‘First as Tragedy…’: Mistakes, Blaming and Learning at the Copenhagen Climate Conference

  • Antto Vihma


The Copenhagen climate meeting was the biggest and most anticipated climate meeting in history. Since the high expectations for the meeting were not met, an extensive debate on the reasons for the failure and on those who might be culpable took place after the conference, focusing especially on China and the Danish Presidency. This chapter identifies the underlying reasons for the failure, namely procedural mistakes and excessive expectations coupled with misconceptions of great power politics. Second, the chapter analyses the lessons learnt from the failure of Copenhagen, motivated by the blame game. Two aspects are highlighted in particular: the strategic leadership role of the presidency, which is needed for the consensus-based decision-making to function and the need for high-level bilateral cooperation between the USA and China.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antto Vihma
    • 1
  1. 1.Finnish Institute of International AffairsHelsinkiFinland

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