Satisfied with its performance as conference host

Danish Institute for International Studies

Katrine Prytz Larsen

The Danish government was satisfied with its performance during the December 2009 Copenhagen conference; however, the negotiation strategy of the EU was conceived as somewhat imperfect. The Danish EU-Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, pointed to the lack of leadership on the part of the EU as one of the main reasons for the failure in Copenhagen. She thus suggested that the EU would have had to step up offers to bring funds to developing countries at an earlier stage during the conference.[1]
 
On the part of the opposition, the Copenhagen conference was generally considered a failure since no binding agreement was reached. The People’s Movement Against the EU said the EU treated the developing countries in an arrogant way during the negotiations.[2]
 
The Danish EU-Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, and Member of European Parliament (MEP) Jens Rohde both argued in favour of raising the 20 percent reduction goal to 30 percent due to the potential economic effects it might entail.[3] The government generally supported the idea of the EU taking the global lead on climate change and there was a broad consensus on raising the reduction goal. Former commissioner and Director-General for Environment, Jørgen Henningsen, said that the EU’s 20 percent reduction goal is too small to foster climate friendly technology advances.[4] Rina Ronja Kari, spokesperson for the People’s Movement Against the EU, commented that Denmark’s membership of the EU forced Denmark to work for an unambitious climate deal at the 2009 Copenhagen conference. While the EU will cut 20-30 percent, some experts have pushed for cuts of up to 40 percent.[5] Greenpeace voiced their regret that the EU did not decide on a 30 percent emissions reduction instead of 20 percent. Jan Søndergård of Greenpeace thus commented that the EU’s 20 percent goal had already proven to be unsuccessful.[6]

Europe’s future potential
 
On the more positive side, MEP Dan Jørgensen commented that there is still a chance for the EU to become a leading global power on climate change.[7] However, this would require a greater will on the part of the EU, more ambitious reduction goals and the ability to speak with one voice.[8] Both Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and ECON Pöyry’s director, Jørgen Abildgaard, supported Jørgensen’s argument and said that the EU must show itself as a motivating force on global climate change.[9] Mandag Morgen, a think tank, similarly commented that the EU could have great possibilities of setting the agenda on climate policy in the years to come.[10]
 
In general, the debate seldom concerned the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its role in negotiating a global climate change agreement. The general opinion was that Denmark, as a small country, needs to participate in international development cooperation both within the EU and the United Nations.[11] The Minister for Climate and Energy, Lykke Friis, thus stated that it was still the government’s goal to work to reach a binding agreement within the organisation of the United Nations.[12]
 
Financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries
 
The government expressed satisfaction with Denmark’s effort on development aid. MEP Dan Jørgensen commented that it is unrealistic to believe that Denmark’s development aid in itself will cover the costs of climate change adaptation in developing countries. He called for more money as well as new market based initiatives, such as a quota trade charge used for investments in adaptation in developing countries.[13] It is a bad sign that the EU is going to reuse the development aid to fund climate change adaptation in developing countries.[14]

Uffe Torm of Danish Mission Council Development Department, an umbrella organisation for Danish churches, also pointed to the growing need for humanitarian aid as a consequence of climate change and the global food crisis. He therefore found it very positive that the development consequences of climate change were mentioned in the draft for a new Danish development policy. However, he criticised the fact that the Danish government in spite of its previous promises had not approved any extra funding to cover the increased costs facing the developing countries.[15] Troels Dam Christensen, coordinator of the 92 Group, an umbrella NGO group, further commented that there is a strong presumption that the rich countries and Denmark are going to reuse the development aid to fund climate change adaptation in developing countries and that this was a very disappointing thing.[16] Greenpeace added that it was unclear whether the EU’s climate aid for developing countries through 2012 would be financed by new EU funds or by the EU countries’ development aid until now.[17] This statement was supported by the People’s Movement Against the EU, who commented that the developed countries as a group should set aside a new sum of money for the sole purpose of helping the developing world adapt to climate change.[18]


[1] ZealandDenmark: Høring sluttede med klapsalver, 15 January 2010.

[2] Arbejderen: Efter Hopenhagen, 23 December 2009.

[3] LandbrugsAvisen: EU-Parlamentet vil have højere klimamål, 11 February 2010.

[4] Information: CO2-reduktion: EU’s mål for klimaet er allerede klaret af krise og CO2-kreditter, 18 March 2010.

[5] Lolland-Falsters Folketidende: EU svigter ulandene, 22 December 2009.

[6] Arbejderen: EU undergraver FN, 30 March 2010.

[7] Frederiksborg Amts Avis: EU vil højne klimamål, 11 February 2010.

[8] Fyens Stifttidende: Den allersidste chance, 7 February 2010.

[9] Information: CO2-reduktion: EU’s mål for klimaet er allerede klaret af krise og CO2-kreditter, 18 March 2010.

[10] Mandag Morgen: Europas klimachance, 19 February 2010; ZealandDenmark: Høring sluttede med klapsalver, 15 January 2010.

[11] Ulandsnyt: Klimakonferencen II, 23 January 2010.

[12] Information: Efterspil: Løkke afviser kritik af COP15-forløb, 27 January 2010.

[13] Politiken: Hvis klimamødet skal blive en succes…, 4 December 2009; Fyens Stiftstidende: Den allersidste chance, 7 February 2010.

[14] Nordjyske Stiftstidende: Ulande snydes for et stort klimabeløb, 22 March 2010.

[15] Politiken: Fattigdom, frihed og forandring, 14 April 2010.

[16] Nordjyske Stiftstidende: Ulande snydes for et stort klimabeløb, 22 March 2010.

[17] Arbejderen: EU undergraver FN, 30 March 2010.

[18] Arbejderen: Efter Hopenhagen, 23 December 2009.

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