Adil Najam in The Guardian:
It was December 2009. I remember sitting on a plane on my way to Copenhagen. I wondered if this would be the historic moment when the world came to its senses.
There was hope in the air. Indeed, I was greeted by stickers on the subway that renamed Denmark’s capital “Hopenhagen”. I smiled.
There was widespread anticipation – nurtured frantically by the host nation – that the UN-sponsored climate summit (COP 15) would be “historic”. That the impasse on global climate change would be broken. That major CO2 emitters – the US, EU, China, India – would agree on a meaningful binding agreement that would (a) limit their emissions, (b) support developing countries in their transition to low-emission futures, and (c) create a mechanism to assist vulnerable countries in coping with the costs of adaptation and climatic disasters that, by then, had already become inevitable.
That, of course, did not happen.
Today I am again on a plane, on my way to Paris for COP 21. This time, I am not holding my breath. Not smiling.
The hype around Paris is not dissimilar to what one remembers before Copenhagen. Except the aspiration is even lower, the proposals less bold. The scientific consensus on the threats posed by climate change even more definitive. And the interests of developing countries even more marginalised.