Will we see a Royal Flush in Copenhagen? (image by The Lobby)

As happens in poker games, players often “check” before betting. Poker tactics and psychology seem to work as well in climate change negotiations. After a long silence, two major card sharks have finally announced their bet as the game truly begins.

The bets translate into a 17% reduction by 2020 for the US and a 40% reduction by 2020 for China. That doesn’t sound too bad except that there is a little footnote. The base year to calculate the reductions is 2005 for both countries. Compared to 1990 levels (the EU’s base year) this makes the figure look tiny. Even tinier for China which will reduce by 40% “per unit of GDP”, thereby linking efforts to economic growth – the devil, as The Lobby’s boss likes to say, is in the detail. Whilst welcoming both players to the game, the Swedish EU Presidency announced itself to be ‘disappointed’ and asked them to raise their bets. That’s however a good start according to many commentators and China even received support from Greenpeace – so it can’t be too bad!

The EU of course wants more – as in a poker game, the one who’s got the good hand always wants to raise the pot. Shuffle up and deal!


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