Copenhagen Diary #14: The pieces of an Accord
Our delegation were emailed at 3am this morning with the key points of last night’s top-level talks. Our key text on Just Transition stays in! But, as President Obama and other leaders fly in to make their final offers, the unfinished UN process will, we fear, give way to a political decision now being drafted.
In the UN centre, the Obama magic has arrived. Crowds mass around TVs outside the hall. Upright and direct, he says:
“Our ability to take collective action is in doubt, right now the conference is in the balance. We come here not to talk but to act.”
He acknowledges America’s historic responsibility to address climate change, as the world’s largest economy, and second largest emitter.
“We are convinced that changing the way we produce and use energy will create millions of new jobs and power new industries.”
He then moves to the way forward, and sets out “the pieces of an Accord”:
- Mitigation – decisive national actions to cut emissions, including in the range of 17% from America by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
- Transparency in the actions of developing nations to develop low emission pathways for the future.
- Financing for adaptation and technology transfer, with the US committing to both the short-term finance to 2012 and to the $100bn annually for the South by 2020.
These are the elements of such an Accord: mitigation, transparency, financing. But, “We are running out of time”.
It’s regrettable that so many of our comrades who have worked on this, some for years, for this moment are again denied access the centre. I think particularly of Rob Sneddon of Community, involved as long as me, since Montreal five COPs ago. A handful of our delegation are allowed in. ITUC President Sharan Burrow will address the whole conference this afternoon , for 2 minutes along with other Observer bodies.
Now it’s pretty clear that the final text will be a political deal. How much of the UN’s negotiated text to date will be part of the final “Accord” remains to be seen. They are still talking, it’s 1pm, Friday.
Earlier today, at the final 9am meeting in the LO office, we debate how we would judge the outcome. Crucially, will it be strong enough politically to be seen as positive on CO2, finance, and the need to conclude the legal text in the first six months of 2010. And will the text on Just Transition, Decent Work and stakeholder engagement still be in that mix?
The LO’s Marie-Louise Knuppert encourages us to carry on sharing experience on greening our workplaces and industries, and building our international strength to tackle climate change.
The ITUC sent a message to President Lula, welcoming his announcement yesterday of a major new initiative to cut its greenhouse gases by up to 39% below business as usual by 2020. Today, he builds on that, offering to contribute towards the global financial fund. But he adds that, “The money on the table is payment for greenhouse gas emissions during the past two centuries, that they had the privilege of industrializing first.”