FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER
Gray skies over Durban
—It was supposed to be the last day of the Durban Climate Conference today. There are many participants who have left already, and lines to enter the Conference Center were noticeably shorter today. But there are still plenty of people remaining, it soon became clear that countries would not complete their work today and that the Conference would go well into Saturday. As a result, many participants scrambled to delay their departure by at least a day.
Confusing signals--The somber mood in the Conference Center today cannot be blamed solely on the weather. Small groups of delegates continued meeting until early Friday morning, with little progress reported. Connie Hedegaard, the European Union climate change commissioner told a press conference this morning that as of 4 a.m., there was no deal. The EU has been promoting the idea of a roadmap toward a legally binding agreement, to be decided upon by 2015 and that would take effect after 2020—and has received support from small island developing countries and least developed countries. The Africa Group, however, thought the idea of setting a date too far off “would make us be complacent.”
Mum is the word—Everyday, delegations book slots for press conferences. All the major players—the EU, US, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Africa Group and Small Islands—regularly schedule these press events. But today, press conference after press conference was delayed or cancelled outright, as it became clear that there was little that could be said that was news.
Random lines—There is a lot of talk about progress on a Green Climate Fund. But there is often a caveat—it is not clear whether the Fund will have funds. As a result, a popular line is that it mustn’t be “an empty vault,” or in other instances, an “empty shell.” But as Africa pointed out, “we don’t even have a shell.” Also today, at an NGO press briefing, a panelist was making the point that climate change would affect everyone—perhaps taking the point to its extreme: “when a plane goes down, even the people in first class suffer.”
Climate protest comes indoors—A coalition of climate activists took to the halls of the Conference center demanding “climate justice now.” About 200 people took part in the protest, which blocked movement through the center for almost two hours.
Update of state of negotiations from COP 17 Presidency (12:03 minutes)