SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER
The final day —One more day of the Durban Climate Conference. The shuttle buses that transport participants from hotels far and near are still running but the number of people aboard are notably fewer. It’s a sunny morning, and much brighter skies prevail than over the last two days. The whole area around the Conference Center is undergoing a transformation with construction crews and movers starting to dismantle exhibition sites. There are detours around the normal walkways into the Center.
Waiting—Much of the day is spent waiting for news. With delegates meeting in small rooms, most of the remaining conference are ensconced at the café areas and sitting areas. One room in particular, the Sabi Star, where the Indaba (the Zulu traditional meeting to make tough decisions) was being held, NGOs camped outside, waiting for strands of news about progress in the negotiations.
Musical interludes—there is a piano on one end of the Conference Center, and there have been times when it has been put to use by participants. One of the tunes emanating from the piano this morning was “Anything Goes.” And from this evening, during a hiatus in the pre-plenary sessions, when things were looking bad the tune was “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
A complicated package—It was always a given that a success in Durban depends on a complex web of interrelated bargains. Developing countries have steadfastly defended the need for a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding climate agreement thus far that requires emission reductions. The United States, which never ratified Kyoto, had made it clear that it would not enter into any process for a legally binding instrument that did not require commitments from all countries, developing and developed. And other important concerns included the launch of a Green Climate Fund, a fund to support adaptation action, and a mechanism to provide clean, low-carbon technologies to developing countries. Threading the needle through all of these concerns, in a balanced way, has been the objective.
Turbulence-- Major objections have been voiced by developing countries during two “stock-taking” plenaries tonight. Many developing countries have said the texts did not properly address their concerns, such as insufficient attention to climate financing needs, while demanding much from developing countries. Venezuela declared the proposed texts as “unacceptable. ”