The climate after Copenhagen

Oxfam America’s assessment of the COP-15 and the road ahead.

Copenhagen was an unprecedented moment in the history of climate change policy. Heads of State – more than 100 of them – participated in UN climate negotiations for the first time, adding a sense of political weight and import to the negotiations. And global attention was focused like never before on climate policy and negotiations.

This was the direct outcome of two years of negotiations and preparation by governments, added to in critical ways by civil society mobilization. The negotiated outcome at Copenhagen very clearly left the job undone, with a low level of ambition and many gaps left to be filled. But it did create some forward movement, and it should most importantly be seen as a moment that crystallized a global focus on climate change in historic ways.

The task now is to capture that energy and mobilize our public and political power for a fair, ambitious, and legally binding deal by the next major UN climate summit in Mexico City at the end of 2010. As Copenhagen demonstrated, this will not be an easy task, but there is no credible alternative. We try to capture here what happened at Copenhagen, as well as what is necessary to do in the coming year.

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