Thursday, November 5, 2009

From Bad to Worse

There was a major development today at the UN Barcelona Climate Change Talks on land use, land-use change and forestry: developed countries are being invited to bring whatever reference level they like to Copenhagen for consideration.

This is a major failing of the process and of the developed countries that should have been showing leadership. The current draft rules for setting reference levels include several loopholes tailored to the national circumstances of many developed countries and designed to allow the hiding of emissions.

Rather than fixing the text, the UN process has now invited the same Parties to use any of these loopholes they like. As a result, we will have to try to win environmental integrity through a dissection and fight over the reference levels of over 30 countries.

Unless things change quickly tomorrow, our hopes for a system with environmental integrity will lie in a staggering analytical capacity, hard campaigning, and deft negotiating from developing countries to push the genie back into the bottle in Copenhagen after seeing the numbers and strike a deal for a system with integrity.

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