The recently concluded UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen has generated widespread disappointment since it did not deliver tangible results to effectively combat the rapidly encroaching problems generated by global warming.
The conference spent a considerable amount of time to reach a nonbinding "Copenhagen Accord" which took shaky steps against global warming even though it pointed to a new start for rich-poor cooperation on climate change.
The accord was accepted by consensus after delegates arrived at a compromise decision to "take note," instead of formally approving it. Overall, the agreement has been spurned by numerous developing countries because it failed to set specific emissions targets for the industrialized countries.
But in general terms, countries agreed to cooperate in reducing emissions, with a view to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
Further, the developing nations will report every two years, subject to "international consultations and analysis," on their voluntary actions to reduce emissions. And the developed nations will finance a $10 billion-a-year program for three years to fund poorer nations' projects to deal with drought and other climate-change impacts, and to develop clean energy.
The United States along with other rich countries also proposed "mobilizing $100 billion-a-year by 2020" to assist with this purpose. However, none of them made any announcement as to their specific financial contribution to this enterprise.
But even these amounts will be grossly insufficient.
Significantly, a World Bank report released in The Hague in September revealed that developing countries will need up to $100 billion (80 billion euros) a year for 40 years -- beginning from the present time -- to combat the effects of global warning.
On the other hand, what could be regarded as a positive achievement for the rain forest countries is that the accord allows for a widened "REDD Plus" fund -- the mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation -- which would enable them to obtain incentives for keeping standing forests.