Welcome to the blog from COP-15, the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen. Over the next fortnight, officials, ministers and heads of state will be here to hammer out a… hang on there, will it be a deal, accord, or agreement? And will it be a “legally binding”, “politically binding” or “operationally binding” deal/agreement/accord?
A SciDev.Net team will be keeping up with the discussions (and quibbling and squabbling) on key issues of concern to developing countries: financing and technology transfer issues related to mitigation and adaptation. And we’ll be making sense of something that looks like this:
As Tove Maria Ryding of Greenpeace , Denmark, observes, everyone in the hall wants to save the world and its climate. “But what else might they be working to achieve?” she asks. There are the spoken and unspoken interests of various actors – the governments of rich and poor countries, nongovernmental organisations, international donors – who will number 15,000 registered delegates by the weekend.
The year started amid high expectations and hype that the world will seal the deal in Copenhagen. So high were the hopes that the host city was even being referred to as ‘Hopenhagen’.
The Hopenhagen posters are still there. But sharp differences between developed and developing countries and the key issue – new targets for emission reductions after 2012 – have remained unresolved, mainly on targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by developed countries, and an adaptation fund for the most vulnerable countries.
Those in the know now expect an “accord” of some five or six pages that is politically binding with the bureaucrats left to translate it into a legally binding text sometime later.
As the IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri told the Indian media last week before leaving for Copenhagen, a good deal will need to deliver on the following three key issues: targets for emission reduction for developed countries, an adaptation fund, and a mechanism for transfer of climate friendly technologies to developing countries.
So how far will the talks go? And what exactly will they achieve? The next fortnight will tell.
T V Padma, South Asia Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net.