Sometimes, even suckers get lucky. As a result, I’m currently stationed in Copenhagen for the next two weeks. I will be regularly blogging events as they transpire for RFF’s climate blog Weathervane, which I will also post here. In addition, I will take full advantage of the lack of stylistic restrictions Common Tragedies provides to give some insight into some of the less professional aspect of international climate meetings. As you can tell by the title, I’m already expanding my horizons (as they relate to obvious and puerile humor). Stay tuned for more throughout the week.
COPENHAGEN — The first few days of the negotiations here in Copenhagen probably will not result in any big statements or major developments. It’s mostly a time for countries to remind everyone where they stand and try to see who may be willing to give a little bit. As you might have guessed, things stared off with countries saying exactly what you would expect them to. The Least Developed Countries stressed the need for financing mechanisms for mitigation and adaptation efforts, capacity building for those efforts, and immediate financing for current impacts. The African countries made similar statements, reminding the world that it is experiencing climate change impacts already and does not have the capacity to respond effectively. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) advocated strong action now (like right now), because it quite obviously has the most to lose from inaction. The Umbrella Group, which included the United States, Australia, Japan, and other major developed economies hinted that monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) is going to be a important issue for moving forward.
There have been some interesting developments in the past 24 hours. Saudi Arabia, which feels that its economy will suffer major losses due to climate change, proposed an independent, international investigation into “Climategate.” When asked about the investigation proposal, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachuari said (with just a hint of cheekiness), “I would be worried if they didn’t ask for an investigation,” later adding “Oil and politics mix very well, I’m not sure that politics and science mix so well.”
In another development that could have broader implications for the next two weeks, Bangladesh has asked for 15 percent of any agreed-to climate fund. Bangladesh is one of the most obvious poster children to the nasty effects of climate change, and feels like it deserves justice in the form of major international funding. It’s unclear how this pronouncement will affect the dynamics among developing countries, but it will no doubt play a prominent role in the financing discussions moving forward.