Substance and Rumour

According to an article in the Guardian yesterday, we are all in disarray, here in Copenhagen. This certainly comes as news to me. There is no visible manifestation of disarray as far as I can tell. Well, no more than usual in such a teeming, multicultural environment. Early closing last night of the food stall serving beer and wine briefly threatened a mini revolt, until another outlet was discovered in a neighbouring corridor.

The problems are supposedly due to developing countries’ outrage at a leaked ‘Danish text’, of a draft COP agreement. Connie Hedegaard, Chair of COP15 (and soon to take up the newly-created EU post of climate change commissioner), has indeed been consulting with at least 40 countries to prepare a draft text, but there is little new material here. Should we be worried?

This controversial draft text reflects many of the known positions of industrialized (Annex 1) countries; elements of Kyoto must be renegotiated to reflect updated information, developing countries must plan and monitor Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to become entitled to funds for adaptation to climate change. Brazil, India, China and South Africa, on behalf of the G77 group of developing countries, have released an alternative draft, perhaps in response to the Danish text. This stresses that Kyoto cannot be renegotiated, rejects the link between NAMAs and finance, and reduces forestry issues to a footnote.

These competing drafts in fact set out very starkly the negotiating positions of two sides to the debate – a reasonably useful (but probably superfluous) exercise at the start of these two weeks of negotiations, but certainly no cause for panic. In fact, progress today was evident. The first session to draft a document on REDD+ technical issues under SBSTA was remarkable only for the lack of dissent. A series of countries, one after another, passed a pleasant hour agreeing with each other. Even Brazil, notable in the past for its insistence on a deforestation-only RED, was keen to spell out the full scope of a REDD+ mechanism. The Chair of the AWG-LCA group, dealing with political issues on REDD+, invited all interested parties, including NGOs, to consultations on Wednesday. Parties are in broad agreement that they should finalise a text on REDD+ by Friday. In part, this is fuelled by a desire to give a boost to the wider negotiations in the second week.

By the way, what’s this I hear about Gordon Brown requesting a proposal on REDD financing from Ban Ki-Moon and Robert Zoellick – and, allegedly, receiving a detailed reply? Let’s see if we can encourage another leak.

Ben Vickers, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests

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1 Comment

  1. Good to read a more realistic analysis of the ‘drafts’ – the mainstream media tends to the hysterical whenever possible.


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