After the terror attacks, the French government shut down the vast majority of planned protests out of safety concerns. The last minute workarounds by artists and activists, such as the "Standing March" projection on the Assemblee Nationale by French artist JR and American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, has been nothing short of brilliant.
The Paris Project: Day 2
Negotiations Begin in Earnest as Conference Shifts into Work Mode
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The real work is now underway. The sun has set on Day 2 of the United Nations Climate Change Conference here in Paris, the glitz and glam of yesterday’s headline-grabbing opening ceremony fading as sure as the daylight was gobbled up by a darkening late-fall evening.
The lion’s share of world leaders and prime ministers have departed, leaving behind teams of negotiators to handle the heavy lifting of brokering a deal. It would be wrong to say that hope has left the building along with the heads of state, but it sure feels like reality just showed up in the hallways and meeting rooms of Le Bourget in a way that was palatably absent just 24 hours ago.
As one official observer told me today, the task at hand is “basically the most insane puzzle you could imagine, and then some.” Consider the core logistics of achieving a compromise by the final whistle on December 10: The current working draft of an agreement is nearly 100 pages long and memorializes the wants and wishes of nearly 200 commenting countries. These are broken down into 1,622 brackets with 230 related “options.” The goal is to posture and talk and negotiate and trade and acquiesce until there are zero brackets and zero options remaining to be haggled over, a process that requires scores of translators and go-between staffers.
What will remain is a singular, binding document that 197 countries will have to approve before it becomes a reality. When you consider the monstrous — and divergent — spectrum of desires and demands from countries as oppositely motivated as, say, India and the soon-to-be-underwater-thanks-to-sea-level-rise tiny island nation of Tuvalu, the true difficulty of the job starts to rear its head. In short, the complexity of the process itself begins to kill a deal even when positive momentum is winning the day.
It is with this reality hanging over them that representatives from around the world retreated to private spaces today, rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty in a variety of multinational focus groups. Several scheduled press conferences with assorted delegations were cancelled as teams worked overtime behind closed doors. The metaphorical smoke from this steady and heavy grind served as a sobering counterpunch to yesterday’s hope fest.
By Kodiak Greenwood
With negotiating teams and breakout groups working overtime during the first real day of heavy talks, scheduled press conferences, like this one from the United States delegation, were regularly cancelled last minute.
Occasionally, closed circuit televisions would show real time line-edits happening, the view a powerful reminder of the supremely tedious nature of brokering a deal. As the dust settled on Day 2 of this two-week eco-groovy rodeo, the number of brackets to be resolved was actually higher than before the talks began.
You never know what you may find wondering around the expanses of Le Bourget. Here, a robot gets mobbed by media outside China’s large delegation area.