Copenhagen, Day 2


From Tuesday in Copenhagen…

…In theory, the plenary sessions of the COP should be its grand events. This is where the UNFCCC’s signatories, which include virtually every country in the world, join in a grand session to hammer out a treaty.

But the plenaries are dull; for negotiation they are useless.

A speaker from the Indian delegation to COP 15

A speaker has just begun talking in French, and only about half of the journalists sitting around me have put on their headphones for interpretation. I doubt I am in a room full of francophones. Everyone seems to be e-mailing or surfing the web; a few are instant-messaging. Even those dutifully wearing their headphones have their heads buried in their laptops, and I don’t think they’re taking notes on what’s going on here in the hall. Looking around it seems about one in five of the reporters is paying attention to the stage…

…What does the speaker mean when she says that, regarding the Kyoto protocol, “the G77 will neither undermine nor prejudge the outcome of the LCA”? I think she means that the G77 still wants the Kyoto protocol, which binds rich countries to emissions cuts, but also wants the “Long-Term Cooperative Action” plenary, technically a separate negotiating track, which is meant to expand Kyoto, to come up with payments from rich countries to poor countries for green technologies. In other words, we still want you to cut emissions, but we want new cash too…

The Pulse is providing readers with a daily snippet of The Economist’s correspondent diary. You can find past updates from the conference diary here. Please visit The Economist for the full text of the diary and extended coverage of the conference.

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