COP21 Day 5 – Crunch time

All around us, Paris is abuzz with empowering, high voltage events (run on renewable energy of course!)  Today Al Gore addressed a group of young people, Leonardo de Caprio and Robert Redford met with hundreds of mayors in downtown Paris, Elon Musk (of Tesla) called on the world to leave fossil fuels in our (virtual) dust while Mark Carney and Mike Bloomberg called for managing the carbon risk.

Meanwhile, Claire Martin and I missed all this – and more.  We are keeping on top of the real negotiations.  The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Enhanced Durban Plan of Action… or ADP.

I now think of the ADP working group as the place where fun went to die. We are not even allowed in the room… a first for me at any COP and I am accredited with my government.  There are two overflow rooms set up where negotiators watch their colleagues make the case for this bracket or that shifting date.  It is bizarre but at least through Wi-Fi, they can communicate.  Sometimes it gets testy, as when Claudia, the impressive Venezuelan negotiator, told Ahmed of Algeria (the co-chair of ADP) in diplomatic tone that he could take his paragraph “to hell with you, thank you.”

Nevertheless, we soldier on.  The key negotiating Canadian delegates (3/country) are making good points in arguing for the inclusion of just transition for displaced workers – or climate justice – and inclusion of the issues related to impacts on indigenous peoples.

The negotiations have hit crunch time.  By noon (Paris time) tomorrow the negotiators must have an all- new text ready to be handed over to the full COP- with ministers arriving soon – for final negotiation and approval.   Do I think they will be done by noon?  I do not…..

We have a shorter document now – 38 pages instead of 54, but the text is still heavily bracketed.  In one of the more poetic moments, the Brazilian negotiator compared the brackets in the text to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  A form of pollution….

Yet another cause… fight brackets! Deliver a clean text!