This morning I reluctantly left the Barcelona sunshine and entered the convention centre where the UNFCCC is meeting for the last round of negotiations before Copenhagen. Like many delegates, I hesitate before entering, wanting a few more moments in the sun before entering the chaos inside. Although everyone is here because we think climate change is important, as usual, things aren’t going to plan – which I imagine has left many of us wishing we could simply walk in the sunshine – but as the protestors outside the centre remind me as I walk in “we can’t afford to wait”.
Yesterday the Global Public Policy Network on Water Management and UN Water held a special water day at the climate change negotiations aimed at reinforcing the importance of this issue in the minds of delegations and other NGOs from around the world. It was a resounding success and a strong show of unity between the scientific and development sectors. However our impact on negotiators remains to be seen: we found out when we arrived that somewhere between negotiations Bangkok and Barcelona all references to water have been removed from the text.
190 countries are here in Barcelona trying to make sure we hammer out a climate deal that can be signed off in Copenhagen in December, the next meeting of the UNFCCC. Clocks are ticking, and we can’t help but be reminded everywhere we go. The tck tck tck campaign has installed a display of large alarm clocks in the foyer of the conference centre, and today we will hand them over to UNFCCC chair Yvo de Boer.
Yet this pressure only seems to aggravate the big political issues dividing countries and creating an atmosphere of inaction. Yesterday when discussing future targets for the Kyoto protocol, delegations from the 50 African nations walked out of the negotiations, saying they would not return until rich developed countries made stronger commitments. We are at a standstill: we know the US will be unable to bring forth concrete proposals on CO2 reductions without the approval of its climate bill, and the Africans cannot return to the table without saving face. Its as close to a disaster as things can get.
I’m now heading into the plenary where the Kyoto Protocol parties are meeting again to try and get the negotiations back on track – more updates to come!
Progressio Advocacy Officer