12 December, 2009

A changing climate at Bella Center

The day began today with a major street march of green militants in Copenhagen. It was a peaceful demonstration with few incidents with the enormous political apparatus. Within the corridors of the Bella Center, where COP 15 is taking place, it is seemingly quiet, but there is much nervousness and the climate is changing fast.

Sergio Abranches

Yvo de Boer, Secretary Executive of UNFCCC said the heads of state will have to deliver to this cry of millions all around the world for an ambitious deal. He also confirmed that “nobody is expecting the US to come into the Kyoto Protocol,” and that “given the time remaining there is no chance we have a legally binding deal in Copenhagen”. He expects, however, a robust political commitment to guide the drafting of a legally binding agreement over the “next six to twelve months in 2010.”

COP15 president, Connie Hedegaard, informed at a press briefing that there was a very productive informal meeting of the COP15 Parties, putting together the 48 ministers that have already arrived. There are still “many unresolved issues and an enormous challenge for the days ahead,” she said, but there was progress and some basic understanding on what are the main issues to be settled. She also said that “with the Ministers, political will has arrived, but political will is not enough.”

UN Secretary Yvo de Boer confirmed that the ministers have decided to use the two documents tabled by the Chairs of the Working Groups on the Kyoto Protocol and Long Term Cooperative Action as a basis for negotiations. But “there is a lot of work to be done and many Parties object in many ways to many parts of the two documents”.

Connie Hedegaard said that there has been progress on adaptation, technology transfer and forestry: “those parts are closer to an agreement.”

The two major issues under heavy attack by major Parties are mitigation and finance. The part of the LCA document on mitigation has been fiercely objected by the US. Japan and Australia have also rejected to this part being a basis for a deal, but sources that were at the LCA meeting say they’ve agreed to work on it, to introduce the necessary modifications, thus withdrawing a veto that would have forced the Parties to abandon the draft altogether.

Tomorrow the ministers will meet informally again at the Bella Center, that will be closed to the press, to try to work on the objections the technical and diplomatic teams weren’t able to remove. COP15 president Hedegard said that the “real negotiation” started today, with the political discussion.

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