The Copenhagen-Paris Express
In 2009, when Copenhagen hosted the UN Climate Change Conference, the global financial crisis and national special interests conspired to derail a comprehensive deal. Six years later, the political environment is very different, and there is reason to believe that this year's conference in Paris will produce a robust agreement.
COPENHAGEN – In 2009, when Copenhagen hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference, I was there as a member of parliament, and I had the feeling that I was witnessing a world-changing event. For years, negotiators had been working toward an ambitious, binding agreement to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, and the world’s attention was directed toward Denmark. Unfortunately, the global financial crisis and national special interests colluded to derail a comprehensive deal.
Now, climate negotiators are gathering once again – this time in Paris, where expectations for an agreement are equally high. This time, however, chances are good that a robust deal will be struck. I will be in attendance, as the Danish minister responsible for climate issues, and I believe that this year’s conference will mark the moment when the world got serious about bringing global warming under control.
The political environment is very different from that of six years ago. When the conference in Copenhagen took place, the world was still reeling from the near-collapse of global finance, prominent politicians were questioning whether human activity was responsible for climate change, and industry groups were campaigning against binding emission cuts.