate Initiative.
Friends of the Earth, another pressure group, called the deal “a disaster for the world’s poorest.” “Copenhagen has been an abject failure,” the group’s Nnimmo Bassey said.
The U.N. conference saw the presence of some 120 heads of state and government — one of the biggest such gatherings in history.
But the non-binding agreement was effectively sealed by just two men: U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
Outside the conference’s Bella Centre venue, a group of activists shaved their head in protest, with a Danish tabloid dubbing the deal “Brokenhagen.” Observers and environmentalists who took part in events on the sidelines of the conference were earlier this week restricted from the conference. The Bella Centre has a capacity of 15,000 people, but more than three times that number had registered for the event.
Activists therefore moved to downtown Copenhagen, where they carried torches forming the word “Shame” in another expression of disappointment over the outcome of the U.N. talks.