Update on Status as of Wednesday Morning, Copenhagen Time

Just a brief update. Was here until 1am last night when I gave up on the AWG-LCA; turns out the negotiations did eventually start up again and negotiators went at it until about 6am.

Ministers and Heads of State start negotiating today, but unfortunately the civil-servants didn’t do much to get the text ready for their approval…there is still an unbelievable amount of outstanding issues that the politicians must negotiate to get any agreement.

In case you need a brief recap about what we are doing here:

  • there are two main tracks of negotiations – (2) those taking palce under the Kyoto Protocol (amending this treaty, of which Canada is a party with binding emissions reductions committements and the U.S. is not – also note that large emitter-developing countries are not included in the emissions reduction commmittments in this document) referred to as the Ad Hoc Working Group for Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and (3) those taking place under the Framework Convention – referred to as the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long-Term Cooperative Action. (AWG-LCA)

Update from last night:

  • AWG-KP: stock taking plenary revealed that although progress has been made the text is currently “in no position to be forwarded to the minister”. There are still many unresolved issues, with a variety of options on the table and no clear way forward. There is general agreement that the flexibility mechanisms (CDM, JI and emissions trading) will continue after 2012, and general agreement on a few other issues, but NO consensus on some fundamental issues
  • AWG-LCA: this whole text is bracketed. Meaning there is no consensus on ANYTHING. This text we now have is supposed to form a basis for for a new legally binding treaty. At present it is confusing, full of options, and generally very disappointing.

NOTE: someone just came by and yelled: How does it feel to fail everybody….

Also note: someone else just said: “these things often come together in the last minutes”

Here’s hoping

As for the ceremony, it’s ongoing. The high level segment opened yesterday with inspiring views from a number of world leaders and opinion leaders, including appearances and/or speeches by the Queen of Denmark, Prince Charles, Al Gore and Wangari Muta Maathai. It’s amazing that the rhetoric is so far away from the political reality of this issue. But the fact that there seems to be a wave of political will is positive.

Micheal Martin, Canada’s chief negotiator told us this morning that about 100 heads of state have arrived, or will be shortly. Hopefully this means they will actually talk and work something out. However, President Obama probably cannot commit anything much since the domestic U.S. issues are still unresolved. Without the U.S. fully engaged and able to commit, it is unclear there can be much movement forward!

Let’s keep hoping the United Nations is the right forum for action on this. As I sit here delegates of all creeds, cultures, nationalities, views are walking by me. It’s truely an amazing place. We have vast differences, but one commonality. We all are dependant on the same core inputs for survival! We all live on this planet together…I still have faith we can work it out.