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Local opposition, activists slam Copenhagen accord

South Africa’s political opposition and environmentalists described the controversial Copehagen agreement on climate change reached by five powers, including South Africa, in Denmark at the weekend as ”not acceptable.”

Gareth Morgan, spokesperson on the environment for the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the deal spearheaded by US President Barack Obama ”lacks ambition” and marginalised developing countries.

”The accord is not acceptable as it stands,” he said, while adding it was not a surprising outcome and not an outright failure.

”In terms of getting all the countries in the world’s buy in – this accord is not going to do it,” Morgan told the German Press Agency DPA.

But the agreement was short enough on specifics to allow wiggle room for the developing world, he said.

Earthlife Africa, a environmental lobby group based in
Johannesburg, also expressed disappointment.

”We have got something which is very disappointing, and nowhere near what we were hoping for,” Richard Worthington, Earthlife’s spokesperson on climate change said by telephone from Copenhagen.

The US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa struck an agreement that recognises global warming should be kept under 2 degrees centigrade and promises aid to developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change. But it does not commit to specific target on reducing the emissions that cause warming.

The agreement promises $30-billion in aid to the developing world over the next three years but is less committal on long-term aid, expressing $100-billion a year by 2020 as an aim, not a pledge.

Some developing countries, particularly Latin American states, expressed anger at being presented with a done deal that was nevertheless grudgingly endorsed as a basis for further negotiations by most of the 192 nations at the conference. – Sapa

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