COPENHAGEN, DENMARK — As Day Three plunged delegates deeper into negotiations, the media’s attention has been largely co-opted by the so-called “Danish Texts.”
These internal documents, which the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, insists carry no legal weight, have led the poorer nations to claim the industrialized countries are crafting a back-room deal they cannot accept. And there may be some truth to their argument.
The documents themselves will almost certainly prove as powerless as Mr. De Boer describes, especially now that they’ve become a political leverage point, but even so, the science does appear to support the assertion by many nations that the current temperature-reduction goals aren’t large enough to protect them from unmanageable climate destabilization.
In short, COP15 is descending even more deeply into the foggy trenches of negotiation … and it’s pulling the hopes of a large swath of humanity along for the ride.
Based on the scrambling I see in the halls, I doubt that anybody, at any level of power, has a good handle on what sort of deal (if any) is going to be produced in the coming days. In person, there’s a sense of escalating urgency as delegates literally run between offices with “draft papers,” the building blocks of a potential future agreement.
I’ve been told by many veteran observers that this is simply business as usual at the international level. That may be so, but I also know that just outside the Bella Center there are thousands of people from all over the world demanding anything but “business as usual.”