Natalie Jones: The calm before the storm

[If you need some background, read this – especially the sections on finance and loss and damage].

Last week, to be frank, not a lot got done - discussions progressed extremely slowly despite long hours of negotiation. This week Ministers have arrived and things have stepped up a notch; however, with three days to go there is still a lot of work to be done in order to reach a concrete outcome

There’s an overwhelming sense that this is the calm before the storm. Although the atmosphere in the corridors is slowly getting more heated and tense, it’s going to explode sometime between now and Friday.

A “chair’s text” – essentially a summary by the facilitators of the negotiations of where the talks are at and what still needs to happen – has been released for both the loss and damage and the road to 2015 discussions. This allows the discussions to coalesce and focus around more specific issues.

The red lines in policy are becoming clearer. Last night at around 4am the G77+China (the main negotiating bloc of developing countries), in a show of unusual unity, walked out of the talks over developed countries’ – particularly Australia and Canada’s – intransigence on loss and damage. The G77+China are set on the creation of a formal mechanism to address loss and damage, but developed countries are unlikely to agree to this and are particularly opposed to any talk of compensation. We can expect to see more fireworks on this issue.

Finance is the other area with potential for major clashes. Today various countries announced pledges to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund – but so far they are all too few. Finance is key to mitigation and adaptation, and also to retaining many countries’ trust and participation in the process. We have been asking “where is the finance?” – or “WTF?” for short. 

Civil society is also preparing for the endgame. Over coming days we’re going to carry out some major actions - if we're not too distracted by this amazing game, thought to be a conspiracy by corporate sponsors to keep us from being productive - and I can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

Follow me on Twitter @nataliejonesnz for the latest updates.


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