Sunday, December 20, 2009

The problem of Copenhagen: Too many cooks spoil the broth

Not that I'm not in favour of a climate treaty being reached in Copenhagen, but it's a meeting that I personally felt is doomed to failure even before the meeting started.

The reason to me is purely psychological. 194 nations, from different backgrounds and different interests, coming together to agree on one common treaty. I do not need a crystal ball but I was already 90% sure that it'll end up in failure. I believe if you ask anyone who is trained in human behaviour and they'll tell you the same answer.

What is missing is a catalyst. A powerful push driver to push nations to an agreement. I'm no politician but I believe this kind of treaty need to be kicked off in phases and not a big bang approach which is what Copenhagen is trying to achieve. You'll need a small, but powerful group of nations to kickstart the process. Renewable energy is a big business proposition and nations with this know-how could kick start it by signing a common treaty (a variation of free trade agreement) with the countries most affected to provide this technology and financing. This treaty could have provisions within that will limit the participants to the signatories of this treaty and have clauses that are aligned to Kyoto treaty.

Some nations will of course protest to this kind of arrangement but like it or not, that's the way to kickstart the process. I find it virtually impossible to get 194 nations to commit to a single agreement. They should look at it in reverse. Create a common treaty which all nations will want to join in. To do that, you'll need to first create the environment.

A fresh start, and don't start the blaming game. Personally I think this would have a higher probable chance of success than the current route.

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