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Embassy Barometer – Embassy 21 – December 2009

Will there be a  good deal at the end of Copenhagen?

Yes 50%
No 50%

No green Christmas for diplomats

Diplomats remain confident that the divide between the developed and developing world over the shape of a climate change agreement can be bridged over time, despite the failure to strike a deal at the Copenhagen Summit.

In a survey conducted by Embassy – which included embassies from developing and industrialized nations, both large and small - most envoys (75 per cent) remained cautiously hopeful that the divide between the industrialized and developing nations could be bridged - but many stressed this would take time.

The lack of a satisfactory agreement acceptable to both rich and poor nations was foreshadowed in the Embassy survey, in which opinion was divided down the middle: 47 per cent of respondents predicted a good deal, while 43 per cent were pessimistic that world leaders would be able to shake on an agreement at Copenhagen.

On the subject of greenhouse gas emissions targets, 63 per cent of respondents felt the pledges tabled by the industrialized nations have been satisfactory.

Those who felt rich countries had not gone far enough singled out the US, saying the country should be "bolder" in cutting its carbon emissions. One Latin American envoy predicted: 'Richer countries are likely to hold the growth of their emissions rather than making actual cuts."

Just over half the respondents (60 per cent) said promises by developing nations to cut the carbon intensity in their economic growth were "not concrete enough", but added that offers on the table were "a good starting point".'

One diplomat said: "While this is a very welcome decision, the targets are is not enough given their booming economies." Another envoy stressed the need for investment and technology transfer, "to make sure these countries keep their promises."

Diplomats from developing countries have told Embassy the outcome of Copenhagen was "disappointing" but they did welcome the promise of $100bn in annual funds by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. However diplomats were divided over whether the long-term financial package to fund greener development would come to fruition, with over half of respondents saying they didn't trust rich countries to meet their funding commitments.

One concluded by saying envoys should practise what they preach. "I think we have to ask ourselves what we can do - use buses and bicycles, turn off our air-conditioners. As they say: "Every little helps!"

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