The UN’s biggest party in history is over

Dilatory, long-winded, and boring, yet heated, the curtain has been lowered on the highly dramatic UN Climate Change Conference. This marathon conference was extended one day beyond the original schedule, leaving its many “marathon runners” even more exhausted. But in the end, there was no legally binding agreement. Obviously, it was another summit for unity, another victory. 

It’s as if fate was at work. The intention was to control the global increase in temperatures by reducing emissions, and the wrong place was chosen at the wrong time. From the opening day marking the start of both the second phase of the conference and the summit, snow began falling in Copenhagen and after a few days, became heavier and heavier. Today, the city is still buried under a thick layer of snow. A local resident told me it hasn’t snowed in years; it’s been 17 years since Copenhagen had a white Christmas.

It almost seems that Copenhagen’s snow was intentionally stirring up trouble at the global climate conference. But actually, scientists don’t all agree that human activities can influence climate change. Although there are signs of warming, some scientists believe that the earth is just entering a warming phase, which would happen with or without humans. The former US candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin, represented the views of many other Republicans when she published an article denying that humans can affect the weather. Let’s boldly hypothesize for a moment. If it’s not possible for human activities to influence the climate, then all these people up in arms, meeting in Copenhagen holding a conference on climate change: isn’t that a comical affair? 

But even if there are different opinions, even if humans cannot affect the climate, if every country reduces carbon emissions and develops their green economy, in the end it will immeasurably benefit our lives and environment. From this perspective, that the Copenhagen conference can take the first step in reaching a common understanding is, as Ban Ki-moon said, “a step in the right direction.” The global media has been in a frenzy of attack on Copenhagen. At the very least, it has brought the idea of environmentalism to the people of the world, and created a strong, high-pressure discussion on the topic. I believe it will be an embarrassment to the leaders of countries with the fewest reductions. 

These ten-odd days of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference have been just like a huge party, attracting all and sundry to this unusual spectacle: politicians, stars, official and civilian, leftists and rightists. Walking around the Bella Center, you are occasionally shocked by the person at your side. Hey, isn’t that the Danish Prime Minister, Rasmussen? Isn’t that the former candidate for US President, John Kerry? And Hillary? You raise your head and see someone very familiar. It turns out it’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Also, Wen Jiabao, Sarkozy, Merkel, Obama, Chavez, Ahmadinejad – for a moment, right next to you. 

Over 130 leaders from countries and international organizations attended the climate conference; Ban Ki-moon said this is unprecedented in United Nations history. However, a party is just a party. A spectacle is just that: to establish law, we’ll have to find another opportunity.

Unfortunately, it will probably be difficult to create a legally binding treaty during next year’s climate conference in Mexico. Perhaps it will be another party, but on a smaller scale – everyone’s energy was spent at Copenhagen.