17 December, 2009

The Copenhagen Summit

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will chair the first true session of the Copenhagen Summit starting in minutes at Bella Center, after a formal dinner with the Queen of Denmark. He articulated and mobilized the will and power of the decisive world leaders to close a deal in Copenhagen. President Nicholas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkl sided with him on a task that seemed impossible to many.

Sergio Abranches

Gordon Brown said in his speech that “the task of politics is to overcome obstacles even when people say they are too formidable.” He made every move possible to make his words true. The next hours will tell whether he will succeed. He told at the COP15 plenary early this morning that his talks yesterday convinced him that

while the challenges we face are difficult and testing, there is no insuperable barrier of finance, no inevitable deficit of political will, no insurmountable wall of division that need prevent us from rising to the needed common purpose and reaching agreement now.

The leaders he and his colleagues from France and Germany have mobilized will meet at the Bella Center, on an open ended informal plenary, to discuss the details of a deal on climate change.

President Barack Obama has clearly underestimated the scale and pace of the political endeavor that brought several key world leaders to Copenhagen. He missed the critical moments of political negotiation that made the summit possible. He did not mobilize the world political leadership, neither did he lead the climate change talks.

He sent his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to remove US vetoes and set his conditions to help an understanding. Not really enough. He will arrive after the fact, at the closing moments. His absence was felt in the most difficult hours, when failure was a possibility greater than success. Now success seems more likely than failure.

Presidents Lula and Sarkozy met before the dinner, to announce the decision of the heads of state to hold an open ended summit and to negotiate a Copenhagen Agreement.

There still are risks. Failure continues to be a real possibility. However, an agreement with elements to persuade global public opinion that the Copenhagen Summit succeeded has become a more likely outcome over the last few hours.

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