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After two years, a last-minute unsatisfying compromise

December 18, 2009

Anthony, Andrew, and I are sitting at our host family’s table watching e-mails, tweets, and announcements from the UNFCCC and the White House. Actually, we’re about to dig into some homemade apple pie. In minutes, we’ll watch Obama broadcast live through the White House website, announcing the political agreement brokered just this evening on the last day of the summit.

For nearly two decades, governments have negotiated solutions to climate change. All parties agreed to the two-year timeline at Bali in 2007. For two years, government parties and NGOs have worked to get a global, legally-binding climate treaty in Copenhagen.

But the COP-15 hasn’t followed the plans at all. Tense meetings throughout the year and long nights of negotiating over the past two weeks made little progress towards consensus. When Obama arrived today, many expected him to make the necessary compromise. He didn’t. He firmly stated that the United States had presented its plans and was awaiting commitment from the rest of the world.

Throughout the evening, rumors have leaked that Obama was leaving. Others said the deal was nearly done at 6pm. Most reports now say there’s a “meaningful agreement,” but, not surprisingly, it won’t fully satisfy any country involved.

Watch now.

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