Hope shifts to a treaty in 2010

Copenhagen is finally over. So, did it achieve what we expected?

There had been so much hype leading up to it and expectations were high. It attracted record attendances including well over 100 heads of state – and we thought that surely this boded well for a strong outcome for the environment.
But good attendance didn’t necessarily mean a good outcome.

Indeed, there were so many people attending COP 15 that the organisation of the conference really became a bit of a farce. Delegates, including scientists, had to wait in queues for up to 10 hours in freezing conditions simply to get their accreditation to enter the conference centre. Once they finally did,
organisers simply changed the rules and locked them out; meaning that many who had attended COPs for years couldn’t even participate. Many simply changed their tickets and flew home, wasting time and sometimes thousands of dollars.

But success isn’t about the frustrated tens of thousands, it is about what changes will happen and whether greenhouse gas emissions will finally peak and decline to a safe level. I, like many others who believe we need to swiftly restructure our economy, am disappointed with the outcome. It has not put us on the path the scientists tell us we must embark on. It is clear that most political leaders do not yet
fully realise that taking action is not only necessary, but that if they act swiftly, it will also be good for their economy and their citizens. If they did, they would act without the precondition of others doing the same.

But the glass is just as much half full as it is half empty. Last week we had historic participation by world leaders and the strongest recognition yet that we need to take action. We also have the clearest indication that a global agreement might happen. We need to get over the hurt of not getting all we wanted and make sure that 2010 is the year we deliver the ratifiable treaty the planet so desperately needs.