The Copenhagen Accord arrived at during the climate summit will instantly forgive the industrialised countries’ historical responsibility for climate change, eliminate the distinction between developed and developing countries, and fatally undermine efforts to renew the Kyoto Protocol. This will be disastrous for the climate, and for India’s most vulnerable communities, says the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Accusing India of buckling under pressure in Copenhagen, the CSE, in a statement, said the Copenhagen Accord (which has not been adopted by the Conference of Parties) agrees to weak and non-legally binding commitments from the developed world. The agreement will be disastrous for the world, particularly the poor and the most vulnerable, as it will allow emissions to increase in the rich world.

The Copenhagen Accord agrees to a process which will ultimately kill the Kyoto Protocol and undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It changes the framework based on equity and historical emissions.

It states that actions by developing countries which are not supported through international finance and technology also be open to “international consultation and analysis,” which could become a backhand way of bringing in international commitments on these countries. This is euphemistic language for international monitoring, reporting and verification, the statement said.

Greenpeace, an international non-governmental organisation working on environment issues, said global leaders had failed to act to avert a catastrophic change.

Reacting to the “deal” on climate change arrived at in Copenhagen, Greenpeace said a weak outcome had emerged from the talks.

“The deal is not ambitious, is unfair, not legally binding and likely to put the world on a path to at least a 3 degrees Celsius temperature rise. The Indian government’s attitude to climate change this year showed that it is willing to shoulder responsibility and be a global player on climate action. The Prime Minister had gone to Copenhagen from a position of strength only to squander it to a near-farcical accord and a weak outcome. He failed India and the world when he let the U.S. and developed countries off the hook,” the statement said.

“World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through. We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest crisis facing humanity is a leadership crisis,” the statement said.

“Climate science says we have only a few years left to halt the rise in emissions before making the kind of rapid reductions that would give us the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. We cannot change that science, so instead we will have to change the politics — and we may well have to change the politicians,” Greenpeace said.

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