COP15: Africa walks out, and in, and…
14 December: This morning the African countries put an extra edge to the Climate Summit by threatening to walk out if the richer countries would not pay more attention to their binding targets. As I wrote earlier, the developing countries want to continue the Kyoto Protocol into a second commitment period after 2012, because the KP regime certifies these binding targets.
A slight panic, because this procedural fuzz is delaying all the processes. But the African countries promised to re-enter the meeting room after some more informal talks put more emphasis on Kyoto. But nobody is sure if they will stay there.
Actually, the EU delegation seemed to have been misunderstood for its point of view on the Kyoto Protocol. The EU does not want to get rid of the KP.
The Copenhagen chaos
The second week of the Conference of Parties (COP15) started in chaos. After a weekend full of demonstrations and arrests (especially in Copenhagen but also in other capitals of the World), the meeting centre itself became over-crowded. The organisation announced that it had issued more than 45,000 badges!
The organisation was definitely not fit to handle this crowd, so in the afternoon people were only admitted on a ‘one-person-out-one-person-in’ basis.
For the rest of the week, non-governmental organisations will be put on ration. And on Thursday and Friday, when some 110 Government leaders will attend the high-level segment, only around 1,000 of all 27,000 participants will get in. Anyway, it will be too late to lobby by then…
The Copenhagen order
The first week of Copenhagen concluded on Saturday with the adoption of some texts - finalising special technical segments. Specifically on technology transfer from rich to poor countries; building of capacity on climate issues in the South; and on adaptation to the consequences and on reforestation - major progress was reported by the UN climate bureau UNFCCC.
And now the environment ministers have arrived. On Saturday they had their first meetings, and today informal meetings continue. The ministers will start their official statements tomorrow afternoon.
Talking to the specialists around here, I conclude that most preparations are ready. Issues that meet wide approval have been analysed, as well as the issues that still show large gaps. Therefore ministers know where they coincide and where they collide.
However, even the ministers do not have a mandate to decide upon compromises. They only can lift the discussions to a higher, less technical level. On Thursday and Friday their bosses have to finish the business with ambitious targets and financing. So don’t expect a final decision before Friday. Meanwhile, the atmosphere gets tenser every hour (you may read that in two ways).
Despite the somewhat desperate and negative feelings of many people about the whole process, there are also some positive signs.
Such a positive sign came from the wind energy industry. They don’t ask anything, they just offer a solution. Last year (2008), wind energy provided the largest piece of all new power capacity installed in the richer regions of the EU and the US, but also in countries like China and India.
CEOs of the largest manufacturers of India (Suzlon) and China (Sinovel) spoke of a healthy picture in their countries. In general, wind energy could meet two-thirds of the tabled 2020 emissions reductions in industrialised countries, and a good deal in developing countries as well.
In the US, EU and Asia wind energy is growing rapidly. The continents that are now being targeted are Africa, South-America, Australia.
Posted 15/12/2009 by Rolf de Vos
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