Copenhagen Agreement

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The Copenhagen Agreement is a draft climate change agreement developed by Circle of Commitment and leaked to The Guardian at the start of the COP15 conference. The draft agreement -- which has also been referred to as the "Danish text" -- was prepared in consultation with the the governments of the UK, US and Denmark.[1]

The agreement was an early iteration of what was launched by Barack Obama as the Copenhagen Accord.


Writing in The Guardian, John Vidal wrote that the draft text "hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations." He summarised the key provisions of the text as:

  • "a departure from the Kyoto Protocol's principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act";
  • " The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank;"
  • "would abandon the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions;" and
  • "would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions."[1]

Vidal also reported that an analysis of the draft text by developing countries concluded that the draft agreement would:

  • "Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;"
  • "Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called 'the most vulnerable';"
  • "Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;"
  • "Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes."[1]

Provisions of the draft text

The draft text:

  • "recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C";
  • stated that the "Copenhagen Agreement" was a "political agreement" which "will become effective immediately";
  • proposed a specified peaking year for emissions and proposed that this be no later than 2020, though that timetable was bracketed indicating a point that was contested;
  • proposed a "goal of a reduction of global annual emissions in 2050 by at least 50 percent versus 1990 annual emissions, equivalent to at least 58 percent versus 2005 annual emissions";
  • "A share of fast-start financing comprising [$X] for 2010-12 will be provided through existing channels, including the Adaptation Fund, to implement actions identified in National Adaptation Programmes of Action and other urgent needs and to build capacity for further planning."
  • "The developed country Parties commit to individual national economy wide targets for 2020. The targets in Attachment A would expect to yield aggregate emissions reductions by X1 percent by 2020 versus 1990 (X2 percent vs. 2005). The purchase of international offset credits will play a supplementary role to domestic action. The developed country Parties support a goal to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050 versus 1990 (X3 percent versus 2005)."
  • "The developing countries’ individual mitigation action could in aggregate yield a [Y percent] deviation in [2020] from business as usual and yielding their collective emissions peak before [20XX] and decline thereafter."
  • On the topic of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, the draft text stated that "parties collectively endorse the framework in Decision X/CP.15, with the aim of stabilizing forest cover in developing countries by [X] and reducing gross deforestation in developing countries by at least [XX]% by [2020] compared to current levels."
  • On the topic of reducing emissions from the aviation sector and the maritime industry, the draft text stated that "an effective mitigation response includes reduction of emissions from international bunker fuels. The Parties therefore commit to set and implement a global emission reduction target for international shipping equal to [x]% in 2020 compared to [2005] and a global emission reduction target for international aviation equal to [y]% in 2020 compared to [2005]. The Parties shall work through the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization to take this issue forward and secure a timely implementation of actions needed."
  • on technology transfer, the text proposed that "Developed country parties commit to work towards doubling aggregate public investments in climate related research, development and demonstration by 2015 from current levels and quadrupling the efforts by 2020. Parties stress the need for up front finance for inter alia technology capacity building, joint research and development and demonstration projects. Parties endorse the “Technology Mechanism” set forth in decision X5/CP15, containing a technology objective, a UNFCCC technology body, the development of technology action plans, the establishment of six Climate Technology Innovation Centres in developing countries, support to joint RD&D efforts between developed and developing countries, and technology support to nationally appropriate mitigation actions, and adaptation activities, by developing country Parties."
  • On financing, the draft text proposed:
"Developed country parties commit to deliver upfront public financing for 2010-201[2] corresponding on average to [10] billion USD annually for early action, capacity building, technology and strengthening adaptation and mitigation readiness in developing

countries as set forth in Attachment C;"

"From [2013] The Parties commit to regularly review appropriateness of contributions and the circle of contributors against indicators of fairness based on GDP and emissions levels and taking into account the level of development as set forth in Attachment C."
and that one source of funds should be to "global financing contributions from international aviation and international maritime transport generated through instruments developed and implemented by the ICAO and IMO respectively should be channeled through the Climate Fund from [2013], [mainly for adaption purposes], taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."
for developed countries "The implementation of the respective mitigation contributions and the related reductions are subject to international measurement, reporting and verification and each developed country Party is to report on emission reductions achieved in relation to targets in Attachment A utilising a common methodology. Finance, technology and capacity building for developing countries actions are subject to robust MRV. Provision of international public climate financing should be verified in conjunction with the MRV of supported action and according to international guidelines."
  • for developing countries, "the supported mitigation actions and the related reductions are subject to robust MRV. MRV of supported actions must verify that financing as well as action is delivering in full towards commitments. Implementation of developing country mitigation actions that are not externally supported will be subject to national MRV based on international agreed guidelines and a consultative review under UNFCCC."
  • proposed an ongoing negotiations including:
"Decide to continue negotiations pursuant to decisions taken at COP13 and COP15, with a view to agreeing on a comprehensive legal framework under the Convention no later than COPXX"
"Decide on a review of commitments and actions under the Convention to be started in 2014 and completed in 2015 with a view of enhancing commitments and actions on mitigation and adaptation, and climate finance to achieve the Convention’s ultimate objective and paragraph 2 and 3 above taking into account the conclusions of the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC.

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Vidal, Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after 'Danish text' leak, Guardian, December 8, 2009.

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