COP 21 will need to prove that the international community has not failed on climate change, writes Jonathan Cobb.
In 2009, world leaders met in Copenhagen - along with 40,000 civil servants, NGOs and journalists - in what was described as a vital conference in progressing beyond the Kyoto Protocol in the fight against climate change. The leaders agreed to make pledges that were far less effective than they needed to be, while most of the NGOs found themselves locked out due to overcrowding. Coupled with the controversy over the Climategate emails, these failings produced the perfect storm to seed growing scepticism over climate change.
Since then, the annual UNFCCC COP/MOP meetings have continued each year with far less fanfare and little obvious progress. And despite the global financial crisis that took people's minds off the long-term threat of climate change and refocused them on the more pressing economic trials, global emissions of greenhouse gases have continued to rise.