Ambitions not achieved in Copenhagen

The Copen­hagen con­fer­ence was wide­ly cov­ered in the Dutch press. The out­come was por­trayed as a fail­ure, with the EU being side­lined and upcom­ing pow­ers demon­strat­ing their increased pow­ers in the nego­ti­a­tions.11P. Lut­tikhuis: ‘Kopen­hagen’ verdeelt wereld, NRC, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Bezemer/G. Moes: Grote top, klein resul­taat, Trouw, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Peeperkorn/M. Pers­son: EU heeft nakijken in Kopen­hagen, De Volk­skrant, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Peep­erko­rn: EU wil af van kater van Kopen­hagen, De Volk­skrant, 23 Decem­ber 2009. Con­sid­er­able atten­tion was giv­en to the chaot­ic process of nego­ti­a­tions – the EU being unable to speak with one voice – and the take-over of the Dan­ish chair­man­ship of the con­fer­ence by the Prime Min­is­ter away from the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter halfway through the nego­ti­a­tions. Accord­ing to Green Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Bas Eick­hout, the weak state­ments made by the Swedish EU Pres­i­den­cy, that illus­trat­ed per­sist­ing dis­uni­ty among the EU mem­ber states, par­tic­u­lar­ly illus­trat­ed the EU’s inabil­i­ty to oper­ate on the basis of a strong sin­gle voice.22B. Eick­hout: Waarom Europa buiten­spel stond in Kopen­hagen, NRC, 22 Decem­ber 2009.

The Dutch gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers the Copen­hagen Sum­mit less suc­cess­ful than it had aimed for. Posi­tions of impor­tant play­ers in the nego­ti­a­tions were too far apart and the process of the nego­ti­a­tions was cum­ber­some.33Brief van de Min­is­ter van Volk­shuisvest­ing, ruimtelijke orden­ing en milieube­heer aan de voorzit­ter van de Tweede Kamer der Stat­en-Gen­er­aal, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010. Nev­er­the­less, the Dutch gov­ern­ment still con­sid­ers that the Copen­hagen Accord pro­vides suf­fi­cient con­tent as a start­ing point for future nego­ti­a­tions on an inter­na­tion­al cli­mate treaty.44Cf. Inter­na­tion­aal kli­maat­beleid na Kopen­hagen, let­ter sent by the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter to Par­lia­ment, 19 March 2010. Its strengths include the ref­er­ence to keep­ing the max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture increase below 2 degrees Cel­sius, and the polit­i­cal direc­tion it gives regard­ing mea­sur­ing, report­ing and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of finance and mit­i­ga­tion com­mit­ments; mech­a­nisms for tech­nol­o­gy trans­fer and avoid­ance of defor­esta­tion; and the set-up of a finan­cial archi­tec­ture and review in 2015. Short­com­ings include that no ref­er­ence is made to mar­ket-based mech­a­nisms and that emis­sions from avi­a­tion, mar­itime, agri­cul­ture and indus­tri­al Hydro­flu­o­ro­car­bons were not addressed.55Ibid.

The Nether­lands is an advo­cate of an ambi­tious EU cli­mate pol­i­cy. The increase of the so called “20–20-20” reduc­tion tar­get to 30 per­cent from the cur­rent 20 per­cent should prin­ci­pal­ly be used as a lever­age to con­vince oth­er coun­tries to join the EU’s efforts, but the Nether­lands also seems open to con­sid­er such an increase uni­lat­er­al­ly. For instance, in Jan­u­ary, the Nether­lands was among the EU mem­ber states that want­ed to sub­mit the 30 per­cent tar­get to the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) for the annex of the Copen­hagen Accord.[6] Bul­letin Quo­ti­di­en Europe 10061, 22 Jan­u­ary 2010; Han Dirk Hekking: Span­je tra­cht scheuren in kli­maat­front te repar­eren, Finan­cieel Dag­blad, 18 Jan­u­ary 2010.] Oth­er mem­ber states only want­ed to sub­mit the 20 per­cent tar­get and as a com­pro­mise the 30 per­cent was kept con­di­tion­al upon oth­er indus­tri­alised states under­tak­ing a sim­i­lar effort and emerg­ing economies tak­ing up a mean­ing­ful com­mit­ment, i.e., the orig­i­nal EU posi­tion. The Nether­lands favours an inter­na­tion­al cli­mate agree­ment which is sim­i­lar to the Kyoto Pro­to­col, although it realis­es it will not be easy to nego­ti­ate such a treaty, and dis­cus­sions out­side the UN process should also be pur­sued. The EU should clear­ly oper­ate as a unit­ed bloc in inter­na­tion­al cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions and the Dutch gov­ern­ment is open to a larg­er role for the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion or the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil in exter­nal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, although it under­lines the right for rep­re­sen­ta­tion by the mem­ber states.77Cf. Inter­na­tion­aal kli­maat­beleid na Kopen­hagen, let­ter sent by the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter to Par­lia­ment, 19 March 2010.

One of the pri­or­i­ty areas of the Dutch gov­ern­ment is cli­mate financ­ing. It has invest­ed con­sid­er­able efforts in stim­u­lat­ing debates and launch­ing ideas on how to organ­ise the inter­na­tion­al archi­tec­ture of cli­mate financ­ing. It is pleased with the deci­sion on the Copen­hagen Green Cli­mate Fund and hopes the Com­mis­sion will soon present a Com­mu­ni­ca­tion on how to oper­a­tionalise it.88Ibid. It under­takes efforts to con­vince oth­er EU mem­ber states to deliv­er on short-term financ­ing. Con­tri­bu­tions of the pri­vate sec­tor and inno­v­a­tive financ­ing need to be among the pri­or­i­ty issues to be analysed and dis­cussed with­in the con­text of the UN High Lev­el Pan­el on Cli­mate Financ­ing. The Nether­lands itself has promised to deliv­er 300 mil­lion Euros of fast track financ­ing for the peri­od 2010–2012. This mon­ey would be addi­tion­al to funds com­mit­ted ear­li­er to devel­op­ment coop­er­a­tion and envi­ron­men­tal projects.99Milieu­raad: Ver­slag van een alge­meen over­leg, Tweede Kamer der Stat­en-Gen­er­aal, 25 March 2010.

    Footnotes

  • 1P. Lut­tikhuis: ‘Kopen­hagen’ verdeelt wereld, NRC, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Bezemer/G. Moes: Grote top, klein resul­taat, Trouw, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Peeperkorn/M. Pers­son: EU heeft nakijken in Kopen­hagen, De Volk­skrant, 21 Decem­ber 2009; M. Peep­erko­rn: EU wil af van kater van Kopen­hagen, De Volk­skrant, 23 Decem­ber 2009.
  • 2B. Eick­hout: Waarom Europa buiten­spel stond in Kopen­hagen, NRC, 22 Decem­ber 2009.
  • 3Brief van de Min­is­ter van Volk­shuisvest­ing, ruimtelijke orden­ing en milieube­heer aan de voorzit­ter van de Tweede Kamer der Stat­en-Gen­er­aal, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 4Cf. Inter­na­tion­aal kli­maat­beleid na Kopen­hagen, let­ter sent by the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter to Par­lia­ment, 19 March 2010.
  • 5Ibid.
  • 7Cf. Inter­na­tion­aal kli­maat­beleid na Kopen­hagen, let­ter sent by the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter to Par­lia­ment, 19 March 2010.
  • 8Ibid.
  • 9Milieu­raad: Ver­slag van een alge­meen over­leg, Tweede Kamer der Stat­en-Gen­er­aal, 25 March 2010.

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.