With Durban only three days away, there is much debate about the form of the outcome. Before pointing to some useful links on that, what about the content?
If the global community is to address the root cause of climate change, the focus of Durban should be simple. Reduce emissions. It’s still appropriate for developed countries to take the lead, but negotiations tend to focus on everything but the numbers of emission reductions. And it’s increasingly clear that developing countries too much take more ambitious action.
If we fail to reduce emissions, the unavoidable impacts will increase. The task of adaptation is ever more challenging, and Durban will have to deliver on the Adaptation Committee (AC)- but also balance adaptation and mitigation in long-term funding.
Ask negotiators, they’ll tell you Durban is about operationalising a whole range of institutions and rules (the AC, Green Climate Fund, Technology Mechanism and Mitigation Registry). The two big political issues, closely linked, are the future of the Kyoto Protocol and the legal form of an outcome under the Convention. The latter, in plain English, is the question whether we are negotiating a new climate treaty in future. That is the form question or questions.
There are some excellent pieces explaining this (also in Links, at left):
From a perspective from an Indian researcher, The Durban Dictionary
And from an analyst in Washington, the The Challenge of Legal Form at Durban: