2 weeks, 5 pages
a mere 5 pages–all that could be taken note of in 2 years of work that started with the Bali Action Plan in December 2007 and culminated with the 2 week COP 15 here in Copenhagen. The mandate of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) which was supposed to end with the conference continues into the next year. Negotiations on the unresolved issues (almost everything on the agenda) drags on. It is hoped however that the much bandied about fair, ambitious and comprehensive legally binding deal will be forged as soon as possible.
Despite the fact that the Copenhagen Accords will be operationalized immediately, it lacks a lot of substance with regards to all the contentious issues. For example, parties could not agree to adopting the 1.5 degrees target, as put forward strongly by mainly the African parties and AOSIS. The infighting over exact emissions reductions of Annex I and non Annex I parties continues. National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) of non Annex I parties are now to be communicated to the UNFCCC in the form of national inventories of greenhouse gases, something China supposedly did not want to agree to. The process has been described by some as a “climate crime scene.”
The process of its formulation was a debacle in itself. It was last minute, supposedly not inclusive of all parties and messy to say the least. The usual charges of lack of transparency and accountability were brought up by certain countries such as Sudan and Vanuatu. It is unclear how in the final hours on Saturday morning, that opposition to the text by these countries had stopped. It is difficult to understand how parties could botch up such crucial negotiations when they had so much time on their hands, with the fate of our collective future at stake. (the UNFCCC began in 1992)
To the civil society, disappointment would be an extreme understatement. Leaving Copenhagen, the experience has been an eye-opening one. I have seen how civil society have been excluded from such negotiations, the protests and civil disobedience on the streets, the snail’s pace progress of negotiations, delays in plenary sessions, emotional outbursts, the array of solutions showcased through a myriad of side events, the logistical failure of accreditation and the Danish police at work and much much more.
No doubt, I will remain engaged in the coming weeks, months and years. I remain hopeful that we will seal the deal in time before dangerous and irreversible impacts occur.
One positive aspect may have emerged out of this conference. Media coverage of the event has been massive. I hope we now have a general public around the world that is increasingly sensitized and conscious of climate change as a serious, urgent issue. Only with ever greater public pressure can we herald success in tackling this issue.
Signing off from Copenhagen