Haggling, fine-tuning, and late tweaks as negotiations continue
National leaders and sleep-deprived negotiators haggled today over a text that could determine the balance of power in the world and possibly the future of our species. What direction did the talks take? The list below gives an item-by-item breakdown of the changes from the morning to the early evening. By the time the Guardian went to print, at least four drafts had been produced - but the negotiations were ongoing.
"Affirming our firm resolve to adopt one or more legal instruments..."
This bland sounding preamble, which appeared in the morning draft, is at the crux of the dispute: whether to continue a twin track process that maintains the existence of the Kyoto Protocol, or whether to merge everything into a single agreement. Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada are desperate to move to a one-track approach, but developing nations are fighting any attempt to kill off the Kyoto Protocol – the one legally binding treaty that establishes the concept that rich nations have more responsibilities than later developers.
Deadline for a treaty
"...as soon as possible and no later than COP16"
This key phrase, which appeared in the morning draft and disappeared during the day, sets a December 2010 date for when a legally binding treaty should be concluded. A later text drops this, but the issue was still under discussion.
"Substantial finance to prevent deforestation, adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity."
Crucial because more than 15% of emissions are attributed to the clearing of forests. Rich nations agreed to provide $3.5bn for forest conservation.
"The increase in global temperature should be below two degrees."
This draft, governs the remainder of the text because it establishes the ultimate goal of preventing global warming. The key word "should", means actions are mandatory. The morning draft was a weaker "ought not to exceed 2 degrees."
Peak date for carbon emissions
"We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries..."
This phrase was tweaked less dramatically. The vague wording is a disappointment to those who want nations to stipulate a date for emissions to fall
"Reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of X% in 2020 compared to 1990 and Y% in 2020 compared to 2005."
This phrase will spell out the responsibility of the developed world to cut gases that contribute to global warming. X and Y will be be filled in at the end of negotiations or at a later date. Most nations made commitments before Copenhagen, but there is room for manoeuvre.
"We take note of individual pledges by developed countries to provide … $30bn for the period 2010-2012...The parties support a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries."
The amount committed to overcome friction between the parties. There are fears that the weak language "support a goal" could result in back-sliding.