The Finals Week to End Them All
December 17, 2009
Things are getting serious. If a substantial agreement is going to be reached, it will emerge tomorrow and over the weekend. So far, it looks like the delegates will determine the framework for REDD – a mechanism that allows countries to claim carbon credits for preserving forests – and maybe some minor details of other issues. The U.S. has apparently tried to inject some last minute momentum into the negotiations by pledging to provide billions to developing countries. Still, a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement seems nearly out of reach. Dr. Rosales joked that at this point COP15 may result in “non-binding thoughts, on paper”. Give me a break.
Overall, the atmosphere inside the Bella Center has been remarkably enthusiastic and hopeful. A sense of urgency is in the air, and it’s great to see so many passionate people in one room. On the global level and behind closed doors, though, that urgency seems to be missing. As a result, it’s not hard to feel hopeless about this process from time to time. The science couldn’t be clearer, the stakes couldn’t be higher, a crisis is imminent, and we still can’t act. This is THE global test, and we are failing miserably.
Though political momentum is conspicuously absent, the momentum from an unprecedented number of supporters may prove to be the turning point. We hope that this momentum will carry over into the U.S Congress and Mexico City (the site of COP16). For now, we hope that the sluggish progress of the last week and a half is not indicative of how this conference will end. We hope that the countries of the world will come together, all making sacrifices and all recognizing the threat of inaction, and take bold steps toward building a sustainable future. This is one of the biggest tests international cooperation will ever face. Failure is not an option, yet one might think that many nations are considering it.