COP15 Final Day: Late Evening Update
Rumors of an Imminent Climate Deal Run Wild in the 13th Hour
They don’t make coffee strong enough for times like these. With the midnight hour approaching here on the front lines of the COP15 and closed-door negotiations still going strong more than 15 hours after they started today, Operation Copenhagen, like the thousands of other media folk walking around the Bella Center like zombies, is hitting a wall. It seems the hellishly protracted climate change inspired horse-trading between nations is perfectly and painfully dovetailing with the sleepless realities of the journalists in the trenches … Suddenly a police baton beat down is looking somewhat soothing compared to the ass kicking that international bureaucracy is giving the world tonight. Make no mistake sports fans, there are no easy yards when trying to get 190-odd nations to compromise. And no, it doesn’t seem to matter much that the fate of the world seems to be hanging in the balance.
With dozens of TV, print, and Internet media folks literally passing out in corners and on couches around here, it is impressive that rumors are still flying and draft versions of an alleged “Copenhagen Accord” are being leaked. Some have said India and China and Brazil have walked out, others say a legally binding deal set to rope the nations of the world into mediocre carbon reduction schedules by 2010 is moments away, still others say that the aforementioned draft has already been gutted and replaced by an even weaker one. The COP15 actually came out from hiding a few hours ago and reconvened publicly to take care of some housekeeping and to pass some tentative bits and pieces of a treaty but it was remarkably light on details and, like I said, they don’t make coffee strong enough for this stuff.
The general vibe seems to be that all parties involved have agreed in principle to allowing no more than a 2 degrees (Celsius) global temperature uptick but how exactly they are going to get there remains to be seen. Carbon reduction schedules are tough to pin down and, after President Obama explained this morning that the United States isn’t budging from its 17 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, it seems the world, even if they sign a document that says otherwise, is, according to scientists, looking at heating up past the desired threshold no matter.
There is also word that developed nations and private corporate enterprises have agreed to kick down $100 billion by 2020 to help subsidize carbon cutting in still developing nations and that $10 billion of that will start flowing annually starting in 2010. Is any of this true? I have no idea and no real hope of finding out because they have been canceling press briefings for the past 12 hours straight. They say that some serious last-minute haggling is happening in the break-out rooms near the main plenary and that a real deal could be announced sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning but again, this is a rumor bouncing around a building that is filled with very serious people who haven’t slept in a very long time. And then there are the Obama rumors which predict a press conference sometime within the hour or, better yet, it already happened.
The European Union is also slated to shed some light on things here shortly, but we here at Operation Copenhagen aren’t holding our breath. Instead, we are thinking about starting a bidding war for the plush leather couch we have secured in a choice corner of the media center (a crew of French TV news folk have been eying us since sundown and I think they might pay big bucks) or, if that doesn’t work, maybe crossing our fingers and re-watching the Web footage(around the 2 hour 17 minute mark) from earlier today where Venezuela’s number 1, Hugo Chavez, accused our number 1, Barack Obama, of being the devil. Either way, we are waiting.
Stay tuned party people, history is coming … maybe.