Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Mystery of the Hidden Documents

As it turns out, there wasn't any. But there was a widespread fear that nefarious things were happening in back rooms that the negotiators did not know about. Today there was a COP plenary whose intention was to take stock of where negotiations are halfway through the conference.

The President of the COP had to spend the first ten minutes convincing all the assembled nations that rumors of hidden documents and schemes brokered behind closed doors did not exist. There is a great deal of distrust among the parties stemming from what happened last year in Copenhagen when heads of state flew in at the last moment and tried to broker a deal separate from everyone that had been negotiating the entire conference. Finally, she had to pledge that there would be no separate and parallel ministerial-level negotiations or texts that would be prepared when ministers start arriving tomorrow.

The meeting itself was crazy. It began forty-five minutes late and went two hours over time. All in all, forty-eight countries felt it necessary to state objectives, clarify points, or urge their peers. At the end of the stock-taking meeting, it was clear where the state of negotiations lie. There are a few very clear dividing lines between countries but perhaps people are not as far apart as previously thought. The leaders of the conference are going to have to work hard to overcome the mistrust that exists among participants.

In the end, the fear that everyone had concerning the fate of the Kyoto Protocol and the breakdown of talks over this issue failed to manifest itself. Kyoto is not dead yet but it is on life-support.

In very careful language, the chair of the ad-hoc working group on the Kyoto Protocol indicated that he was confident there was room for negotiation and that parties could come to some accommodation about an extension of the agreement. That remains to be seen as there is a lot of work to be done yet and very little time in which to do it.

Keep your fingers crossed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.