Need for a new strategy

Swe­den large­ly regards the cli­mate con­fer­ence as a fail­ure in terms of the out­come. On the pos­i­tive side, the EU had a unit­ed posi­tion, which was achieved with some dif­fi­cul­ty, since the EU mem­bers did not find it easy to agree on the high lev­el of reduc­tions of green­house gas emis­sions. Anoth­er pos­i­tive aspect was the total EU pledge of 7.2 bil­lion Euros to help the least devel­oped and most vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries, an amount that was above expec­ta­tions. The neg­a­tive side was dom­i­nant, how­ev­er. The EU’s hope was also to con­vince the Unit­ed States and a num­ber of oth­er coun­tries, par­tic­u­lar­ly Chi­na, the two com­bined respon­si­ble for half of the green­house gas emis­sions, to increase their com­mit­ment. The USA was asked for a legal­ly bind­ing econ­o­my-wide com­mit­ment to reduce emis­sions where­as Chi­na was asked for bind­ing actions. Both coun­tries gave offers below expec­ta­tions, how­ev­er. Most com­men­ta­tors in Swe­den have put the blame on the USA and Chi­na not being will­ing to make sub­stan­tial and bind­ing reduc­tions and on some oth­er coun­tries obstruct­ing the meet­ing with end­less pro­ce­dur­al ques­tions. It was obvi­ous that the EU nego­ti­at­ing strat­e­gy of seek­ing to con­vince the major emit­ters by mak­ing sub­stan­tial Euro­pean promis­es was not enough. The inter­ests against reduc­tions were sim­ply too strong. In the USA, Con­gress was against sub­stan­tial con­ces­sions and in Chi­na, the need for quick eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment was dom­i­nant.

Prime Min­is­ter Fredrik Rein­feldt sees the need for a new dynam­ic and believes that dynamism can be increased through a step­wise approach based on the Copen­hagen Accord. A plan of action should be agreed on at the com­ing meet­ing in Bonn; there­after, con­crete mea­sures should be tak­en in Mex­i­co in order to anchor the Copen­hagen Accord in the Unit­ed Nations (UN) nego­ti­a­tion process. Anoth­er impor­tant step in this process is to start work on the finan­cial fast start con­tri­bu­tions. In order to accom­plish this, mem­ber states have promised to report at the UN meet­ing in May or April 2010. We are to give coor­di­nat­ed reports on its imple­men­ta­tion at the Mex­i­co meet­ing by the end of the year and annu­al­ly there­after.11Fredrik Rein­feldt before the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on EU Affairs, 30 March 2010, p. 2.

Prime Min­is­ter Rein­feldt, how­ev­er, feels that the present approach with veto rights and the UN frame­work cre­ates prob­lems for progress. In addi­tion to the glob­al approach, the big coun­tries pos­ing prob­lems in Copen­hagen need to be approached bilat­er­al­ly in order to break the present stale­mate.22Ibid., p. 5.

Andreas Carl­gren, Min­is­ter for the Envi­ron­ment, has sim­i­lar thoughts. We should, he argues, con­tin­ue to work glob­al­ly, but also try alter­na­tive and com­ple­men­tary ways at the same time. Not least, we should inten­si­fy the pres­sure on the Unit­ed States and Chi­na. Carl­gren also thinks that it would be an illu­sion to believe, the way the envi­ron­men­tal move­ment does, that increased Euro­pean reduc­tions would, by them­selves, have an effect on oth­ers. A ten per­cent reduc­tion in Europe could be nul­li­fied by Chi­na in two years if Chi­nese emis­sions con­tin­ue to grow.33Andreas Carl­gren: Så ska vi fort­sät­ta arbetet med att räd­da kli­matet [This is how we should con­tin­ue our work to save the cli­mate], Dagens Nyheter, 3 Jan­u­ary 2010.

Swe­den has two ambi­tions. The first is that all coun­tries should live up to their pledges made in Copen­hagen for fast start sup­port to these coun­tries. The oth­er is to find the mon­ey and the mech­a­nisms for the long-term sup­port that was also dis­cussed at the Copen­hagen meet­ing.

    Footnotes

  • 1Fredrik Rein­feldt before the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on EU Affairs, 30 March 2010, p. 2.
  • 2Ibid., p. 5.
  • 3Andreas Carl­gren: Så ska vi fort­sät­ta arbetet med att räd­da kli­matet [This is how we should con­tin­ue our work to save the cli­mate], Dagens Nyheter, 3 Jan­u­ary 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.