One day into overtime at COP17, and no-one at the ICC seems to be very clear about what’s happening. But if the delays mean that vulnerable states are digging in their heels when confronted by proposals from rich countries that spell certain disaster, then deadlock is in fact progress. Because what the world cannot afford is further pretense that current actions are sufficient.
More detailed insights below, from the Global Climate Change Alliance:
Daily Tck: 2pm on Saturday, 10 December
When Ministers started arriving in Durban a few days ago many NGOs reminded them “it is all to play for”. Yet negotiations are now well into overtime and there are so many issues still at play that is hard to see an outcome that can be celebrated.
If there was one word to describe what is going on as the Durban climate talks drag on into midday Saturday – ‘chaos’ certainly comes to mind.
Yesterday’s Daily Tck referenced the ‘dreadful’ Chair’s proposed text on the Big Picture and it was almost universally panned particularly by the LDCs and AOSIS who pleaded for a much more ambitious outcome that gives them a chance a survival. There was a new Chair’s Big Picture text presented to Ministers at midnight Friday and they emerged at 2am looking much happier with the new proposed text. It includes a reference to a legal ‘instrument’ as opposed to a ‘framework’, recognizes the ‘gap’ between what Parties have pledged and where the science says we need to be and it references the conclusion of negotiations of a new treaty by 2015. Notably absent was a reference to when a new treaty would come into force and a reference to common but differentiated responsibilities.
While the new Big Picture text was received more warmly than the first iteration – as they say the devil is in the details and Ministers left the ministerial to set about studying the new KP text that was released a little before 2am last night. The LCA text was to be released at 6:00am but was not put online until nearly 10:30am. The delay in putting up the LCA text is a good indication of the number of unresolved issues and that this COP is simply running out of time to get much of anything decided. This is the result of Ministers leaving their negotiators with far too narrow mandates that would have allowed them to set the table with a limited series of decisions by the time they arrived. Some might say this was by design by less ambitious Parties but nevertheless we save the recriminations for later.
Substantively there is a proposal on the table for a 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol for 2013 – 2017. The bad news is the forestry loopholes are just about as bad as they could get which puts into question the integrity of the KP.
As predicted for the past few days, the Green Climate Fund looks like it will launch in some form but it will remain an empty shell with no sources of funds identified. It is still possible that a work program to assess new sources of funds will be included in a decision here. Given the High Level Panel on Finance submitted their work on this very question to the Cancun COP it is hard to see this as anything more than a delaying tactic.
Finally the critical issue of mitigation is for all intents and purposes off the table at this stage. The Daily Tck has noted over the past several days that it is important to remind ourselves that at the end of the day irrespective of the importance of legal form we must find a way to mitigate now even in the absence of a global deal. As of publication there is word that AOSIS and other progressive Parties are fighting hard to at least get a decent workplan on mitigation into the text. Observers on the floor are doing their best to support this intiative.
It is not over yet but it is hard not to feel a mixture of sadness and anger over what appears to be another CoP that just takes us closer to 4 degrees.