After Copenhagen – the view from France

Not a pretty sight. Nicholas Sarkozy has been roundly criticized for putting national interests above those of Europe (he spearheaded a failed bid – along with Brazil – to challenge China’s leadership of African nations), and Le Monde ran a blunt article today saying that Europe basically sat on its hands at Copenhagen and let China and the U.S. call the shots. “Europe, lacking dynamism and vision, did not dare to push them (China and U.S.). Despite the fact that it has the most coherent climate policy, that it has pursued tough climate negotiations for 20 odd years… it abandoned the field.

…Angela Merkel was preoccupied with elections, Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Tusk (Poland) were indifferent or hostile, Jose Manuel Barroso focused on the renewal of his mandate, while France and the U.K. were working unilaterally. On the French side, Jean-Louis Borloo travelled the globe armed with generous ideas, but failed to work on European coordination. Sweden and Denmark prepared for the conference almost as lone rangers.”

Anger at China for sabotaging the process is widespread; and Corinne Lepage (European MP) outlines her version of the fiasco in Copenhagen here as well as in a long video on Terre TV. She lists the culprits: climate sceptics, OPEC states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, China and the U.S., and blames all of them for instrumentalizing the climate cause towards narrowly national and economic ends.

Knives are out for the UN. The official French position favours a new international body with greater authority that deals only with climate change. Daniel Cohn-Bendit (European MP for the Europe Ecology party) wants a “Security Council on Climate” with 20 member states including a majority whose future existence is directly threatened by climate change.

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