My favorite country and western album and song title is “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” – Deana Carter’s 1996 successful album. Watching the debacle at Copenhagen reminded me of the song.
The delegates have basically found themselves unable to reach agreement on the basics. They cant agree on the target they are trying to reach in terms of global temperature, on the emissions reductions required to meet the target, on compensation and funding for the developing world or in intellectual property and technology transfer protocols. They are close to an agreement on the future of the forests of the world.
They also can’t agree whether the deal will be within or separate from Kyoto, what the governance structure will be and what monitoring will be required. They have postponed an agreement which would recognize carbon capture and storage as an acceptable means for reducing CO2 emissions.
After fifteen of these meetings, you would think that the basics would be nailed down by now and the question would be who will sign up. But no, we are still at the Climate Change 101 level and nowhere near the graduation point. It is no wonder that the chief negotiator, Connie Hedegaard, resigned on Wednesday.
Delegates now sit around and wait for a breakthrough. All eyes are in Barrack Obama, with many hoping that he will come with deep pockets and make dramatic new emissions reduction commitments – 40% in 1990 levels by 2020 would be needed to create the drama required for a breakthrough. But the Whitehouse is signaling that no new money and no new emissions announcements should be expected.
Plans are already underway for a repeat meeting in Mexico in six months time to try again. Meantime, protesters are unhappy at the delegates, the police and, well, their lot in life and their protest get more and more urgent and violent.
Did I shave my legs for this? I don’t think so.