by Samuli Sinisalo
The final negotitations in Durban just began. The different negotiating bodies will meet in this order: Ad-hod working group on Kyoto Protocol, Ad-hoc working group on Long Term Cooperative Action, Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to Kyoto Protocol and finally the closing plenary of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.
It’s 9pm on Saturday, the conference was supposed to be over by Friday night and we are just in the AWG-KP meeting. It looks like tonight is going to be the long night.
At the moment, there are three possible results for the outcome of Durban. Either the talks will collapse, without any decision. This would not be the ideal solution for anyone. A lot of hard work has been done throughout the two weeks, some progress has been made. The need for immediate action to address climate change is ever-growing. I believe collapse is not on anyones agenda.
Another option is to adopt the texts as they stand. That would also be a suboptimal outcome. The Kyoto text is weak in ambition and lacks legal strength. The LCA text is watered down to two different documents. One is about 40 pages long, includes a lot of good things about 1,5 degrees, ambitious goals for 2050 etc, and those are being pushed forward to COP 18. The other text is about 50 pages, but it too lacks ambition. The AWG-LCA would be closed in Durban, and ultimately killed in Qatar next year. At the same time the LCA would be replaced by a new negotiation mandate, which probably would not be as ambitious as the Bali Action Plan.
The third option is to close the COP in Durban unresolved and pick up the work in Bonn in the intersessional in June. This way the Parties would have time to really analyze the texts and options and contemplate on different options. At the moment as everyone is tired and sleepdeprived, some ministers and negotiatiors have left Durban, we are running a risk of goveling down decisions in haste, without due democratic process and debate. COP bis seems to be the optimum solution at the moment.