After Copenhagen
Demonstrators hold a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration outside the Bella Center, the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, early Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP)

Demonstrators hold a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration outside the Bella Center, the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, early Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP)

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For 2009 anyway, the huge conference in Copenhagen was framed as the be-all and end-all of climate change intervention. The glorious moment when the world would rise and commit to act to stave off the worst of global warming.

In the event, Copenhagen almost collapsed. It took a U.S. president and a handful of other leaders to eke out a couple pages of accord.

Some now describe Copenhagen as a nearly apocalyptic failure. Others as the “get real” beginning of something good.

This hour, On Point: top environmentalists, home from Copenhagen, weighing what just happened.


Bill McKibben, writer, environmentalist, and founder of, an international climate activism campaign.  He’s scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College and author of a dozen books, most recently “The Bill McKibben Reader.” He led a rally at Klimaforum in Copenhagen with Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed. His dispatches from Copenhagen were published at Grist.

David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate center. He served as director of climate change policy at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration. He was part of the US delegation that negotiated the Kyoto Protocol. He attended the climate talks in Copenhagen as an official observer for the NRDC.  He wrote about it for the NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

Read the text of the Copenhagen Accord at the Washington Post.


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