As the final week of the Copenhagen climate summit begins, one has to feel a little sorry for the conference’s organizers. The only result so far: anarchy and the absence of agreement.
Demonstrators threw bricks and smashed windows this weekend, leading to nearly 1,000 arrests. And as if dressing up in polar bear or panda costumes isn’t enough of a spectacle, youth activists insisted on shedding their clothes, purportedly to make a point about global warming—or just to grab attention.
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On the policy front, the developed and developing blocs have been at each other’s throats since the “Danish text” leaked last week—a draft that assigned rich countries higher per capita emission limits than poor ones. Meanwhile, the cacophony of opinions increases: island nations are promoting their point of view; emerging economies are working on their own draft.
Collective action of this scale was never going to be easy. Still, thanks to the lack of concrete aims, an opportunity for serious multilateralism is getting wasted amid a parade of individual activism.