PRELUDE TO A WRAP-UP
It's the last day of the Nairobi negotiations and it has been frustrating and also exhilarating. For one, my glasses broke a few days ago and I've been getting this dull headache from time to time since then, similar to a low-grade hangover. Work hours during climate treaty events are also notoriously long -- for most of those involved in such negotiations, day in and day out it can be mostly non-stop lobbying, writing articles or position papers, strategizing, coordinating with colleagues and allied organizations, meetings with delegates, patching up political spats and leveraging support for specific measures or issues or positions, putting out 'political brush fires' or igniting indignation. It's been a tough two weeks. Happily, through the Cool The Planet site, blogging with such a wide and diverse group of people has provided a nice, distinct frame to my activities here in Nairobi. We've begun a nice conversation alright, and we've had bloggers, commentators and visitors from virtually all the regions in our planet. The chat box alone showed that climate friends from Iran, Brazil, Italy, Nepal, India, Pakistan, the US, Canada, Korea and New Zealand had dropped by to leave good thoughts and good words for everyone to munch on.
The posts and the exchanges on this two-week blog has showed that there's really so much that people can share with one another with regard to what is taking place in our climate. Each post actually demonstrates topics and ideas that can allow others to connect to an urgently needed conversation regarding the protection of things that are dear to us and the role played by something we take so much for granted -- our climate -- in our daily rhythms and thoughts and quirks and visions. Climate is literally a huge thing, but it is also so basic. It's a good enough starting point for most everyone to begin thinking about the consequences of how we live today and the impacts of our actions, or inaction.
Thankfully, significant negotiation items in Nairobi have moved forward considerably even though many issues have not progressed as far as many thought they would. The more crucial issues have been agreed, however, and next steps have been identified.
There were times when the negotiations seemed to be stuck hopelessly in bad gridlocks but the process has nonetheless moved forward, allowing many to hope that the agreements achieved in Nairobi will lead to deeper future cuts in global emissions along with the provision of new and much larger funds that can assist the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climatic impacts.
It has been a difficult two weeks, with country representatives, UN officials and non-governmental organizations working together or against one another in a humongous attempt to put together an agreement that best serves the individual interests of the UN members -- and the planet. And of course things do not happen the way everyone wants things to happen; self-interest is the predominant mode here, and cynical, persnickety interventions often times marked plenary exchanges, contact group and informal meetings.
Those who would like a more detailed understanding of what the negotiations covered are encouraged to visit the website of the Climate Action Network (CAN), which is the largest and most active global coalition of NGOs working on the issue of climate change. Following the negotiations can be intensely technical and frustrating but CAN continues to do a fine job of combining passions, skills, capacities, experience and insights in order to shepherd and pressure climate treaty negotiations to move forward and remain on track.
I should have set this down much earlier, obviously, but it has proven difficult to balance regular blog posts and posts mapping the process along with having to attend to my work here as a member of Greenpeace International's delegation, which for two weeks straight was virtually a 6AM to midnight task. In any case, what's done is done -- and with this post what has not been done is now done. Check out the section on who won the daily Fossil of the Day award during the negotiations. This is a prize given to the country delegation that played the most obstructive or destructive role on a given day during the negotiation period. Don't forget to check out the distinguished CAN daily called ECO, which gives delegates -- and the whole process actually -- crucial analysis and positions on the most vital issues throughout a negotiating period. You can actually track the whole negotiations -- including shameful political posturing, hypocritical episodes and lobby gossip -- by reading each ECO issue.