COP25 in Madrid - In the corridors
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
COP, IPCC, IPBES and all the other global meetings have an excellent coverage through the reporting by IISD/ENB. Even when not there, these daily reports are an excellent source to take the pulse of how these meetings go. No, i am not talking about the long text, but about the last section of these reports: IN THE CORRIDORS.
For Saint Nikolaus day - 6.12.
In the Corridors
Pressure was palpable in negotiation rooms on Friday as delegates worked to meet the looming subsidiary body deadlines. Several consultations went into overtime; informal informals multiplied as delegates met logjam after logjam; a Secretariat legal advisor was seen rushing from room to room, clarifying questions and points of order. Adaptation discussions were plentiful, but seemed to stifle rather than open routes for ambition. “It’s a sad day for adaptation and vulnerable countries,” one developing country negotiator lamented after the informal meeting on the global goal on adaptation. “We’re going back to the days of only talking about mitigation.”
For all the hand wringing emerging from technical negotiations, some senior negotiators reported a positive atmosphere coming from the heads of delegations’ meeting with the SBSTA Chair earlier in the day: it appeared that several parties would be willing to entertain bridging proposals on Article 6. This feeling was echoed in the evening informal consultations, in which parties mandated the Co-Facilitators to develop a second version of draft texts by Saturday morning. Aware of the windy road still ahead, the Co-Facilitators prepared parties to what lies ahead: “We will take risks where we thought we heard consensus and landing zones, because we need to be bold. We guarantee that no-one will be happy with the text.” Monday’s looming deadline for closing the SBSTA also signalled the imminent arrival of ministers which, many hoped, could provide the remaining push to unblock ground-level holdups. One exhausted delegate paraphrased a famous figure in advising fellow negotiators: “if you can’t find motivation low, try going high.”
For the 5th of December:
In the Corridors
With the end of the first conference week nearing, the Chilean Presidency has begun putting out feelers on the COP’s first decision, which will aim to encompass the conference’s overall message and legacy. Some delegates intimated that the early draft, developed through preliminary conversations, included a two-year work programme on pre-2020 action and a future, “Koronivia-style” work programme on the ocean and climate change. Science, they suggested, may featured prominently, and one seasoned negotiator hinted that the notion of a just transition may appear in future iterations.
Youth delegates had a different vision of legacy, calling for negotiators to be held accountable for the detrimental legacy of past and current emissions. One Fridays for Future participant was adamant: “it’s not enough for negotiators to do photo ops with us. They need to actively protect our future,” she said, adding “parties can’t keep squirming out of loss and damage discussions.” With rumors of Greta Thunberg winding her way to Madrid, one optimistic delegate leaving the venue hoped that the pressure from the youth movement might motivate negotiators to realize an ambitious, substantive legacy for this COP.
The frustration, the anger, and the desperation are clear in the corridors in Madrid, but if we hope that politicians will give in due to the anger of the youth, we are not understanding their way of thinking, their motivations and their functioning. We cannot leave it to the youth to fight, we all need to step in and make pressure. Not in simply trying ourselves to be CO2 neutral, but in pushing towards CO2 neutral countries, continents and the world. Especially industrialized and developing countries have a high responsibility, if we do not want to end up in a hothouse Earth. With the current policies we are going towards a +3°C goal, which will lead to permanent droughts in Europe (https://climateactiontracker.org/)! If that is what you want, keep seated on your couch. Otherwise, step up and get heard, show that you are angry with climate politics. Btw. putting economy first is short-sighted and the employments we save now will be lost double or triple in the future, if we do not meet a below 2°C goal.
(C) Photos from IISD/ENB