Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Climate deal: Correspondents' log

BBC correspondents around the globe report on the reaction to a climate change deal set up by Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the US at the UN conference in Copenhagen.


Because of its size and location, India has an awful lot to lose if steps to control climate change are unsuccessful.

But the government will be reasonably satisfied with the compromise deal which seems to be emerging from the summit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that it fell short of expectations, but he still described it as a significant milestone.

Officials are pleased that the informal alliance with China has paid dividend, and India has not had to yield on any of its key demands.

In particular, India was not willing to accept a new legally binding treaty to fight climate change.

It also seems happy with the terms on which the international community will be allowed to verify the voluntary steps India takes to control emissions of greenhouse gases.

The government will be less delighted, though, with some of the criticism from the least developed countries of the deal, which India helped to negotiate.

The image Delhi likes to nurture as a champion of the poor in its international forays could take a bit of a battering.


South Africa's media showed little interest in Copenhagen but late on Friday night the country's President Jacob Zuma became a key player. Along with four other leaders, Mr Zuma took part in the meeting in which the much criticised final agreement was drafted.

It's hard to see Mr Zuma's input. That document meets few of the African continent's initial demands.

Collectively its leaders had wanted binding CO2 emission cuts of 40% of 1990 levels by 2020 and firm commitment to keep the temperature rise to 2C.

In the absence of either, it appears that money talked, keeping Africa on board.

A sizable chunk of the $100bn (£62bn) a year which has been promised by 2020 to help developing countries adjust to climate change looks likely to head to Africa.

This, however, is a continent used to big and sometimes unfulfilled promises and the exact origin of this $100bn remains vague. The agreement states it will come from "public and private, bilateral and multilateral" sources.


The Danish government's grand hopes of a "Copenhagen treaty" lies in tatters along with its reputation as host of this summit.

While the US and China are blamed for stubbornly sticking to their guns, it is the summit organisers who take the flak for those still mired in talks here.

Overnight, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has been called high-handed and patronising toward poorer countries. Venezuela's chief negotiator blamed him for overseeing a coup against the UN system.

Across the water in Sweden the government of Fredrik Reinfeldt is licking its wounds too. This happened on its EU presidency watch. From leading the way with an ambitious goal of a possible 30% EU emissions cut, its leadership has been forced to agree to a deal promising no cuts at all. Swedish papers had been praising Mr Reinfeldt's efforts here, but now they're rounding on him.

The only Scandinavian country walking out of the Bella Centre with its reputation in one piece is Norway.

The small but immensely rich oil nation is not an EU member. Free from the reins of Brussels, it comes out smelling of roses after promising another $150m (£93m) to fight deforestation in the Amazon.


There was little reaction from Chinese officials in the hours immediately following the announcement of the climate deal in Copenhagen.

Television news programmes were more concerned with celebrations on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the return to China of Macau, a former Portuguese colony.

But it seems clear that China believes it acted fairly in Copenhagen and is doing all it can to tackle global warming.

China's state-run news agency Xinhua put out an article suggesting just that. "Representatives from developing countries hailed China's commitments," it said.

And in some respects, whatever deal finally emerges from Copenhagen makes little difference to China.

It believes the burden of slowing down global warming lies with developed nations - not countries that are still tackling poverty, such as China.

Beijing has set itself a target - cutting the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for every unit of GDP by up to 45% - but that goal is voluntary.

And as Premier Wen Jiabao said in Copenhagen, China is committed to achieving that target - and even exceeding it - regardless of what is achieved in Denmark.


Even as the first news was emerging that some kind of "deal" had been reached in Copenhagen, the Brazilian media were reporting that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was on his way home.

He had earlier voiced his frustration at what had been achieved in the negotiations, while speaking of his belief that "miracles" were possible. It seems the president didn't think on this occasion that it was worth waiting around to see if one would happen.

Not surprisingly the tone of remarks coming from Brazilian diplomats was very flat. "Not what we expected," said one.

Still the Copenhagen summit is being characterised as "disappointing" but "not a failure". The view here is that there is still a big job to be done and that, if hopes were not realised this time round, that is no reason to give up.

In advance of Copenhagen, Brazil revealed its voluntary goal of reducing emissions by at least 36% and its intention to cut deforestation by 80%.

However, it also made clear its view that real progress on tackling climate change required a united international front, something which has still to be achieved.


"Dealmaker-in-chief" is how one US-based political website described President Barack Obama after he managed to secure an agreement with China, India, Brazil and South Africa after marathon negotiations.

But it's the lack of substance to the non-binding political accord which has infuriated environmentalists and emboldened critics in the US who consider the notion of man-made global warming as a "Hollywood hoax".

White House officials have conceded the deal reached by the president is a modest achievement, but they insist it is an achievement nonetheless.

Domestically, climate change legislation is a long way off. It has stalled for months in the US Senate. Still some Democrats are hopeful.

Senator John Kerry, co-author of the US Senate climate bill, has called President Obama , Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma the "four horsemen of a climate change solution".

He added that the agreement between the leaders would be a handy tool that would ensure any domestic legislation would "cross the finish line".

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