Last night was the second last night of COP 16, and it didn’t end before 3am.
The issues have been escalated to the highest level – which means that the ministers themselves are working bi-laterally and in groups to try to find compromises. It’s not easy, and I’ve heard that so far there is agreement on only one paragraph for finance, which is progress, but so incremental that it almost hurts.
One major blow has been the announcement that along with Japan, Russia will also not accept a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. Rumour has it that Japan is being pressured by big business domestically not to sign on to the 2nd commitment period, and it was in fact something that they had already said going into COP 16. They have also reiterated this stance.
The statement from Russia is new though. Delivered in the final days of the conference, it is not constructive. Nonetheless, countries continue to work to make things happen here, and most of the options that we started with are still on the table at the moment.
Nobody anticipated the Copenhagen Accord last year, but hopefully a more transparent process this year will have a more transparent ending, with concrete results.
There is a real air of expectation, but also of exhaustion as everyone pushes for an outcome here that a) countries can live with and b) will move the negotiations forward. The negotiators and ministers are out of time, so tired or not, today is where it all counts.