copenhagenReuters reported yesterday that many world leaders are now supporting a delay in creating a legally binding pact to tackle climate change. The change is a dramatic about-face from a few weeks ago when a Copenhagen pact seemed eminent. From Reuters;

“There was an assessment by the leaders that it was unrealistic to expect a full, internationally legally binding agreement to be negotiated between now and when Copenhagen starts in 22 days,” said U.S. negotiator Michael Froman.
“We believe it is better to have something good than to have nothing at all,” said Chilean Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez. The next major U.N. climate meeting is in Bonn in mid-2010.
“Copenhagen can and must deliver clarity on emission reductions and the finance to kickstart action. I have seen nothing to change my view on that,” said Yvo de Boer, the U.N.’s top climate change official. Ministers from 40 nations will meet in Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday for preparatory talks

“There was an assessment by the leaders that it was unrealistic to expect a full, internationally legally binding agreement to be negotiated between now and when Copenhagen starts in 22 days,” said U.S. negotiator Michael Froman.

“We believe it is better to have something good than to have nothing at all,” said Chilean Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez. The next major U.N. climate meeting is in Bonn in mid-2010.

“Copenhagen can and must deliver clarity on emission reductions and the finance to kickstart action. I have seen nothing to change my view on that,” said Yvo de Boer, the U.N.’s top climate change official. Ministers from 40 nations will meet in Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday for preparatory talks. (Reuters, “World leaders back delay to final climate deal,” November 15, 2009)

But the agreement to delay is a definite setback in the eyes of environmental groups like Greenpeace;

“Climate change impacts are already affecting millions across the developing world and they need action now. This is not about time but rather the absence of political will from industrialised countries, which are refusing to take their fair share of the global efforts, and instead continue to postpone important decisions into eternity.” – Greenpeace International Climate Change Policy Advisor Kaisa Kosonen (The Ecologist, “EU must ‘step-in’ to save Copenhagen from disaster,” November 16, 2009)

The focus in Copenhagen will now be the mandating of continued talks and the setting of a deadline to pass legally binding emissions agreements. The negotiations could resume as early as next summer at the next UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn.