Czech NGOs hope Copenhagen will produce CO2 treaty but president sceptical

Photo: European Commission

Delegations from 192 countries will arrive in the city of Copenhagen on Monday for two weeks of talks aimed at establishing a new global treaty on climate change. The majority of governments now agree with the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global warming is man-made and rising temperatures are a threat to mankind. There are, however, some sceptical voices, including that of the Czech president Václav Klaus. So what do Czechs want from Copenhagen?

Photo: European Commission
There are huge expectations from the Copenhagen conference amidst increasingly dramatic predictions of global warming, rising seas and potential catastrophes. The governments represented at the U.N. climate change conference, known to insiders as the Conference of the Parties or COP for short, are under enormous pressure to reach agreement on lowering CO2 emissions and other measures to fight the warming of the earth’s climate. Kateřina Husová is the international climate coordinator with CEE Bankwatch Network, a network of environmental organisations in Central and Eastern Europe.

“It’s of the uppermost importance to be honest. I think the Copenhagen conference comes not even five minutes before twelve but five minutes after twelve. All the scientific evidence of recent days suggests that climate change is progressing much faster and at a worse rate than even the IPCC report of 2007 preducted.”

Kateřina Husová will be among thousands of delegates in Copenhagen for the next two weeks, and says she’s confident that the Czech Environment Minister Jan Dusík shares her organisation‘s concerns to the full. But there are critical voices; the head of the Intergovernmental Panel says claims that some data apparently doubting the accepted wisdom on climate change was deliberately withheld ahead of Copenhagen must be investigated. All this has fuelled critics’ hopes that the COP in Copenhagen will end without agreement. Kateřina Husová again.

Václav Klaus | Photo: Radio Prague International
“Those claims are really minor ones. The Danish COP presidency already has indications that about 90 heads of state out of 190 are coming to Copenhagen to confirm their political will and to sign the deal there. I think the world’s leaders cannot leave Copenhagen without a good agreement, because a lot of eyes of NGOs and the world’s nations are looking at Copenhagen and waiting to see what the outcome will be.”

Among those hoping Copenhagen will not be a success is President Václav Klaus, a known sceptic of manmade global warming. He said this week it was his sincere hope that world leaders will not agree on plans to reduce CO2 emissions at Copenhagen, plans he believes are simply tilting at windmills.