NGOs went into Cancún outlining four scenarios. Rather than contemplating “Breakthrough” or at least “Foundation”, the risk is that we end up in “Regression” or “Zombie” modes of work. The best scenario would have been that Cancún gives “Momentum”, or the UNFCCC may be thrown a “Lifeline”.
Well, the first week felt pretty much like “Zombie”. Negotiators were going through the motions, not really understanding how things fit together but quasi-robotically fighting over commas and brackets when given sight of a text.
Sad to say, but by Wednesday night, it felt more like “regression”. The feeling that things are actually going backwards is strong. In Montréal (2005), there was agreement to adopt a 2nd commitment period in time to “avoid a gap” between with the first period, ending 2012. There was a political understanding that the meant 2009 – but we all know what happened in Copenhagen. Even the Accord that was all that we got talked about developed countries, including the US, “committing to targets”. On Wednesday night, it was down to taking note of targets.
But, but, but … as veterans of the climate process like to say, “it’s early days” yet. Two whole days to go, so why agree before you have to. The Mexican Presidency of the COP has been doing an impressive job. There is hope yet that they can throw a lifeline to the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC and multi-lateralism.