Climate Change Report from Copenhagen 3

Integral Ecology | Thu, Dec 10, 2009

By Cliona Sharkey
Source: Center of Concern, CIDSE

Update 3: Wednesday-Thursday, December 9-10

Dear all,

As has no doubt become obvious from the media frenzy around leaked draft agreements, things are hotting up in cold and windy Copenhagen. The Danish Prime Minister’s proposal seen a few days ago was apparently an old text and new versions are circulating, but only few have seen it. The Presidency is set to introduce its new proposal, formally this time, on Saturday. However, it now has some serious competition. The BASICS text has now reached the media, and it seems the African Group and Small Island Developing States are working on proposals of their own. The proliferation of proposals may mean that the Chair of the Working Group negotiating the new agreement will be mandated to produce a compromise text. This would be positive as it would return to being a ‘UN’ text as opposed to having come from one Group or other. It is also possible that the formal submission by Denmark is seen as the text to work on, given the significance of it coming form the Presidency. This would depend, however, on whether or not the Danes have managed to redeem themselves with parties over current days, and if they have addressed the serious concerns regarding the proposal leaked to the press this week. All in all, Saturday’s events will be worth watching…

However, it’s not just the flurry of texts that have people buzzing here in the Bella Centre; bold interventions by Tuvalu over the last two days have thrown plenary sessions into disarray, resulting in suspension and adjournment of various meetings. With the threat that developed countries will opt for a political rather than a legal agreement in Copenhagen, Tuvalu, a country extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise, has made two proposals in the last days which seek to ensure the conference will end with binding emission reduction targets for developed countries. Tuvalu had previously made a proposal for a binding new protocol, and called for the setting up of a Committee to discuss this. Today they called a meeting to a halt by proposing that amendments to the Kyoto Protocol should be agreed by vote, rather than consensus as is currently the practice. Informal consultations on these questions are ongoing, and all in sundry are scrambling to understand the whats and wherefores of the procedural rules and their implications.

Importantly, however, this development also flagged up increasing division between countries in the G77 as Tuvalu was not supported by all developing countries, China in particular, in their proposals. The reasons behind the divisions are not yet clear; what is clear is that vulnerable developing countries are not going down without a fight. Despite apparent huge pressure being put on some developing country negotiators to renege on their call for a 1.5 Degree C limit and legal outcome, and to accept a paltry short-term financing composed mainly of repackaged aid commitments, vulnerable developing countries are standing strong.

African civil society emerged from a meeting with their negotiators the other day and burst into spontaneous protest, furious to learn of the attempts by rich countries to wear developing country negotiators down. They have written to Obama, calling on him to protect the dreams of their fathers, and continue to stage demonstrations around the conference centre.

The speculative rumblings of the first few days have given way to a frenzy of activity. One result of the developments of the last few days is that Parties are now focused to an extent that seemed unimaginable during the snailspaced negotiations over the last two years. It is impossible to predict what the next days will bring, but it is clear that everything is there to play for.

Germany has just received a ‘fossil of the day’, a disparaging award from civil society for negative actions of Parties. Germany received the award as a result of the decision by the German Parliament last week that climate financing should not be additional to ODA commitments’. Following intense work by Misereor, Caritas Germany and other NGOs over the last days, it is hoped that this public award will help shift the debate in the German government as Angela Merkel meets with other EU leaders at the European Council today and tomorrow.

For media messaging

Suggested response to the leak of the BASICS text which you can use is;

"This text is a tactical move on behalf of the BASIC group in response to the Danish Prime Minister’s text.   Parties are free to draft text among themselves, but the Danes, the COP hosts, supposedly neutral in this process have over stepped the mark, and have drawn this reaction from China et al."

We are also planning press work around the European Council focusing on longterm financing and additionality. To be circulated.

Looking forward to wlecoming more of you tonight and tomorrow,

Cliona and Christine