Disappointment due to wishful thinking

There were great expec­ta­tions in Por­tu­gal for the Copen­hagen con­fer­ence. Sec­re­tary for Envi­ron­ment, Hum­ber­to Rosa, qual­i­fied the results of the con­fer­ence as “deceiv­ing” but in any case “bet­ter than noth­ing”11Lusa news agency, 20 Decem­ber 2009., in line with most of the Euro­pean rep­re­sen­ta­tives. As Min­is­ter Ama­do recent­ly acknowl­edged, the dis­ap­point­ment was main­ly the result of wish­ful think­ing about how the oth­er inter­est­ed par­ties would accept the nego­ti­a­tion terms. Ama­do express­ly men­tions that the Euro­pean posi­tion “was a lit­tle bit naïve” in try­ing to take lead­er­ship in a sub­ject mat­ter where it could find an easy con­sen­sus among the mem­ber states, with­out under­stand­ing the con­cerns of its main part­ners. Accord­ing to Ama­do, Europe, which still lives under the strate­gic depen­dence from the USA, tried to use the cli­mate issue as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to take the lead and clear­ly failed, which also proves that it still faces sig­nif­i­cant lim­i­ta­tions as to its sta­tus as a glob­al actor.22Inter­view in the news­pa­per Expres­so, 24 July 2010.

Exclud­ing Japan, the most con­ser­v­a­tive Euro­pean pro­pos­als in Copen­hagen seemed to be far in advance of those of the oth­er main inter­na­tion­al play­ers, but this should not nec­es­sar­i­ly be a rea­son to cause the Euro­pean Union to change its own ener­gy and cli­mate pol­i­cy.33Viri­a­to Soromen­ho Mar­ques: Entre a crise e o colap­so. O desafio ontológi­co das alter­ações climáti­cas, Brot´ria, Decem­ber 2009. It is nec­es­sary to give a new impulse to the inter­na­tion­al nego­ti­a­tions in view of the COP16 at the end of the year in Mex­i­co, although one should not be too opti­mistic about the out­come of the next con­fer­ence. Europe by itself will not be in a posi­tion to impose its own views with­out a clear change of US pol­i­cy under the Oba­ma administration.

Cli­mate change is a world issue. Of course, noth­ing pre­vents Europe from adopt­ing mea­sures to take the lead, as it did in the last decade. But under the cur­rent eco­nom­ic sce­nario, one fails to see any pos­si­ble alter­na­tive to a glob­al agree­ment with­in the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) to fight cli­mate change.

Por­tu­gal sup­ports the financ­ing of mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion efforts in devel­op­ing coun­tries, as per the Nation­al Strat­e­gy of Adap­ta­tion to the Cli­mate Changes adopt­ed by the Por­tuguese gov­ern­ment in March 2010.

    Footnotes

  • 1Lusa news agency, 20 Decem­ber 2009.
  • 2Inter­view in the news­pa­per Expres­so, 24 July 2010.
  • 3Viri­a­to Soromen­ho Mar­ques: Entre a crise e o colap­so. O desafio ontológi­co das alter­ações climáti­cas, Brot´ria, Decem­ber 2009.

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.