Joe Jordan

the geek of hearts

T-5: Travel sick yet?

We are now five (make that four by the end) days from a Global Agreement on Climate Change (touch wood). Today has been very busy, so let me give you a recap of what happened.

Bright and Early UK press conference

Well done boys. The British delegation appear to be serious about this (in spite of the Humphreyisms). There, I’ve got it out; our Labour boys seem to be working hard at the job of getting this done. I’m still not sure I’d have chosen then out of a list to do it, but they are in the room, they are pushing for the right things, and that is what counts.

Now, when I say “boys”, I mean of course the two who sat before the journalists at 9:30 AM this morning with bleary eyes and defended their conduct thus far, and stated positions on important issues like Tuvalu, the link between Climate Change and International Development Objectives, and the need for serious investment in developing nations to get the necessary infrastructure in place to achieve our climate goals.

They affirmed their desire to see reduction commitments from developed nations, and action commitments from developing nations, and emphasised that more transparency in the negotiations would make this faster and easier. Hear Hear!

When asked about Tuvalu’s 1.5 Degree target request, they pulled a Humphrey Littleton and answered in New Labour doublespeak – The presence of Tuvalu is a reminder of the urgency of the problem, they think that 2 degrees is all that is achievable, however that retaining lots of ambition is necessary to get the best deal that people can agree to. This isn’t as contradictory as it sounds; they are saying that 2 degrees is in the bank, and let’s lobby for more, I think (you never can tell with New Labour).

They also emphasised the necessity for proper accountability and transparency in the measuring of the targets; they reject China’s position that external or independent measurement is an imposition on the internal affairs of a state. This is also good news as it means that concrete sanctions (that will prevent a repeat of 97-09 under the KP) might be on the table.

And then the G77 walked out…

Erm, pardon? the G77 (massive delegation of 77 developing nations) walked away from the table?!? Well, yes, because the AWG KP (the group working on the extension to the Kyoto Protocol) had been put on hold. Good for them; this was the only complete legal framework holding the developed nations in place under it (notably excluding the USA, of course), and their argument that it shouldn’t be abandoned until the LCA had a legal framework that was fit for purpose is a very compelling one. Informal meetings didn’t stop, but valuable time was/is being lost!

And then Connie came to the rescue!

I have just come from the Civil Society Q and A with Connie Hedegaard, which was amazing. Here is a really inspiring person clearly working very hard for this conference to deliver on it’s Bali roadmap objectives, and I salute her for it! She is the Climate Change Minister in the Danish Government and the new European Commissioner for Climate Change, in case you were frantically trying to google her name.

She said that the deal she is hoping to arrive at on Friday is a KP extension / amendment for those already bound by it, and an LCA legal framework for the other nations, with underlying commitments under both protocols that have been negotiated in detail. she emphasised substance over form, and said that a legally binding vehicle would be useless unless the detail of the commitments had been agreed, so it was important to get the commitments set in stone at this summit, with the pressure and focus still on the issue, and the “form”, the detail, can be finished off later. I think this is very sensible; with the legal vehicle being finalised at a COP15.5 next spring or summer, with more breathing room, but the carbon cuts finalised now.

She emphasised very heavily that pressure is required from us – the NGOs, the delegates from Civil Society at large, irrespective of nation or standing, to keep the pressure on, to make sure that there is no political quarter for any world leader who doesn’t make this deal work, happen and succeed.

She also mentioned an interesting way of paying for the ambitious development advocated by some; this will be discussed in detail tomorrow morning, so come back then!

originally appeared here