Opinions on Copenhagen Accord diverge

Jurga Valančiūtė
There is no common evaluation on the Copenhagen Accord, while some Lithuanian politicians positively evaluate the agreement, others stay critical. Lithuanian Environment Minister Gediminas Kazlauskas said that, although the Copenhagen Accord was not a perfect document and not as ambitious as the EU had desired, it was still a big step forward. According to him, this Accord is better than no accord. He said that he was an optimist and that he expected that this document would be just another step towards a global agreement, which could be adopted in the future.[1] Lithuanian MEP Radvile Morkunaite, a member of the environment, public health and food safety committee, was not as optimistic when speaking about the same subject. She claimed that the process of the conference had demonstrated that EU leaders were capable of formulating a general position and keeping to it. However, the results of the conference were not as satisfying as the process of the conference. Despite the unity of the EU position, the voices of the biggest polluters in the world were taken more into consideration than the voice of the EU. The positions of the USA, China and other developing countries determined that the Copenhagen Accord is declarative and not legally binding to take any actions.[2] She called the claims of various leaders, that the most crucial thing is that an agreement had been reached and that the first steps towards the greener future had been made, attempts to “save face” after the conference, which raised so many expectations but delivered none of the expected results. The only positive outcome of the conference, Radvile Morkunaite said, was that “the states had recognised that climate change was one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and the decision to provide financial aid for the developing countries to fight climate change was made.”[3]
Lithuania supported the EU goals at the Copenhagen conference
Lithuania supported the EU position to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and to make a possible cut of greenhouse gas emissions of 30 percent if other developed states would also significantly cut their greenhouse gas emissions. This support has been declared by various Lithuanian officials at various levels, for example, former Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vygaudas Usackas, while speaking at the meeting of the EU General Affairs Council, said that Lithuania congratulated EU efforts to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020. However, he stressed, “other countries have to make equally ambitious obligations.”[4]
Alternatives to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are not widely discussed in Lithuania.
Lithuania welcomes an agreement to finance the developing countries’ fight against climate change
Lithuanian MEP Radvile Morkunaite, while generally critical of the Copenhagen Accord, noted that one of the few positive elements of the Accord is an agreement to provide 30 billion US-Dollars in the forthcoming 3 years to support the developing countries’ fight against climate change and to increase this financial aid to 100 billion US-Dollars by 2020.[5]
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite talked about the practical details of the implementation of this agreement: she stated that she was happy that Lithuanian requirements, that each EU member state would pay according to its possibilities while implementing the EU obligation to contribute financially to the compensations for the reduction of emissions in third countries, have been taken into consideration. She said that it is a just agreement since Lithuania will only have to pay 1 million of the 2.5 billion Euros which the EU is obliged to provide.[6]

[1] Ministry of Environment: Lithuania has outstood in the Copenhagen climate change conference (Lietuva pasižymėjo Kopenhagos klimato kaitos konferencijoje), press release, 22 December 2009, available at: (last access: 9 June 2010).

[2] Radvile Morkunaite: Copenhagen conference has proved that the leaders of EU states can formulate a common position (Radvilė MORKŪNAITĖ: Kopenhagos konferencija parodė, kad ES valstybių lyderiai sugeba suformuluoti bendrą poziciją), 22 December 2009, available at: (last access: 9 June 2010).

[3] Radvile Morkunaite: Saving the face in Copenhagen („Veido saugojimas“ Kopenhagoje), European colours, No. 3, December 2009, available at: (last access: 9 June 2010).

[4] Foreign Affairs Ministry: The preparation of the forthcoming European Council has been deliberated in Brussels (Briuselyje aptartas pasirengimas artėjančiai Europos vadovų tarybai), press release, 8 December 2009, available at: (last access: 9 June 2010).

[5] Ibid.

[6] President of Lithuania: EU Member States will not forget a principle of justice while fighting with climate change (Kovojant su klimato kaita, ES šalys nepamirš ir teisingumo principo), press release, 11 December 2009, available at: (last access: 9 June 2010).