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Coping with not COPing: thoughts on Poznan talks from Geoff Lye

by Geoff Lye 11 December 2008

Day 10 of COP 14 – 10th December 2008

Having been back in the UK a few days, I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms. I signed up to a range of network lists in Poznan, and am now receiving a continuous stream of alerts and invitations to COP 14 events – many of which I would have loved to attend. It’s rather like people texting you from a party you could not make, saying how wonderful it is! But, even from a distance, it’s possible through webcasts, daily summaries and Oxford colleagues’ blogs (see, for example, http://www.climaticoanalysis.org/) to get a sense of what is happening. And expectations of substantive achievements are lowering by the day. I thought, therefore, that I should offer some notes of optimism.

So, a few high points of the past 10 days:

  • The EU has expressed willingness to consider 80-95% cuts if developing nations commit to smaller reductions
  • A draft agreement on including forest conservation in the next climate treaty has been concluded
  • The Chair of a key working group emphasised that 95% of the technology needed for climate solutions already exists: imagine what four decades of additional innovation and invention can achieve by 2050
  • The Mexican government announced that it will reduce its emissions by 50 percent of 2002 levels by the year 2050: a remarkable public commitment
  • The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change issued their Poznan Communique, demanding ‘a transformational change in how we manage our global economy’: a genuinely ambitious and coherent approach from global businesses
  • The EU, Chinese, Japanese, UK and US ministerial opening statements for the High Level segment all promised positive, cooperative and ambitious contributions on the road to Copenhagen, and
  • According to EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas, referring to current meetings in Brussels on climate goals: “There are a few issues left but I cannot imagine that we’re not going to get an agreement on Friday. We are going to deliver the targets.” A brave forecast!

As I type this blog (Thursday), I have been switching between three live webcasts. In one, a press conference with Ban Ki Moon, Yvo de Boer picked up (not intentionally) on the theme of my earlier blog – Poznan’s glass: half full or half empty?’ (see below) – and suggested that in the final two days he sees the glass as two thirds full. “On the whole, things are looking pretty good. It looks as though we will have cleared the decks for when the ministers arrive,” he said just yesterday. The next 24 hours will test whether his optimism and the goodwill expressed by virtually all ministers speaking today will translate into a meaningful set of outcomes.

Two eyes and two ears are inadequate for following three webcasts simultaneously

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I will explore the actual outcomes in my final blog – particularly in relation to the questions posed as I arrived in Poznan:

  • How will the issues of respective and equitable obligations of developed and developing economies play out?
  • Will the issues of REDD (including avoided de-forestation and re-forestation in the post Kyoto treaty) show real advance or get bogged down in further complexity?
  • Will the polarised views on CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) be reconciled?
  • How will the US delegation behave – ‘lame ducks’ or ‘last chance saloon’?

Prepare for a mixed report.

@volansjohn:Maybe not something that mainstream financial markets would do, but could be the nucleus of a civil society campaig… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…
@volansjohn:Thanks for providing the headroom, Joel. twitter.com/makower/status…
@volansjohn:Simply that, a provocation! twitter.com/sbertels/statu…

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