EDF Talks Global Climate

Barcelona: what they said in closing plenary

Sweden: In some respects this has been a good meeting, but the world is waiting for us to agree difficult issues. Failure is not an option. On one thing all parties agree — we need to reach an ambitious global agreement in Copenhagen this December.

India: The clock has not stopped ticking in Barcelona. India is not prepared to give up at this stage and will spare no effort to reach a strong outcome. Developing countries are not slackening efforts. We will certainly retain the audacity to hope.

United States: The perfect, while attractive, is the enemy of the good, and the deal we are working on is good. Never has there been this high level of commitment.

Bangladesh: many things we need can wait. Climate cannot. (Loud applause)

Australia: Let us be clear, we need to agree on some really significant issues in Copenhagen. We need the best possible outcome. One that reduces emissions substantially and causes funding to flow, that protects forests and provides finance for adaptation.

China: To be or not to be is no longer the question. Copenhagen must be a success. Our resolve remains to achieve an ambitious, strong, binding outcome in Copenhagen. (The United States) must wake up. Developing countries are leaving you behind.

Tanzania: A fair and equitable agreement must be struck in Copenhagen. The willingness and true leadership of industrial nations will be shown.

Egypt: Some progress was achieved, yet we still have serious differences on fundamental aspects. Both sides have different expectations. We still have hope we can achieve consensus in Copenhagen. If the issues are going to be resolved at the political level we should get the leaders involved as soon as possible.

South Africa: We are deeply concerned about the lack of progress in Barcelona. But we do not despair. South Africa called for a two track outcome — (where the Kyoto Protocol would continue until a new and stronger global climate treaty is reached.)

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Barcelona: nearing consensus or merely contentious?

You have a down day and it’s followed by an up day, that’s how negotiations go…. Thus the chairman of Barcelona’s closing plenary session summarized a roller coaster week.

Strong words were uttered in Barcelona as tensions built over who should do what between developing and industrial nations. The source of most friction is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol — developing nations don’t want to give up Kyoto without a strong commitment to a new and stronger agreement.

African nations actually walked out of a session Monday, stalling one track of talks for 24 hours. By Thursday some participants were lowering expectations for a climate treaty in December altogether.

But if Thursday was a down day, we bounced back Friday. In the closing plenary, instead of fireworks, nations took the microphone, one after the other, reiterated their positions and then stated their deep commitment to reaching a strong outcome in Copenhagen, establishing or leading to a firm and binding global climate treaty.

Not that all tensions were resolved. Far from it. Some nations are calling for a single agreement, others for a two track outcome — where Kyoto would continue until a stronger global treaty can be reached.

But if Friday was an up day, there is certainly more excitement to come.

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House staffer draws interest in Barcelona

You know something’s afoot when a 9 a.m. talk by a U.S. House staffer draws more than 50 people. But it happened at an EDF panel on U.S. legislation at the climate talks in Barcelona — where U.S. moves to cap carbon emissions are a major topic of interest.
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Turn toward safety

Negotiations for a climate deal in December are getting down to the wire at the penultimate session in Barcelona this week. Negotiators are hashing through the essential minutiae of an agreement – a process not without tensions – but at moments like this it’s important to keep in mind what the final deal should look like.
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