The Copenhagen Spin from Around the Climatesphere

December 18, 2009 | Yael Borofsky,

As a whirlwind of drama unfolded in the 11th hour of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen today, voices from across the climatesphere were quick to report on the outcome thus far, adding their own perspective (read: spin) on the events. Below are excerpts from some of the press releases issued to date, provided without comment:

League of Conservation Voters (press release):

"While there is still much work to be done, the deal reached is a breakthrough for international climate cooperation and provides a path forward towards a binding global treaty in 2010.

Significantly, the United States and China will - for the first time - both be at the table, working to tackle the historic challenge of global climate change. Additionally, the deal allows for more transparency, as developed and developing countries have now agreed to list their national actions and commitments regarding greenhouse gas reductions.
We applaud President Obama for his leadership in helping to reach this important step toward a meaningful agreement...

The Copenhagen climate talks bring to a close a year in which more has been done to curb global warming pollution - both at home and abroad - than ever before."

Sierra Club (press release, statement from Carl Pope, Executive Director):

"The world's nations have come together and concluded a historic--if incomplete--agreement to begin tackling global warming. Tonight's announcement is but a first step and much work remains to be done in the days and months ahead in order to seal a final international climate deal that is fair, binding, and ambitious. It is imperative that negotiations resume as soon as possible." (press release):

"The President has wrecked the UN (and the planet)" 

Bill McKibben and Response to President Obama's Speech

COPENHAGEN -- Bill McKibben, American environmentalist and founder of, responds to Obama's press conference this evening:

"This is a declaration that small and poor countries don't matter, that international civil society doesn't matter, and that serious limits on carbon don't matter. The president has wrecked the UN and he's wrecked the possibility of a tough plan to control global warming. It may get Obama a reputation as a tough American leader, but it's at the expense of everything progressives have held dear. 189 countries have been left powerless, and the foxes now guard the carbon henhouse without any oversight."


Greenpeace (press release, statement from Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo):

"Not fair, not ambitious and not legally binding. The job of world leaders
is not done. Today they failed to avert catastrophic climate change.

The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty
men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic
climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big
enough to fly Air Force One through.

"We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest one
facing humanity is a leadership crisis."


Friends of the Earth:

"Climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilizing climate."


Climate Justice Now! (press release):

"Despite President Obama's assurances of progress today at the UN Climate Talks, the negotiations continue into the early morning as civil society leaders are left out of the sessions at the Bella Center and protesters gather outside.

For the U.S., which is the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, to come to Copenhagen and try to strong arm the world into accepting a phony accord that will do nothing to prevent climate catastrophe is beyond irresponsible; it is criminal." said John Peck, Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders and member of Via Campesina.

"At the present, before the end of the final plenary, the draft Copenhagen Accord sets dangerously low emissions targets and provides too few resources to stop the unfolding climate catastrophe gripping the planet," said Professor Michael Dorsey with the Climate Justice Now! Network. "The Accord is little more than rhetoric hiding a failure to actually address the climate crisis. This destructive Accord represents a death sentence for Africa, the Amazon, Indigenous Peoples, and small island nations."