The prince of Denmark once described his land as a prison. Advanced countries are quite close to getting into one at Copenhagen. Until now, they have resorted to the tactic of blaming developing countries for not agreeing to emissions cuts. This even as developed countries’ plans for cuts were often riddled with loopholes and were well short of what is required in reality.
Preparatory talks for the summit at Copenhagen have floundered because rich countries could not sort these issues. A Reuters report on Friday quoted Antonio Hill of Oxfam International as saying, “There’s no question: they’re trying to get a get-out-of-jail card.” But there’s no escaping jail after many developing countries announced plans on emission cuts and better energy use.
The tactic now is to say that whatever is agreed at Copenhagen will be “morally binding” on all countries. This, while a legally binding treaty is thrashed out in 2010. That too has the potential to fail, unless rich countries bring something else to the table: sincerity. They have not shown much of it so far.