Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14th, 2:39 PM CET

Bella Center

Quick update from the negotiations:

- Controversy today surrounded the pullout of G77 nations as they feel steamrolled by developing countries as the final days of the conference approach. The G77 objects to closing the door on further extensions of the Kyoto Protocol, as they fear losing hard-won gains under that agreement. Though the Kyoto Protocol is essentially irrelevant without the support of the United States, there is a practical aspect to this debate. In the words of the Nigerian delegate on Saturday, "Don't kill the mother until the baby is born." That is, avoid scrapping the one mildly successful climate agreement on the table before the promised improvement has arrived. On the other hand, arguing over provisions that only effect signatories to Kyoto is most likely a gargantuan waste of time, especially considering the large amount of work left to do on crucial issues - short term financing, actual emissions targets - before the close of the conference. We hope to see a resolution to this stand-off before the end of the day if world leaders want to put pen to paper on Friday.

- US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu also dropped by today to deliver a delightfully wonky (in the science sense) powerpoint presentation leading up to the announcement of the launch for Climate REDI (Renewable and Efficiency Deployment Initiative). And I was beginning to fear we'd run out of acronyms. His science is right on, as are the initiatives involved, but the funding in puny - less than $200 million; $85 million from the US, $5 million from Australia, portions from Italy, etc., spread out over the next five years.

(Update - sources are reporting as much as $350 million.)

- In related news, the youth high-level press briefing by Connie Hedegaard (COP15 President) and Yvo de Boer (UNFCCC Executive Secretary) was just cancelled as they are still stuck in plenary. (I was in the third row...)

Yours briefly,

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