What kind of present will Copenhagen give the world this Christmas?
It was time to wrap up. Time to bring the days discussions to a formal conclusion - although there was still a couple of hours left before we arrived in Copenhagen. The panel was made up of Achim Steiner from UNEP, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux from UIC, Nicole Wilke from the German Ministry for the Environment and Jason Anderson, WWF International.
We heard how Copenhagen had to achieve new mechanisms for CO2 reduction, as well as setting high targets and agreeing how the transition to a low carbon economy will be paid for.
Mr. Loubinoux explained how transport had to become part of the climate negotiations and re-emphasised the role of rail. He explained how the railway sector had already voluntarily agreed to an emissions cut of 30% by 2030. He also explained how rail can benefit society by reducing death and injury caused by transport compared to the roads and that the land taken by rail was less than that taken by roads.
However for a modal shift from road and air to rail there will need to be investment in new infrastructure and the removal of perverse incentives where rail pays carbon taxes on its electricity but other sectors are not required to internalise their environmental costs.
Jason Anderson issued the clearest challenge. Europe’s offer of 20% essentially meant no new effort on emissions reduction by Europe. He said that there was a real chance that the loopholes in a new deal might outweigh the new targets.
As he said, "there is a danger that Copenhagen will be like a cheap Christmas present, nicely wrapped up in ribbon and paper, but disappointing and of no real value."
The Climate Express team hopes that we will be delighted by the present we receive from Copenhagen, not disappointed by a cheap gift concealed by its wrapper.