Dispatch from Copenhagen

Dear friends,

Japan tabled 11 billion last night – and no one mentioned it! The money on the table is having little effect here.

On the eve of the last day, negotiators do not have a draft climate agreement to present to the 120 Heads of States tomorrow. Ten minutes ago, agreement was reached to establish a small “Friends of the Chair” group to address only three of the key issues at the higher political level: mitigation in developed countries, finance, and the role of market mechanisms. Other issues remain in small subgroups.The common feeling is that 2 days have been utterly wasted, with talks mired in procedural issues and barely any substantive exchange.

For the last three days, developed countries have been trying to pool all talks into a single stream, and address all outstanding issues at the higher political level. Many developing countries opposed for fear of being left out of the final discussion. Result: Today the climate talks split into a multitude of separate drafting groups (about 15 in total). See some progress cards below.

About an hour ago, Russia proposed establishment of a “Friends of the Chair” group to address all remaining issues at the higher political level. Another big fight ensued over transparency: Westerners, Mexico, Malaysia and some other Southern countries supported the proposal as the fastest way to make progress and complete the work. Venezuela, China,  Sudan and other developing countries opposed strongly, fearing lack of inclusion and transparency.

Decision: continue talks in the subgroups and establish Friends of the Chairs group but limit its scope.

Here are my notes of the group reports:

Reports from LCA subgroups

Adaptation group made progress but disagreements on three questions remain: response measures, the poluter pays principle, and historical responsibility.

Finance group: basic agreement to establish international mechanism. Disagreement on composition of the board.

Technology group much progress, close to completing text. Outstanding issues on link between finance and technology support, and intellectual property rights.

Recording mechanisms for NAMAs (actions by developing countries) No progress. Key issues: how to treat “autonomous” NAMAs that are not internationally supported; registry or mechanism, and whether key function is to facilitate international support, or facilitate matching actions with support.

Capacity building group good progress even before Copenhagen. Outstanding issues: financial resources for capbuilding, institutional arrangements, how to review, and legal obligations on capbuilding.  Close on principle of common responsibility.

REDD plus removed many brackets: draft decision bracketed text on source of finance, relationship to NAMAs, link to MRV of actions and support and quantitative goal for REDD. Further progress contingent on other groups.

Various approaches: slow progress. Two issues: whether COP should touch Montreal Protocol, and role of markets: whether role for market under LCA and if so how to structure it.

ENHANCED ACTION on mitigation and finance: Fundamental disagreement on all key paragraphs.Most delegations repeated their national positions. A new version is coming to reflect proposals.

Agriculture group has not started work.

Radoslav S. Dimitrov, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Western Ontario
Social Science Centre
London, Ontario
Canada N6A 5C2
Tel. +1(519) 661-2111 ext. 85023
Fax +1(519) 661-3904

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