BBC BLOGS - Richard Black's Earth Watch
« Previous | Main | Next »

COP15: Saving the planet or saving face?

Richard Black | 15:46 UK time, Friday, 18 December 2009

1641 CET: We're into a strange dark limbo-land here.

The draft political agreement that leaders are supposed to sign today has gone through more changes than Eva Longoria at an awards ceremony.

UN climate conferenceThe latest version, we're told, sheds many of the frills. It's a jeans and t-shirt job compared with the detailed couture of earlier today.

What we have, we're told, doesn't contain a commitment to a legally-binding treaty, doesn't endorse an explicit temperature target, doesn't have a target date for finalising a deal, and doesn't any more aim for emission curbs to be verifiable.

But in my inbox I have two more drafts, sent by kind and concerned people - I can't thank you publicly for obvious reasons, but your help in turning this secretive affair into the "open and transparent" process the Danes have repeatedly claimed it to be is much appreciated.

They contain different measures, in various mixtures. They appear to have been drawn up by different countries - and you can guess which part of the world they come from.

So what we have, in a nutshell, is this.

Two years ago, governments committed to agreeing a new deal to combat climate change - "full and sustained implementation of the UN climate convention" - by the end of today.

In back rooms now, officials are drafting and re-drafting documents in an attempt to find a form of words - any form of words - that will allow them to get out of here clutching a piece of paper.

In the words of one long-time observer, "we are into face-saving territory".

Wasn't that supposed to be "planet-saving"?


or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.