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The final decision—There is no decision

11/15/09

Jay Wellik—Dallas, TX, USA

My initial reaction to the announcement that a legally binding treaty would not be signed in Copenhagen was, “Oh, no.  This is terrible news.”  And, well, it still is terrible news, but what happens in response to this news is incredibly crucial.  My first reaction was focused specifically on the move that leaders from the LDCs would make.  Having already walked out at the Bangkok talks when negotiations seemed to be moving too slowly (covered on depp-copenhagen), would they now even bother to show up to COP-15?

As of right now (11/15), there have not been any reports on country or bloc specific reactions related to Africa, the LDCs, or AOSIS.  I hope that they still plan to show up, as their straits have become even more dire.  They certainly will not be better off sitting at home.

I can’t imagine the mental and physical exhaustion that must follow the leaders and academics from developing countries who routinely try to advocate their positions.  Just one day (10/13) before the announcement of ‘no legal commitments’ was made, Dr. Ibrahim Togola, from Mali, called on the developed nations to posses similar courage as they moved forward.  His blog on the COP-15 website discussed the threats to his country and the risk of not signing a deal in Copenhagen.  I can’t help feeling bad for him knowing that his worst nightmare was confirmed just a day after his post.

For the rest of the world, it will be interesting to see what happens at the newly arranged COP-15.  As a college student, I find this analogous to delaying a large exam.  Pushing the test back from Friday to Monday allows for a few extra study days, but it does not relieve any stress.  If anything, it adds stress because you must endure another weekend of disciplined studying.  Delaying a climate change deal to a COP-15.5 mettingthe spring of 2010, as has been proposed, will have similar effects.  We will have to endure the daily grind of hoping for U.S. legislation and meaningful promises made by powerful leaders.  Worst of all, our anxiety will continue without certainty that the extra time will lead to anything fruitful.  The good news is that climate change won’t stop between now and next spring; it keeps you giving you another shot.

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