Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday's negotiations

With only two days left of the scheduled meetings, there is still a lot on the table up for negotiation. Although the negotiations have been proceeding slowly and all negotiating tracks are behind schedule, there has definitely been some notable progress which is necessary to work our way towards an international agreement. Yesterday, many of the discussions that took place dealt with tougher political issues, which meant that many meetings took place behind closed doors, so observer organizations like us weren’t allowed to observe. This caused a spike in observer organization actions in the hallways to get the attention of the negotiators and clarify their demands. Various actions in the hallways of the convention center showed negotiators that civil society:

-supports science and wants it to be further considered in terms of parties’ ambitions to contribute (if scientific advise is a reduction of emissions by 17%, by 2020, parties’ policies should reflect that)

-wants more demonstrated ambition (and pledges) by individual parties

-seeks solutions that match realities like gender imbalance and climate change health effects

-seek solutions that match the pace of climate change – The Philippines typhoon aftermath is devastating

-supports youth from the Arab World (Arab Youth Climate Movement) who are calling on their leaders to prepare for change and take the lead

-supports youth from the US who are pushing the Obama to consider his “#climatelegacy” – they are telling Obama that his legacy is shaped by his responses to climate change

As far as the actual negotiations, there is some positive news. Equity between parties in international policies was expected to be a highly contentious topic, and an especially sticky point for the US. However, yesterday the US publicly shifted its stance, which will now provide an opening for developing countries to encourage the idea that every country has “common but differentiated responsibility” depending on their circumstances. Also, three countries came forward with significant climate finance commitments (unconfirmed): Germany, France, and Sweden. They all have ambitious plans for providing financial support for climate change issues. Given the giant financial losses in recent events like Hurricane Sandy and the storms in the Philippines, the money from these commitments will not be enough, but it is absolutely crucial . The women’s SBI Item 21 (revised at the session I attended!) is still on the table, and the powerful women of the UNFCCC and countries around the world are really pushing it. Christiana Figueres referred to it as the “Doha miracle”, because it’s the first Item addressing gender issues in the history of the Convention. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of the discussion of this Item.
An update from today already: The US has been requested to describe in detail how its pledge to reduce emissions by 17% will be executed, but the US delegation has refused to do so...


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